Day 16: The pain of being present in the dark

I’m over it. Work, that is. Oh, don’t worry. There’s nothing wrong. My job is just as fabulous as it always is. I just need a break. I need to step away from it all + not think about any of it for a few weeks. A change of pace + a change of setting. I need to release, let go, and renew. And, yes, I live consciously + slowly, which keeps my life pretty damn beautifully balanced and aligned. But, I still have pain. I still have tough moments. I still feel the presence of the dark. And, so, I need to pull away. Draw back. And renew my spirit.

Luckily, tomorrow is my last day of work until January 8. Seventeen full days off. Sounds like bliss to me. And it will be bliss. Busy bliss, actually, as Lina + I will be traveling. Oh my gosh – I cannot wait.

But, before I jump ahead of myself in time, I need to ground myself in the present. And, right now, in my life there is a ton of darkness (literally). I know I’ve talked about it a lot lately, especially when it comes to the dark that is this time of year. And you may be sick of it. But, it’s just reality. There is a lot of darkness. Everywhere. All the time. Even if we don’t live way up in the nordic country.

And since the next 24-48 hours are the absolute darkest of the year, I thought that I allow myself to sink into it – the dark. I mean, I might as well accept that it is all around me. Admit it, see it, feel it, and acknowledge it. Is it painful + uncomfortable? Hell yeah. Is it depressing to walk to work + home again in the pitch black darkness, seeing the sun only once or twice in an entire month? Oh yeah. It’s almost maddening. Is the waiting for the days to pass + for light to return difficult? My lord, it’s almost unbearable.

But, it is what it is. This is the season that is upon us in the northern hemisphere. And there is nothing to be done about it. So, instead of trying to fight it, I have learned to flow with it. I have learned to see it as a magical time to actually ponder the dark. To actually feel it and let it be a part of my life. Because, no matter how I feel about, the dark will return. Again + again. Darkness exists. And, it feels like it has nothing to offer us but pain + misery. Yet, within the deep, thick darkness, there is pure potential.

Let me share with you a little personal story from a dark period in my life. And that period has been this past autumn. And, to be honest, it’s been more darkness for Lina than for me. Yet, it has also affected and changed me.

Back in the end of September, Lina was about to start working more hours after taking a long, slow, important time to fight + begin to recover from her eating disorder. It was a proud, amazing time for her – and for me – to celebrate her accomplishments and her journey back to health and to living life in a way that she never has before. We saw in front of us so many possibilities and opportunities with us both working again. And we felt like we were finally settling in + putting down some roots. That life was about to change for the better.

And then, literally, 4 days before she was to take a big step in working more hours + days, Lina was laid off. It all came out of nowhere. Like a sudden, heavy cloak of darkness that fell over her, and our life. 

Without any warning, we were in shock. And angry. And worried. And every single fucking thing changed for us.

But, somehow, Lina + I  mystically knew that even in this sudden darkness, there would be meaning. What that would be, why this had happened, how we would get through, and in what way our lives would change was completely unknown. So we accepted the dark. What else could we do? It was what it was.

So, literally all autumn long (minus a trip to another city for me to shoot a wedding + go to a work conference) we have been at home. As the days got shorter, gray-er, and darker. As the leaves turned colors and then fell to the ground. As autumn eased into winter. The darkness crept in. And we stayed home. We felt it all.

But, by accepting this dark time, we have both grown immensely. Lina has freaking blown my mind. The way she has taken control of her situation, fought for her rights, and created ways to put herself out there to network + get her name heard, all putting her in good positions for possible new jobs. And, all the while, being confined to our home mostly. Just think, she was ready to really burst back out into the world and suddenly everything changed, forcing her to turn inward.

As for me, I’ve worked as usual. But, my 2-3 day weekends at home have been the complete opposite from my super busy 4-5 day workdays. I have cherished the time at home to help me balance it all out. They have been magical, spiritual times for me. And I have gone deeper into my soul than perhaps I ever have before.

Not being able to spend money (because we have needed to save as much as possible with just me working right now) has forced me + Lina to reassess, realign, and re-prioritize our life. There have been boring moments when all we want to do is go grab a beer at a pub. But, instead, it has been night after night after night of cozy moments together. Real, simple, honest moments of dreaming about who we are + what we want life to look like. Of sitting in the dark + learning the importance, like never before, of trusting the process, going with the flow, living with the cycles of nature, and knowing that even in the dark there is always hope.

Lovely souls, when it is dark, it is tough. And painful. And frightening. But, the potential that lies within is unfathomable. Let’s try to sit in it. Not get stuck in it, but simply sit in it. Acknowledge, admit, and accept that this is what it is. And, in that grounding moment of acceptance, as we breathe deeply + slowly, we just might be reminded that, even in the darkness of winter, the light always returns. Winter does not last forever, but it does serve a purpose.

So, go within. Feel the heaviness. See the darkness. Learn what the silence + the dark have to offer. And then, just wait. Just wait, my friends. A little while longer. You are in the midst of evolving.


xoxo. liz.



2 thoughts on “Day 16: The pain of being present in the dark

  1. Thank you for being so transparent to your readers about what has been going on in you and Lina’s lives. I felt myself get so angry when I read that she was laid off like that right before returning to work! That’s horrible. I’m wondering how the job market is there in Sweden? I know it varies depending on the work. I’m sorry for the hardship you two are going with. I live alone with my pets and I’m disabled. No one gets enough money from Social Security to live a good life. Even after all these years, it is not easy to be stuck at home so much. I don’t even visit family much because of the money it takes for gas. We do have to do our best with what we have in front of us at the time. I have to say that this post couldn’t have come at a better time. I have been moody today and it’s been raining really hard which has just exacerbated my mood. Then I read this about your darkness there this time of year… I’m just glad I have my lamp for seasonal affective disorder. I’m very sensitive to different light or the lack of it. I’m wondering if I might literally go crazy where you are when it’s dark. I still want to visit the nordic countries though! Best wishes to you and Lina! xo

    1. Thanks so much for reading, Tracy, and for your thoughtful comments. I’m so glad that we share the darkness together, supporting one another from across the miles. Yes, it is extreme here, and tough, but so beautiful. Even in the darkest days. I dare say I like them even better. They fit my contemplative soul. Wishing you all the best and a happy almost solstice. Love to you. xx

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