Sometimes the most amazing things happen in the middle of the darkness. Early one morning, stumbling my way to the sliding glass door to let the cat out, I saw the moving shadows in the yard. They moved with grace, beauty and gentleness. Serenity, peace and watchfulness guarded them. Animals in natural environments react to movement or sound and if there is no apparent danger, they soon move right back into peace.
I wish it was as easy for us humans.
For some people it is “just that easy,” but for most of us we continue to hear the internal voices of panic long past the initial movement in the dark. Many of us learned fear at a young age; I think it was in the water we drank. Uncertainty is everywhere and anxiety seductively invites us to engage with it. The truth is, when the weather is right, fear seems to take up residency in our lives. If there is one thing I continue to learn and (attempt to) practice it is this: acknowledge the parts of me that bring discomfort – even the fear and anxiety. It is embracing the whole me, (and you embracing the whole you) that goes beyond just tolerance to the place where full love lives.
We can experience fear and beauty, identifying both the terror and gratitude that resides within. It is in the balance of these things where the night shadows remind us there is beauty that walks in the dark. The looming shadows often feel terrifying because we imagine all the bad that could happen. What if, like the shadows of the night, they are leaving footprints of grace, gentleness and a protection that is yet unseen?
Before I went back to bed that morning, I watched the shadows lie down in the garden. I realized worry/anxiety/fear is often grief that has come pre-maturely. It is grief about what we think will happen in instances that do not yet exist. The anxiety and fear of what the future could hold, gnaws at our brain and turns into anticipatory grief. This is the seduction of fear: to be in the grief of loss before an event even happens. It can lead to catastrophic thinking where everything in life falls apart. All because we forget there is beauty in the dark.
The unknown future always has elements of darkness – but only because the light has yet to be turned on. We cannot see the future with clarity so we might picture the it being filled with dread instead of hope. Darkness is the realm of faith, trust and hope. Even though we do not see perfectly in the dark, if we look, we might be able to see movements of grace, beauty and gentleness and in that realization, breathe.
May your week be filled with moments of grace, beauty and gentleness.