Dealing with darkness

Photo by David Levêque on Unsplash

What will the history books say about this time? I keep wondering how this strange time will be recorded. How can a page in a GCSE textbook reflect the complex emotions we are all feeling? The darkness of grief, loneliness of isolation and confusion of an uncertain future. We are all desperately searching for meaning and signs of hope in a time when we feel powerless.

There are many articles recommending coping strategies for this time (including ours) and in all of them creating structure is something that is recommended. I wonder if the reason for this is it gives each of us a sense of control over our own activities and time when we feel so much control has been taken away from us. We are all control freaks when it comes to our time and our lives, the loss of this control can feel like chaos. A feeling that is deeply uncomfortable and scary for many of us for whom a perceived sense of order is the norm.

This week Richard Rohr in his daily reflections is encouraging us to sit in the darker emotions of this time and the darker truths of what it means to be human. Take a look for yourselves, I can’t do them justice. We, as a society, are not very comfortable with the shadow side of life, we avoid talking about it and lose ourselves in the mundanities of everyday existence. Much of our life and society focuses on the lighter side but darkness and pain are the inevitable counterbalance.

A group of us are reading Richard Rohr’s reflections each day which are full of hard truths, we are attempting to sit in this uncomfortable place of engaging with these emotions that are so difficult for us. As an extraverted optimist I find this a more difficult space than most and feel deeply uncomfortable with the negative emotions that can come with it. However, in these times when the world feels scarier and I have more space in my day it is harder to escape and distract from them. So perhaps I will do the controversial thing of accepting them for what they are, instead of running from them. I will share with others the tragedy of this time rather than constantly putting on a brave face.*

*Please do this with care and self-awareness, this is not an exercise to do if your mental health is feeling particularly fragile at the moment. Find someone who you can talk honestly with, where you will get genuine kindness and support. Please be careful with yourself, you are very precious.

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