Elisabeth´s blog

Darkness

Darkness

When I was a child, we had a notice board in the kitchen on which was pinned a poem by Bo Setterlind , that had been cut out of a newspaper:

Be mindful of life, it should please you.

Be mindful of light, it should guide you.

Be mindful of darkness, it should protect you.

Be mindful of the end, it should save you.

I have read this poem a thousand times or more, and I especially liked the line that darkness should protect you. This became a truth for me in that as a child and as an adult, I have never been afraid of the dark. For me, it was logical that if I could not really see much, then neither could ugly old men/monsters/ghosts/demons/werewolves either. The darkness protected me.

It is not always that easy to accept darkness and even like it. We are so keen to have light, sunshine, happiness in our lives, we push darkness away and consign everything associated with dullness to the back garden and slam the door shut. Having a dark disposition is not positive, nor is having dark feelings. Darkness has to fend for itself out there which means it grows wild and untrained, as do those other feelings that are not acceptable and that are also barred from entering and so live a hidden life without being attended to. When these dark feelings do step inside, we do not recognise them. They come in all covered in dirt and with scabby knees. Darkness feels threatening; we recoil and look for ways of driving it out again and shutting the door on it – from the inside.

Nature and the universe provide constant illustrations that everything needs balance; if there is cold, there is warmth. If there is wet, there is dry and so on for all eternity. If there is light, there is therefore…. darkness.

I thought about a doctor who said in a newspaper article that nowadays we do not accept reverses, melancholy and depression. He had patients who had asked to be prescribed anti depressants when they did not pass an exam or had broken up with a boyfriend or girlfriend. He advised them to go home and rest instead.

I have darkness right now. A darkness I have been expecting.

A healthy reaction to a stressful situation. Being involved in a serious accident puts massive stress on your entire body. That I have been in a state of happiness and gratitude without a single tiny black cloud for such a long time has surprised me. Every major event in life requires looking back on, on all levels, even physical and emotional levels, and how can you be able to get some rest, when you are charging around in the middle of your everyday life?

Being depressed and melancholic is a way of getting emotional rest.  Nothing out there feels fun or inspiring, so not a great deal is happening. No energy to get things moving, no creativity, just soft, enveloping darkness. Not a cold, frightening darkness, more a gentle, embracing darkness with the scent of an earth floor cellar. Something I can sink down into and just let things be. It is where I heal in order to move forward. Forward movement is not that big, but there is movement. Rather than walking on solid ground, it is now like walking in dark, soft, dense water up to my waist. Every step is heavy, but I am in no hurry. I wade forwards, with the scent of wetlands in my nostrils.

When our thoughts get stuck in “it doesn’t matter” mode, it is always up to ourselves to decide who we want to make the decisions; these thoughts that prattle on or us, that which is our true self. The times I have not felt like going on one of my walks, “because it doesn’t matter anyway”, I have sidestepped these thoughts and felt that yes it certainly does matter – to me. I feel better when I get out into the woods, even if my thoughts would like to stay at home under the duvet. But they can stay there if they wish, as for myself, I am getting dressed and going for a walk. Even when I am living in the potato cellar, there is a magic about the woodpecker looking for insects, all the birds that are singing, the fox I can see out of the corner of my eye. The whole forest is there, outside the potato cellar, and it is healing.

I am not afraid, the darkness protects me.

 

“What day is it?”

“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.

“My favourite day,” said Pooh.

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