Choosing Aliveness in the Dark

“We are destined to be opened by the living of our days, and whether we like it or not, whether we choose to participate or not, we will, in time, every one of us, wear the deeper part of who we are as a new skin…

Either by erosion from without or by shedding from within – and often by both – we are forced to live more authentically. And once the crisis that opened us passes, the real choice then becomes: WILL WE CONTINUE SUCH AUTHENTIC LIVING?

– Mark Nepo – The Book of Awakening

This is a time of deep shedding…again. In life I generally struggle to access and allow my feelings to emerge. Both the deep sad feelings that life brings and the exuberant joyful feelings that provide counterbalance. I am comfortable in the middle where it feels safe. Fortunately, this lifetime brings me back to my knees in DEEP surrender over and over when I seemingly go back to sleep. My “sleep” shows up as control, helping, rescuing, achieving, pleasing, sacrificing, and just plain hiding from my own truth. Then life happens, and I get catapulted by Big emotions that trigger Big feelings. The other day, I heard someone say, “Don’t paint the red flags green”. Boom. Message received. Now there’s a recipe for staying alert to the inner voices of wisdom when we are rationalizing or defending our ego-driven desires, which take us back to sleep.

A few months ago, when the collapse of primary relationships with my partner and my daughter became undeniable, my journey back to truth and freedom began. Of course, the doorways of grief, darkness and despair led the way. And the emotional wrestling match is far from over. But through facing and feeling what is true, there are glimmers of light emerging through the dark. Little twinkles that reinforce my faith that authentic, passionate aliveness are waiting on the other side of the door that has actually cracked open.

Living a life of polarity, the initial darkness was accompanied by a clear vision of my life’s theme for 2024.  “Unleashed”. When that definitive clarity arrived back in December 2023, I did not yet know what it would mean. I knew it felt like growth and freedom without restraint. But no context was clear. As I have allowed it to unfold and take form in my work, curiosity fueled exploration into the deeper meaning of the word.

Unleashed Defined:

  • Liberation from internal or external constraints that limit one’s true potential
  • Breaking free from external expectations or any limitations that prevent authentic self-expression
  • Removal of self-imposed limits and fears that prevent boundless potential
  • Embracing freedom, authenticity, and growth
  • Not confined by past experiences, societal expectations, or self-doubt

Hello Unleashed! It's quite paradoxical to simultaneously experience two sides of life’s spectrum. On one side, tremendous grief, sadness, and surrender. My daughter’s mental health challenges will require more outside help and longer-term treatment, while slowing down her academic completions. Parental fear, sadness, disappointment, questioning, and guilt are big fighters in my wrestling match ring. The partner that I shared such deep love with, and thought was taking a break, decided not to return and to create a life elsewhere and with another. This one cut straight to my core wounds of worthiness and lovability. Heavyweights in that ring. At the precise time that this grief seems overwhelming, there is also a deep knowing that something much bigger is unfolding that has been restrained and that vitality and even greater ecstasy await. I choose to call that Aliveness. Full authentic and vulnerable self-expression. It is our birthright, our privilege, and our responsibility. To stand up, look in the mirror, love and accept what we see, dust ourselves off, take the lessons, and go serve others by giving the learnings away.

Sometimes the choices or actions of others “help” (or perhaps force!)  us to be unhooked from the leash that we thought was still connected. While this can initially unleash feelings of anger and more sadness, ultimately, those choices accelerate the freedom that awaits.

As the sun sets on these relationships in these forms, I will turn my face to the rising sun each day, promising infinite possibilities that are far beyond what my mind can imagine. Resting in gratitude (and soon forgiveness) for the Grace of being fully alive and awake today. I intend to stay awake to bliss, authenticity, and living fully Unleashed. Watch out world…it is again Time to Shine!

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