The Bright Side of Owning your Darkness.
For as long as I can remember, New Age gurus have been telling us to ‘stay in the light.’ They tell us to meditate, generate and emanate positivity, warning us that we create our own reality and negative thinking begets negative results.
But if you have ever found yourself cringing before all that Spiritual Correctness and wondered what was wrong with you, I am here to tell you that you are not broken and you do not need fixing.
As an Ambassadress of the Darkness, it is my duty to sing the praises of wrath, rebellion, grief and destruction. I am here to champion the wild, unapologetic power of nature. I am here to urge us all to drop our composure like sandbags and get stirred up into the real storm of living.
While the New Age movement has awakened many to the power of creative intention, it has simultaneously pathologized the negative emotions, striking them from our social palette of acceptability, and is driving us all into repression.
First of all, what if those negative emotions are not wrong, but totally right? What if the real problem is the misguided attitude that we need fixing in the first place?
When we try to live up to impossible images of spiritually enlightened, all-knowledgable, selfless superhumans, the dark side of our nature just gains in power. Like shoving a beach ball under water, you may succeed in disavowing your unsavory bits for a while, but it is so destabilizing that, when you least expect it, that ball always bursts out from under you.
Negative emotions do not cease to exist because we are ignoring them. They just find other ways to express themselves. Sometimes we lash out inappropriately, have confusing crying fits or feel protractedly numb. Most commonly, we slip into depression and, if left to fester, become prone to accidents, physical disease and crisis.
True creative responsibility for one’s life involves more than positive visualization and action towards our dreams. It also means destroying that which is no longer relevant. Destruction is the counterpoint to Creation and, like the day setting into night, summer falling into winter, life circling towards death, for one thing to be created, another thing must be destroyed.
In the Hindu tradition, the Goddess Kali is worshiped as both the creative and destructive, womb and tomb aspects of the Great Mother.
In one of her four hands, she holds the head she has just severed, which fills a goblet with blood. She is often wielding a scythe, surrounded by a snarling fire, adorned with bones, and dancing on a bewildered corpse.
Far from the flaccid suggestion that when something is not working we must ‘let it go,’ Kali is the ruthless power behind ‘negative’ emotions which clears the way for new life. She is the boundary that Anger wants. She is the pounding of Grief’s river, rushing us to new lands. She is the freedom that Anxiety shakes for. She is the siren of change that Boredom signals. She is the bliss that Fear promises.
Owning Your Destroy means not only taking a metaphoric machete to the outdated stylings of your stuckness in present time, it also means rewriting your stories of loss. Those things you feel have been taken away too soon, done to you and never been your privilege, are places of untapped power.
As we clear even excellent things from our lives which no longer serve us, we are preparing our possibility space for the unimaginable blessings waiting to be born there.
Just as fire can transform food from its raw form into something digestible, our darknesses are radical transformers. Instead of airbrushing our personalities, they coax us to exaggerate our blemishes, lean into our stagnancy, wounding and limitation.
If we really want to evolve, all we have to do is be exactly where we are. It is only once that you can own your sad, stifled, regretful, pissed-off self, that you can blaze up your loving ferocity and have at ‘er.