Letting the light in
For years I lived in the heavy darkness of a suspicious mind. How I viewed the world was the result of a traumatic period in my past. A time when lies and deceit disrupted the harmony of my young adulthood and my family.
What I have discovered over time, is when you water the seeds of fear and mistrust they grow so big their shadows block the light in your life. I watered and fed the fear and mistrust so much there was a time when I was standing in thick mud and there were very long shadows in all areas of my existence.
My relationships in particular suffered. Although my relationship with myself, my co-workers, friends, family and my husband felt and looked good most times, the light of these relationships was very often overshadowed with fear and mistrust. Sometimes daily. Even my interactions with the people I met throughout the day were impacted by this heavy darkness: the person serving me in a shop, the woman next to me on her mat in yoga class or the man standing behind me on the train. Suspicious minds create suspicious scenarios.
In Adlerian psychology the view is: it is not the traumatic event which impacts us but the way we make meaning of it. 'No experience is in itself a cause of our success or failure. We do not suffer from the shock of our experience - the so-called trauma - but instead we make out of them whatever suits our purpose.'
It took me a quarter of a century of reading to find this life changing view. I was living the belief I would always have 'trust issues' and fear would be my guiding force for the rest of my life. And weirdly, that is where I felt safe. That was until I discovered the book The courage to be disliked. One small sentence on page twelve changed everything for me. On small sentence on page twelve.
'We are not determined by our experiences, but the meaning we give them is self-determining.'
I sat with the realisation that I have a choice. The past situation occurred, I had no control over that, but I have control and agency around how I respond to it and how I live my life going forward.
Meditation also played a critical role in this realisation. Without my meditation practice I would not have had the awareness. Meditation lifted the blindfold on how I was living my life and the driving factors. Meditation provided clarity. I could see I was watering fear and mistrust. Meditation allowed me to see this without judgement. I did not berate myself, I simply decided to make change.
I picked up the watering can and I watered the seeds of love and kindness, alongside the seeds of trust and faith. When people treated me badly or a difficult situation occurred, I looked at the situation with a compassionate heart seeking understanding; and committed to responding with loving-kindness, to myself and others. I even looked at my fear and mistrust with compassionate understanding.
Letting the light in changed my life. I overcame my addiction to alcohol. My health improved. My relationships blossomed. I discovered a lightness of being as my heart filled with love, joy and happiness.
Living life in a way that lets the light in. That is what I am doing. And it is a beautiful option for each and every single one of us.
Picture taken on Bunurong Country honouring the morning light over the sea on 8 Jan 2023.
Thank you so much Tanja for your kind words. My heart is filled with light to know you connected with this piece and are inspired. May you continue to let the light into your beautiful life. May the light within you continue to shine on all around you. With kindness and gratitude, Kristina x
So beautifully written and inspiring!