Why You Gotta Learn to Love Darkness

Diving in the Dark
Candice Schutter - theMessenger, May 2010

One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.
Carl Jung

It has been months since the last publication of theMessenger. The winter was a time of much needed withdrawal for me, and I couldn't but honor the urge to go within. Then, early spring brought a profound loss that sent me cocooning once more. I have been changed by these seasons more than I can express in words; yet, today I am determined to begin cracking through my shell.
In the fall issue, I wrote about my intimate journey of
reclaiming debauchery. I encouraged uninhibited self-expression as an honorable and liberating pursuit. While I absolutely stand behind my advocacy for seasons of instinctual surrender, allow me to now expand with greater awareness. The aftermath of such liberation is almost always bitter-sweet, as the abandonment of what we have come to expect from ourselves reveals our hidden layers. Some realizations are delightfully exhilarating as they show us that we are capable of much more than we ever thought possible. Yet surrendering to secret passions can also release latent shadowy forces - sending us careening into caverns where we are left to humbly poke around in the dark. Both experiences are beautiful. Both are necessary. And one cannot exist without the other. Allow me to elaborate...
I am writing to you from the rugged Oregon Coast. Just outside my window, the ocean is booming with life. The tide is rolling in and the depths of the sea are being delivered to the shore, carrying endless miles of history with it. Waves tear at the earth, reshaping it with a force whose origin is unseen. The call of the sea is unstoppable, eager, and unrelenting. Eventually, the currents will retreat once more; yet, the shoreline will never be the same. In this way, the sea echoes the perpetual awakening of the soul and its inevitable effect on our day-to-day reality.

Diving in Darkness: The Paradox of the Soul
My business brand invites clients to shine - to embrace their brilliance as the guiding light within. I encourage focus on positive potential, and consciously lining up choices with passion and possibilities. I have seen the power of a positive paradigm time and time again, as it is often our vantage point that keeps us stuck in disempowering dynamics. Shifting to a more empowered state of being (and acting!) can be a key to liberation.
Nevertheless, the soul's journey is paradoxical; it reveals more of who you are through the contrast that life offers. Growth is all about integration of the whole of you. Fulfillment comes when you close the gap between shine and shadow.
When we resist aspects of who we are, they go underground. Ironically, these rejected qualities are meant to be essential and productive contributors to the life we are living! But because we deem them as unworthy, they become the unruly children of our psyche. Denied the vehicle of expression, they spill out into our everyday lives wreaking havoc in subtle, yet powerful ways.

You see, there is an inevitability that is certainly universal: the promise of change. The soul - simply a word for our ever-evolving potential - is constantly seeking new landscapes through which to reveal itself as more. New ways of being are inevitably calling to us and, no matter how we resist, we are continually renewed through our life experiences. The most powerful sirens of change catch us off guard. As a result of a natural learning curve, we resist the unknown. Thus, opportunities are resented as 'difficulties' to overcome... ever-evolving desires manifest in 'bad habits' we long to be rid of... or a person meant to birth a new level of awareness in us becomes a 'thorn in our side.' In each instance, it is simply a case of near-sightedness.

Let us return to the ocean analogy. Imagine the tides represent the soul's cyclical calls toward a larger life. When we resist a call to dive deeper, life speaks louder through the currents of circumstance. The tide continues to roll in more and more aggressively until the boom of new life that is stirring can no longer be ignored. It creeps ever closer and, when necessary, it submerges our sense of self until we are paddling around in the dark. The shadowy, underwater portals can be frightening - usually showing up as a circumstance or relationship that reveals us raw. We come face to face with our darker impulses, our vulnerability, and our resulting heartfelt desires. 
Yet the more we fight against the current - especially the shadowy stuff that we'd rather deny and project onto others - the more we get beaten and battered. The forcefulness of the riptide is waking us up! True, we can't see clearly now... perhaps we can't even find the ground beneath us; yet, in time, it will find us. If we can relax into the knowing that darkness always offers its counterpart, we become humbly available to the brilliance that is destined for us. Rest assured, the waters will retreat once more... and each time the waters reunite with their source, we are revealed anew. We can gaze around in awe and wonder at the beautiful landscapes left in the wake of our next incarnation. This life is many lives in one; and embracing this wild ride will free you up for boundless joy... again and again and again.
Be Willing to Change... everything.
Much like the shoreline is carved by the hand of the sea, our character is shaped by the hidden recesses of the soul. We must yield to its revelations, even when we'd rather hold on for dear life or even run for cover. Calls toward expansion will only get louder in our denial of them. And what is denied in us will find its way to us eventually. The magnificent wild tidal waves of the shadow self will come crashing to the shore.
Growth is delivered to us via nature's contraction and expansion. Waves cycling in and out. All transformation is contingent upon this coupling: brilliant dreams arise from the shadows of longing... desires launch from unwanted conditions... and new paradigms are born from old complexes. Life is a divine coupling of rip-roaring discomfort and the new potential it births.

Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)
Walt Whitman

When you get used to the idea of change, you begin to understand that it is the only absolute to be certain of. Therefore, are you willing to contradict yourself in order to expand? Will you allow the awareness of deeper aspects of your being (even those you would rather deny) to propel you forth? Are you willing to change your beliefs when your experience calls for a new vantage point?

Wild waves of freedom result from discontent and are invitations to be at one with your untamed nature. Just like the sea, your soul is never still; it is never unmoved by the life you are living. Yet it is not enough to succumb to the call of the wild indefinitely. It is essential to experience and mine such impulses for the motivation at their core. What essential part of me is fighting to be free? And how can I consciously embrace all the shadowy stuff that is stirred to the surface as an opportunity to mature in my understanding of life?
When the wild impulses within are no longer denied - when they become integrated and accepted for the medicine they offer - they become functional contributors to your life experience. You are free to be you. And there is nothing more pleasing to the soul.
Never stop etching your visions into sandy shores. Yet curse not the waves that spill forth, wiping your slate clean and transforming the canvas yet again. Your soul cannot be stagnant any more than the sea can be contained. So celebrate the dark and shadowy depths of your being, and use them as fluid platforms that elevate you to meet the sun's rays.