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The Dark Side of "Love & Light"
That shadow isn't going anywhere.
You can’t “love and light” your way through trauma.
I know I came straight out the gate with that one, but someone needed to hear it. Heck, maybe I needed the reminder.
Many people in the spiritual community talk about “love and light,” emphasizing the importance of spreading both love and light to others and to yourself. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, sometimes we can fall into the “love and light” spiral, which actually becomes a form of bypassing the yucky emotions that are coming up.
Remember when I told y’all about the word “why,” and how I’ve found that it can often serve as a distraction from feeling the feelings? It can also serve as this dark secret agent trying to decide whether or not the feelings coming up are valid, so that you can determine whether or not they’re even worth feeling (which is so funny, because of course they are, but to think of the mental Olympics we go through just to avoid feeling things).
Well, sometimes that “why” comes in the form of “love and light.”
One very common way for our minds to rationalize why fucked up things happen to us is to find the reason behind it. We look for the lesson, the message, the hidden meaning to give ourselves a sense of relief. That “answer” provides a security blanket for us. It gives us that validation.
But what about the things that you just can’t rationalize? Or the things that maybe you’ve already drawn lessons from, but they still haunt and hurt you?
During a group meditation on Sunday evening, I was faced with how I “love and light” my way through trauma. When hurtful memories come up, my mind would instantly take over by saying, “Yes, this happened, but you learned this, this and this.” And don’t get me wrong—it’s a powerful practice to see the meaning behind why certain events occurred, and it can be another form of avoidance.
What would happen if you acknowledged these memories and just said, “I didn’t deserve that.” Period. No rationalizing, no “but,” no trying to find the reason why. Just recognizing it, sitting with it, and letting yourself know that you didn’t deserve it, and that it was hurtful, and fucked up?
What would happen if you did that, and then allowed yourself to feel the feelings that came up in relation to that? The grief, the sadness, the anger, the betrayal, the loneliness, the rejection, the disappointment, the shame...
And sit with it.
We talk about duality often, and this is no different. Life is all about balance, yes? Understand that trying to “always be positive” can have its toxicity, too. Because the goal isn’t to bypass the “negative” emotions. It’s not to always “see the bright side.” Sometimes the greater purpose is to sit in the dark, befriend the shadows, and ask what it has to say.
By continuously running from your darkness, you are running from an entire aspect of yourself that continues to try and get your attention. Whatever you fear from being in the moment with that part of yourself is probably what you need the most.
Face your fears by facing yourself. Face your fears by feeling your Self.