I’ve been thinking lately about the contrasts between light and dark, in terms of positive and negative. It is interesting to me that often, as humans, we associate dark with negative, and light with positive. Philosophies are abundant with it. I do the same too. Dark can be good though, as in a beautiful, peaceful, dark, starry night. Light can be negative, as in a person not feeling happy, waking up, and the light makes all that is painful feel vivid and clear. Shedding light on negative things, can make them seem starkly apparent and overwhelming. But for the purposes of what I have been thinking about, and wishing to write about, I am sticking with the notion of dark representing negative, and light representing positive. It is most commonly how I feel about the concept, and how most seem to feel, that I can gather anyway.
The past year or so, I have been concertedly striving to accentuate the positive, and veer away from the negative. I suffer from depression, have I mentioned that? Recovering from, healing, or even eliminating that can be a very long-term battle. I think I will always battle that in my life, but I do believe there will come a time when it will be almost easy, most of the time. The reason I feel this way, is because I am determined. I may or may not be a lot of things, but lacking strength and stamina is definitely something I am not. I have endured a lot, so much more than I care to even think about. Those things I have endured have taught me a lot. But most of all, they have taught me I am very strong. They have also taught me to appreciate the positive, and to strive to improve or ignore the negative. So lately I have pondered on what that means, how to do so, and what difference it can make.
It has occurred to me, nothing ground-breaking, mind you, that positive can be a matter of shedding light on good, and dissipating the light on negative. Think of standing in a large empty room. Now place one table on one end of the room, and another table on the other end. On one table place an object, say a bright yellow flower, like a daffodil. Now place a decayed or dead flower on the other. Now take two very bright lights and place one above the live flower, and one above the dead one. Now imagine using dimmer switches on both lights. If you completely raise the light on the dead flower, and then lower the light on the live flower all the way, what you have left is only the light on the dead one. You look at it and it’s presences conveys sadness, decay, death, neglect, emptiness, and other negative things. You cannot see the live flower, so you do not feel the positive that can be associated with it. You merely see the dead flower, and can feel the things that go with it. Now turn down the dimmer all the way on the dead flower, and turn all the way up, the dimmer on the live flower. Now you see a live, vibrant, colorful, happy-looking flower. You no longer see the dead one, and as you stare at the live flower, it’s color and vibrancy can help you to feel what it also denotes. Can you close your eyes and see all this and feel what I mean? Mind you, nothing changed really. The dead flower is still there, and the live flower is still there. We only changed what we highlighted. But can you see what it changes in what we see, what we think, and how we feel? This is how I see positive and negative…and what I wish to change or improve in my own life.
Life is chaotic and complicated at times, especially when it comes to humans. It will never go smooth or perfect. Circumstances around us will often be hard to deal with, or very complex. But they will often, if not always, be changing. We usually cannot do anything about that. I know in my heart of hearts, most times, we can only change how we see it, and how we deal with it. I might be driving along and come to a traffic jam. This might frustrate me or upset me. Maybe it will even make me late. I can either realize that I can do nothing to change it and just accept it, or I can frustrate myself by letting it get to me. We are all human, and the latter will happen to us all, no matter how hard we try. But, for me, I feel the good news is that we can retrain ourselves and learn, and overcome this most of the time. It is hard, but it can be done. For myself, I have a long ways to go, but I am happy to say, I am working hard at it.
For several years, I have gone through what I have heard some call, my “dark of night.” It is a term used for a period of time you go through, in which you have extremely hard times, hunkering down, perhaps even very depressed, or sad, or energies suppressed, and you just basically cocoon yourself, hopefully to endure and heal. It is a very transformative period, and usually many people come out of it with a lot of enlightenment, a lot or some personal inner change, and a lot of their life changed. It can feel like a long time that will never end, feel very dark, and be very painful, hence the name. Mine lasted quite a number of years, and I am only slowly coming out of it now. It began with a lot of my mother’s illness, continued with a lot of personal loss, and then went into me losing everything, having to uproot, and move three thousand miles away and change my whole life. It was the hardest time of my life, and I am still reeling from some of it, but I am in a much better place now.
Now, I am slowly coming into the light, but that darkness tries to follow and envelop me. It has tried to follow me again since my father passed away. I might falter or sometimes fall, but I refuse to let it take over. For me, there are only two things that can work to do that. One, having love in my life. I do not feel anyone can exist without it. I feel people need to share love with others in order to have peace and wholeness in life. Whether it be friends, family, adopted family, a partner, even pets helps that. For most I believe it takes a combination of a few or several people in those capacities. I have one great friend, my other half, my kitties, and some new family through my sweetheart that helps with that, in my life.
The second thing that helps with this process, for me, is to shed light on the positive, and diminish the highlight on the negative. I cannot make every thing better in or around me just like that, but I can shed the light on the good things, and strive to look away from the negative, especially if I cannot readily change it. When bad things happen, I can complain and feel bad, which I still will time to time, but if I put most of my effort into being grateful for what I do have, and for the good that comes out of most things, then it changes my outlook. I find myself feeling better even about the little things. This does not always work mind you, and when I struggle with depression, and even anxiety, it makes it even harder. But most habits do take time to learn, and I believe I can learn them. Also, it is important for me to give myself slack. When I do get negative and feel bad or complain, I try to catch myself and counter that by finding something to feel grateful about. But it is important for me to not chastise myself for slipping, or even falling. Self-condemnation or guilt doesn’t do me or anyone else any good whatsoever. Instilling bad feelings in one’s self is counter productive to the point of it all. If I choose to get positive, then being negative with myself for not achieving this, just keeps me on the wrong path, and is counter-productive to my original intention. So, if I do slip, I tell myself it is okay that this happened, that in time I can un-learn these habits, and next time I will do better. In fact, I try to, so-to-speak, “pat myself on the back,” for catching it, and making an effort to remedy. I keep telling myself positive begets positive, and negative begets negative.
If I feed the positive, I get more positive. If I feed the negative, I get more negative. I see it as only win-win, if I keep striving to feed the positive. I know it will make me healthier in body, mind, soul, and emotions. This can be a slow process, and I feel it takes small steps that I think lead up to bigger ones. Change takes time, and I think we as people need to give ourselves a break, but at the same time be determined and persistent. If I fall off, I know I need to try to quickly get back on. In this society, I know at times we can be hardest on ourselves and not give ourselves allowances. In our instant gratification, and impatient times, they seem to go hand in hand. But for me, and even for others, I feel while persistence is key, so is patience.
Ever have a time where you were in a very dark room, concert, amusement ride, etc. and you quickly went out into the light and it seemed to hurt your eyes? Have other times where you were in bright light and suddenly went into a dark room or the like, and you felt like you could not see a thing? It is the drastic contrast that makes it so hard to adjust so quickly. I feel that changing one’s perspective is akin to that. It takes time. I do not think there is any way around that. You cannot come from a negative place and tell yourself that you will be positive and make it happen just like that. You have to shed light slowly, and adapt habits with time and patience. Then you give yourself room, feed the positive, like when you falter, tell yourself it is okay, and get back on track as you can, and then only give yourself positive when you do. Any negative can slide you backwards. And there is no avoiding that, it will happen. Again, I feel this is okay. I think to get into the light and really live it and feel it, it has to happen slowly, or like our eyes in contrasted light, we do not adjust well.
Then there is a matter of needs versus wants. It can be hard to decipher between what we need and what we want. I feel that sometimes we need to get stuck in a difficult or painful situation because we have not learned from it, in total, what we need to. We might not want it, but whether we hate it or not, we might need it. Again, here is where it will take time to shed light on the positive slowly, and get into a better place. The darkness does have purpose though.
My four or so months away from home, was a rough time for me (refer to past posts if you wish to know what I refer to), but somehow I held onto the positive more often than I would’ve thought. Ironically, after getting home, I hit a dark time. I think while I was busy getting something extremely hard done, I was ignoring that my father had died and how painful our relationship had been for me. Now that this rough patch is passed, I think it has had time to hit me, and real hard. I have been stagnant this past month, which also included me being pretty sick for a week or two. I set off at the start of the new year with a positive outlook and determination. But somewhere along the way I ran out of steam, got stuck and discouraged, and shut down a bit. That is why I have not posted to this blog in a couple weeks. It is sort of like a mini “dark of night.” I could chastise myself and feel guilty for not doing what I set out to do. I could also feel guilty that I did not post to my blog what I set out to do. I could even punish myself inwardly for this. I have typically done all this in the past. But what good would that do? What purpose would that serve? This is how I always did it before, and it got me no where. The quote goes, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” (Some say it was Einstein that said it, some say he never did. For this purpose, not the point either way. It’s meaning still remains the same.) Since that method never worked, it is time for me to change the cycle. Rather than mire myself in negative feelings about it, it is time to just pick myself up, dust myself off, feel okay with myself for realizing this and for getting up again, then move on, and move forward.
So, I am here today sharing with you, my thoughts on positive and negative, dark versus light. This is how I get up again and keep moving. If I keep shuffling my feet, “they” can’t bury me…whomever they might be. 😉 I look out my window, and the weather here is odd this afternoon. The sun is very slowly starting to peer out, after a bunch of days and nights of gloomy, rainy weather. Yet while the sun is getting brighter and warmer, the rain is lightly flowing down in a sort of drizzle…maybe slightly harder. It mirrors my place right now. The sun is starting to peer out, as I come out of my short time of semi-darkness. My inner poet finds that metaphoric and succinct. But it confirms what I already know…that it will get better. It might be small steps, but I know it will get better, because I will not stop working in that direction.
It is still my intention to get this blog on a sort of schedule, but if anyone has remained, kept following, and reading here, then I am grateful you are hanging in there with me. I do have lots of wonderful ideas brewing, and I so much want to share them all with you. I have so many that I can hardly get them all down on paper, or put into action, but I will strive for that, slowly but surely. I am working towards writing these “mewsings” and having them out on Mondays. I am wanting to make it a “Mewsings Monday,” if you will. I also want to do a budget find day, perhaps Fridays, and then one or two other scheduled pieces on the other days. For now, I will do what I can as I can, and work toward doing things on a more dependable schedule. I hope you hang in there with me through my growing pains. =)
I am in a good place today, despite setbacks. I was scheduled to take a crochet class at a local craft store, but it got cancelled on account of no one else signed up. I am disappointed. I wanted this class to not only teach me to crochet, but to get out of the house, to meet people, and start myself getting busier outside the house. I really want to learn to crochet. I used to knit long ago, but I wound up drifting away. I think this is because it is a bit complicated, and I hear crocheting is a bit easier. I do not think they have another class until over a month away, which makes me sad. I am hoping perhaps I can find instruction elsewhere. While I know I can learn this on the net, or from youtube, I really wish to interact with others while learning. But we will see what happens. Despite this, onward I go. J’s mother is supposed to be coming over today so we can go through old pictures of their family together. I will enjoy that. I finally get to see pictures of him growing up, and I hope to help her preserve them for other family members, and the future. I am going to help her digitize them all. Did I ever tell you that I love to restore photos? At one time I thought I was pretty good at this. Would you like me to share some samples of this? Perhaps one day in the next week this will be one of my first editions to my “great experiment” section…some before and after restoration work. Also, I am thinking about sharing some pastel artworks I have done. I would love to hear what you think.
Are you in a good place in your life or a dark place? Do you feel it would help to shine the light on more positive areas, to slowly inject that positive to get you to a better place? If you do, you are not alone. We all go through this at one time or another. We all go through it in durations for the rest of our lives..it is a part of life. I hope you share this process with me. I would love to hear your insights, or even your setbacks. Please feel free to comment below. We can all learn something from one another. If you or anyone you know are in a dark place, I hope you don’t mind me telling you, take heart, it can and will get better. Rather than fear change, it can be a strange comfort. Whatever it is that holds us down, we can count on change to alleviate the burdens. Life is an ebb and a flow.
Remember those two flowers in the corners of the room? I hope you can recall, when you need it most, to dim the light on the negative…that dead flower in the corner, and turn up the light on the live, bright one. I feel the more we shed light on the good, the positive, the more positive will fill us, and the better we can endure, and even overcome and succeed. We all know the “dead flowers,”…the negatives, will always be there. But to turn the light up on them does us no good. I just hope we can find and reach for the right dimmer when we really need it. And when you are in the dark spots, know my heart is right there with you. I understand what it feels like, but the comforts I can offer you are, you are not alone, and there is light, and you will get to it. Just give yourself time and patience, and never give up. And strive to never give up on making second nature, to turn up the dimmer, and shed light on the positive. We will get there, I just know it!
My Warmth and Gratitude as Always,