Poet John O'Donohue offers wisdom:
"When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight.
The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laborsome events of will.
Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.
The tide you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.
You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken in the race of days.
At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.
You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.
Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.
Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.
Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.
Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time."
David Whyte highlights the importance of darkness and how it can become a home that catapults us into something more expansive, if we let it show us more of ourselves than we knew before. He writes of this in his poem: Sweet Darkness
"When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.
When your vision has gone,
no part of the world can find you.
Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.
There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.
The dark will be your home
The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.
You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you."
I often encourage clients to write as part of their journey into both birthing and being with deeper aspects of self. In his book, The Body Keeps the Score, Bessel Van der Kolk articulates this necessity well: "The object of writing is to write to yourself, to let your self know what you have been trying to avoid."
Great podcast on depression and navigating its terrain soulfully:
"I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear [one], to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer."
- Rainer Maria Rilke
The Guest House
"This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond."
-- Jellaludin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Bark
"Do not seek to become powerful; seek only to release fear from body-mind.
do not chase after joy; only breathe out your pain, your grief, your loss.
do not ask for mastery; ask only to shed that which is unnatural and disharmonious.
darkness and day follow each other.
heavy is the root of light, stillness is the mother of movement.
emptiness is the source of ten thousand things.
release, breathe, shed, stand-still, un-do
let your tears fall to the earth beneath your feet
let your sorrows sink and become your root
what you thought was weakness will become strength
where fear has been dissolved, laughter blooms,
after looking inward,
the spirit rises."
- Don Ethan Miller, student of Cheng Man Chin
Only the walker who sets out toward ultimate things is a pilgrim. In this lies the difference between tourist and pilgrim. The tourist travels just as far, sometimes with great zeal and courage, gathering up acquisitions and returns the same person as the one who departed. The pilgrim resolves that the one who returns will not be the same person as the one who set out. The pilgrim must be prepared to shed the husk of personality or even the body like a worn out coat. For the pilgrim the road is home; reaching the destination seems nearly inconsequential. (Andrew Schelling, Meeting the Buddha, edited by Molly Emma Aitken)