Strength or Resilience?

You know, this would have been a much better post if I had a tape recorder in the shower with me this morning. I had such wonderful thoughts. Instead, we are stuck with my glimmers of remembrance of what I was thinking at the time.

While traveling through my own dark thoughts, what I think of as my own Dark Night of the Soul (see original poem by St. John of the Cross http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Night-Dover-Thrift-Editions/dp/0486426939 and the book by Thomas Moore http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Nights-Soul-Finding-Through/dp/1592401333), I am realizing how very resilient I am. I have always questioned my strength, but really do I want to be strong, an unbending, unyielding steel girder, or do I want to be resilient, a willow that bends in the wind.

I’m learning to vote for the willow.

The other day I posted a video by Garbage called “Only Happy When it Rains” but the truth is, I’m rarely happy when it rains. I don’t like the dark and dank dreariness when it rains. I appreciate the rain. I know it waters my yard and makes the flowers and the vegetables grow. It keeps the threat of fire down. It even gives us the water we drink. I’m happy for that but I don’t like the grayness of the day or how the dampness creeps into my now 52 year old joints.

What most resonates with me with “Only Happy When it Rains” when I’m having a tough time is the line “I’m riding high upon a deep depression” because at that moment I am. Unlike the remaining lyrics however, I do not enjoy it. I do however, learn from it.

I allow my Dark Night of the Soul. Yeah, yeah a weird phrase for a Jew that is not Messianic in any way, shape or form to use considering its original meaning within Christian philosophy but I see it in much broader terms of feeling. Eckhart Tolle sums up a good deal of how I see the meaning in this phrase (http://www.eckharttolle.com/newsletter/october-2011). He says “It is a term used to describe what one could call a collapse of a perceived meaning in life…an eruption into your life of a deep sense of meaninglessness.  The inner state in some cases is very close to what is conventionally called depression.  Nothing makes sense anymore, there’s no purpose to anything.” Then he says that eventually, “It’s a kind of re-birth.  The dark night of the soul is a kind of death that you die.  What dies is the egoic sense of self.  Of course, death is always painful, but nothing real has actually died there – only an illusory identity.  Now it is probably the case that some people who’ve gone through this transformation realized that they had to go through that, in order to bring about a spiritual awakening.  Often it is part of the awakening process, the death of the old self and the birth of the true self.”

I am so grateful that these periods of darkness seem to have less and less hold over me. Usually, they are brought about by some deep-seated fear that I have yet to fully deal with. I have one in particular that haunts me periodically and every single time the emotional me takes over the rational me. I go through this “dark night” and always come out more resilient than before. Thank God.

The roller coaster that is the time leading up to that “awakening” is frankly, horrible. What is good though is my ability to weather the storm and to do those things to bring about the awakening at a much quicker pace. I try to eat well, get sleep, exercise. I don’t always succeed 100% but I keep at it. I have even learned to lean on a few friends. This has been so difficult. I still don’t like to cry in front of anyone, for any reason. I have a few people that have been so caring and I am so immensely grateful.

I’m not only happy when it rains. I’m happy when the sun shines. I am resilient enough to know that the sun will shine again. I will weather the storm. I will be a still better person at the end of this period and my next dark night of the soul will be even less problematic than the last.

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One thought on “Strength or Resilience?

  1. Just yesterday I was watching an elderly woman on television talking about a person needing to be like a tree so they can bend with the good and bad times. She said she never would have survived some events in her life otherwise.

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