A year ago, I would have never known that I would be where I am today. My outlook on life was a lot more constrained and naive. I thought that being spiritual was all about being a positive person all the time, and being all giving to others (even if it meant being hurt by them). On the outside, I was very selfless.. though this being selfless was for a SELFish purpose. I wanted others to view me a certain way. Hell, I wanted to view myself a certain way. Though appearing "perfect" all the time for others and for yourself is not a the way to truly evolve. In fact, in my current lifetime I've evolved more through the darkness than I have through the light. The moment of facing my fears came with the spring of 2011. My father, who I was very close to at the time, had been diagnosed with stage four Cancer. Five years ago, he had a small patch of skin Cancer on his shoulder and they doctors were "sure" they had gotten it all. It turned out they hadn't. Suddenly, I was faced with something I had never had to deal with before. Not only was I dealing with the grief from knowing my father was going to physically die, but I was also faced with my self-image and how I thought I was "supposed" to act in regards to the situation. I remember the first thing I told him when he said he had Cancer. "You're going to be okay. You're going to beat this." At the time, I didn't know how else to react because in my mind it was my duty to be strong and positive and I felt like truly expressing my emotions would do no good for the situation. What I realize now, is that I was running away from the darkness instead of embracing it. I was stifling my feelings and emotions SO MUCH that I wasn't allowing myself to grow through the experience. While my father was sick, I didn't spend much time with him. I pushed down my emotions even further into the abyss. However, I do not regret doing this. I am able to reflect on it now and see how, even though a dark period in my life, has helped me grow. I hadn't allowed myself to truly embrace the darkness until after he passed away. In fact, I immersed myself in it. At first, I wallowed in depression and self-pity. I constantly asked myself "WHY?" "Why did this have to happen to him? Why was he taken away from me?" That then turned into anger. Anger towards the doctors for being so stupid, anger towards myself for not expressing how much I loved him while he was sick, anger towards my friends for telling me I should just go out and party my problems away. It wasn't until after got out that energy that I could really focus on growing in the darkness. With that, acceptance came quickly. I know now that the real reason I went through this wasn't from my father's death alone. It was from being thrown into facing my self, and my image, and who I built myself up to be. Because a lot of who I identified my self to be was in relation to my father. I was always "daddy's little girl". He did everything he possibly could for me, and I had to face the fact that I was not the one who was in control of his fate or the situation. So, for me, being spiritual isn't JUST about being positive, or being a warm-hearted person towards others. It's really being able to face yourself and evolve not only in light, but in darkness as well. I can't say that I've completely dropped a self image or that I don't have an ego, because I do. Although, I am aware of it and I take the opportunity to reflect and grow from experiences in which I have to face my biggest enemy.... MY SELF.
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