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  • Fe Robinson

Emerging from the dark

“Don’t fear the dark: it's a natural part of the journey. The most beautiful butterflies emerge from the darkness of the cocoon; the finest plants push their way out of the deep, rich, fertile soil. Out of the dark comes strength, and focus. There is always another re-birth. But it always begins in the dark. Be still. Listen. Let yourself disintegrate.” Sharon Blackie

A common problem that I encounter in my therapy room is that clients are afraid to feel. Some worry that their feelings are wrong. Some fear if they begin feeling they will be overwhelmed, and intense difficult feelings will never stop. Others sense that if they let in feeling it will bring change, and cause them to confront uncomfortable truths and feel compelled to take action they have been shying away from. Some fear that feeling itself is not safe, that it will irrevocably harm them.

There are many good and important reasons to have defences against feeling, whatever they are they will have been formed from life experiences; at the time they formed they were the best solution available to the difficult situation being faced. The trouble is, solutions found in one context can creep into other contexts where they are not useful, and in time, an old solution can become a new problem.

Blackie invites us with powerful words. “Be still. Listen. Let yourself disintegrate.” In the same passage of writing, she also poses this question:

“What is it that sustains you, when everything around you dissolves? What holds you up, when all support structures fail?”

It is an important one to be with. It is my experience personally and clinically that when our assumptive world collapses, when all that seems solid disintegrates and we feel all bets are off, when we step into the unknown and uncertain, we are still sustained and somehow held. However much all seems changed, we are still who we are, we endure. We go on, and healing can happen. Trusting this is the foundation of my clinical work, I trust that my clients have the capacity for wholeness and can find their own solutions and ways forwards, and can rebuild from within.

Transformation is possible when we dare not only to look, listen and sense, but also to see, hear and feel. We are darkness just as much as light, it is the grit in the oyster that enables the pearl, it is being squeezed and uncomfortable that enables the butterfly to take flight once it emerges from it’s cocoon. We are not meant to be one-sided, to only think, or only feel ‘nice’ emotions. We are of the earth. We are whole, complex, multi-faceted beings, and when we embrace all that we are, then change happens, all on it’s own.

So be still. Listen. Let yourself disintegrate. And notice that as you do so with trust, your are sustained and held, and much more is possible.


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