Often, when we are feeling bad about something – we feel like there’s something wrong with us.
Tara Brach, who is an inspiration to me and this post, names this sensation as the trance of unworthiness.
I bet you can relate – feeling like if you’re sad or disappointed – you’re broken. And if you’re broken – you feel unworthy of peace and love for your life.
This trance of unworthiness – or dark soul cycle – can look like confusion about your point or purpose in life. This can be you constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. This can be you scared to commit because you don’t feel like you deserve to be committed to.
We, as a society, are constantly seeking for a fast and furious way out of the dark cycles.
I believe we remain stuck in the darkness because we aren’t acknowledging it.
Running away from the bad feelings only makes them intensify. Like, when you leave dirty dishes piling up. Maybe some magical fairy will wash them for you. Maybe you get resentful someone else in your house isn’t doing them. Most of all – they sit there getting crusty, nastier, and not acknowledged- much like what happens with your ignore your emotions.
Let’s look for a moment at the goddess Dhumavati.
She’s an outcast from what society considers to be valuable – looks, young age, class and possessions. She’s the widow, the dark goddess, the crone, the witch, the penniless beggar.
She’s all of us when we are feeling unworthy.
Yet, Dhumavati’s gifts are vast – she has nothing so she has nothing to lose. She’s the one we finally can see when we hit rock bottom. She is the dark moon – when we have the to rely only on our intuition to lead us home. She’s the storm that washes away the armor keeping us from connection.
I’ve been Dhumavati a time or two in my life.
After my birthing my son by a cesarean section, I felt like I’d failed. I hadn’t birthed the way that I wanted – the way many people believe is right. I didn’t feel like I fit in, and I also felt so sad my body and womb had just gone through major surgery.
Society had not cast me out, like the archetype Dhumavati, though I do think new mothers are cast aside in some ways.
No – I cast me out. As my body healed from surgery, my mind started to look at all the ways I had failed.
I didn’t let go of beating myself up or second guessing my worth, for a long time – over a year.
I turned on myself in a way that I never had before. It was painful – and the most gorgeous alchemical transformation I’ve experienced.
How did I get through the dark cycle?
I began, slowly, to realize that the unexpected had been my greatest gift. I now know – I can do what I fear the most. At that time my greatest fear was being put under the knife to deliver my child. I’m sure as time changes my fears will change. They always do.
Yet – I came back to myself. Slowly and over time I came back to myself – a self I’d been waiting to know all of my life: mother, warrior, compassionate one, and a self-accepting woman.
Observing the dark cycle of my life like a scientist helped. Thank goodness I had years of contemplative practices to lean on during this time.
Learning to take care of myself has been tremendous – little moments like staring at myself in the mirror and saying I love and accept you.
Talking to others: my family, friends, coaches and mentors, has been deeply altering.
The number one tool that has gotten me through:
Stating the emotions when I feel them.
Tara Brach also offers these two questions when you’re feeling unworthy or stuck:
What’s happening right now?
Can I open to it?
If you’re a student of Soul Cycle Sessions, you’ll recognize this tool of observing and naming your emotions.
Observation truly is a pathway to what we’re looking for: to live from a heart of self acceptance.
Trust me when I say, if you’re looking for your healing you won’t have to look far. You’re there right now. That’s why this time hurts – you’re living fully.
Hold tight and highlight the moments that give you faith. They’ll become more and more abundant as time passed.
Soon – you will find what you’re looking for – until it’s time to release it again.
This I believe.
Thank you to Tara Brach – a teacher I’ve never met in person but has informed so much of my acceptance path.
And the same goes to Sally Kempton, my Shakti goddess teacher. Your words are balm to my soul every day.