People have been asking me about all the negativity taking over our conversations and our world. Now is the perfect time to respond. Now as the spring equinox arrives, having done so at 7:02 a.m. EDT today.
The spring equinox. One of two times during the year when the night and day are approximately equal … when the light and the dark are approximately equal.
I am usually not comfortable using the words “positive” and “negative” because people misuse them so terribly. People call painful feelings negative, when they are really just painful. People call them negative as a code for saying, “I don’t want to feel them.” People call them negative as a code for saying that painful feelings, the ones they don’t want to feel, are bad.
And people call positive feelings positive, when they are really just pleasurable feelings or feelings that are comfortable for them. The feelings may be pleasurable, but most important, they must not be painful. And people call events positive when they are not painful; negative when they are. So people equate positive with good and negative with bad. And people call events positive when they are not painful; and negative when they are. Get the gist?
Then when the painful events happen, people can label them, make them “bad,” and turn away from them to the “good” things. This can all be done on the surface and nobody has to deal with what is happening beneath the surface. For example, everyone is fighting about whether people can have guns. It’s all over the news. The following is an oversimplification, but it will make the point: Some people say we have to have guns; some people say we can’t. While they’re fighting about who’s right and who’s wrong, who’s good and who’s bad, people get fed up with the fight and decide to go off and watch a comedy—a happy movie—on television, and no one looks at what’s happening underneath that’s causing people to express their feelings with guns. Have you seen people do this? Do you do this yourself?
Or perhaps people go under the surface level a bit, but no further. Perhaps they go beneath the fight about guns to the tragedy at Sandy Hook, remembering that’s what brought the fight this time so far out into the open. But instead of feeling, instead of working with and working through the very painful feelings that the Sandy Hook disaster stirred up in them and still stirs up in them, they turn their attention elsewhere. They turn their attention to something more comfortable or pleasurable to them, whether that be entertainment, recreation, or another hot-button cause.
Let’s make a bridge from this to the seasons and the spring equinox.
The seasons go ’round and ’round—summer, fall, winter, spring. Again and again and again. Cycle after cycle after cycle. Light, darkening, dark, lightening again. Right now we’re coming through the end of winter and getting ready to make the transition to spring once again. Summer, fall, winter, spring …
This same kind of cycling occurs within each of us and within our society as well. There is darkness within us. People think of that darkness as bad. They think of its contents as ugly and even evil. But that is not so. That darkness contains so much more than what we can conceive of. That darkness is fertile ground for everything. We have within us—in the darkness within—hatred, meanness, and cruelty, but also love, kindness, and compassion that we don’t even know we have the capacity for. We have within us deep, raw, painful wounds, but also amazing strengths and gifts … many of which lay dormant within the darkness within until we become aware of our wounds, heal them, and spin the straw of our wounds into the gold of our gifts and strengths.
Imagine a child who grows up in a family that lies and refuses to acknowledge its lying. Yes, the child is deeply wounded by the experience. Yes, the child grows up with the capacity to lie like an expert. Yes, the child develops a mistrust of people that he generalizes across the board. But with that wound healed, the child now grown can use his sensitivity for lies, and be like a lie detector in behalf of truth. Granted, this gift can be misused, but if the wound is truly healed, part of the gift used well will be a commitment to keep exploring whether the lie detector for truth is being abused or truly used in the service of truth.
What needs to come out into the open, into consciousness, from the dark unconsciousness within, will inevitably come out sooner or later. In the end, it will come out into the light of our own consciousness. It will come out into the light of day. It will come out into the light of springtime. If we welcome it as clues for healing, we can eventually resolve and heal it—it won’t be buried again, and it won’t have to come out with an explosion again. If we don’t welcome it as clues for healing, we will call it names, make it “bad,” and bury it once again … just as we did long, long ago when we were children. And it will haunt us from our own underground—individual and communal—until it explodes out into the open once more.
We have a choice of which cycle we ride: Out and choose to heal, or out-call names-bury-fester-explode out again and choose whether to use for healing. Cycle after cycle after cycle. Just like summer, fall, winter, and spring.
Which cycle do you choose to ride?
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