Clouds may come, but clouds must go, and they all have a silver lining. For behind each cloud you know, the sun, or moon, is shining. – Unknown.
(This is a post by regular reader Janietta. Want to share your story? Click here for deets!).
We are all familiar with the saying ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ but sometimes, the threads of silver that weave their way through the dark times of our lives are not so easy to spot.
Twelve years ago, there was such a storm brewing in my life that I was unable to notice anything but the black clouds and rumbles of thunder that were threatening to obliterate it.
I was a single mum, juggling the demands of a teaching career while supporting my Mum through a difficult journey with cancer, whilst in the middle of a tumultuous relationship with my partner.
I was also grossly unfit, drastically overweight, very unhappy, constantly tired, and prone to periodic episodes of binge eating that added to my rapidly deteriorating sense of self worth.
On all levels, darkness was closing in on me.
I developed an auto immune disease which meant I had to leave work, I lost the financial security a career gave me, my dear Mum died, and in a vulnerable and insecure state, I tried to find some security and respite from the pain by hastily marrying the man I had been trying to leave for the last five years.
Two years later, I found myself facing a second divorce, with my home about to be sold, jobless, and facing a very uncertain future.
Depression, pain, fear, insecurity, despair, loneliness, anxiety, and shame were my constant companions.
That, is until the day I decided to befriend my darkness and look at it with gentler eyes.
I began to peer more closely into it wondering if there might be something else hiding there waiting to be discovered… and as my eyes slowly adjusted I began to see the emerging light of…. STARS!
Star 1: Desire.
When you stop looking with the eyes of disapproval and look more kindly at your life, you may see the spark of your desires shining out through the darkness. Desire points to what it is you truly long for.
When I was able to stop pushing my darkness away and actually feel it instead, it brought me the gift of insight.
I began to see that what I truly wanted from life was to experience myself differently. The darkness showed me that how I was currently living my life was not congruent with who I felt myself to be deep inside.
Once I understood this, I was free to begin to do something about it.
Star 2: Rest.
Not working gave me the gift of space and time to rest. At first, feeling the need to keep on going, to work things out and solve the practical problems that life was throwing at me, I resisted the call to rest.
However, gradually I was able to slow down, breathe deeply and allow my body the rest it so sorely needed.
Without the pressures of work I was free to use my time more creatively! I went for long, healing walks, listened to music, read inspirational books, spent time talking to friends, began learning the art of relaxation, and slept when I needed to.
Slowly my body began to repair itself.
Star 3: Solitude.
At first, being on your own after you have been used to being in a relationship can be a dark and lonely time. And yet, solitude can be hugely rewarding once you see it as your friend (not your enemy).
Solitude gave me space and time for self reflection.
It allowed me to get to know myself better and taught me that I was stronger than I thought I was. It provided me with the fertile ground for self trust to grow and it helped me to know that I was okay just as I was.
The stillness and quiet that naturally accompanies solitude provided me with a natural environment in which to rekindle my interest in meditation, which in turn led me to rediscover the true essence of who I was – a loving, wise and creative being.
Star 4: Expansion.
While experiencing large scale loss in my life felt as though life was shutting down around me, on closer inspection I found the opposite to be true. Instead of being closed down I found I was actually being opened to life in a new way.
Once I put down the negative baggage I was carrying in the way of thoughts about how my life should have been, the old saying, ‘as one door closes another opens’ became true for me.
Openness enables life to flow freely and suddenly I saw new opportunities all around me. Opportunities that I was now free to explore!
Star 5: Gratitude.
When you stop focusing on what you have lost, you notice instead what it is that you have gained.
For me, this was:
- Increased self awareness
- Freedom from restrictive thought processes
- The joys of new friends, new interests and new experiences
- The blessings of new insights
- The wisdom to begin creating my life as opposed to merely reacting to it
- Finding my voice and beginning to use it
Furthermore, the gift of the stars is not restricted to the dark times. The light we receive from them is something that we can carry with us always, through good and bad times.
Now isn’t that cause for celebration?
SO what is my life like now? Where there was once loss there is now abundance! I am by no means fully sorted, fully healed or fully enlightened and I am certainly no Guru.
However, my health is much improved, I no longer binge eat, I weigh a lot less, I exercise more consistently and my self esteem is vastly improved.
I am married to a wonderful man and together we continue daily to learn the art of loving well. I have a beautiful new home, lots of good friends, and I no longer work in a job that doesn’t fulfil me.
Now my ‘work’ involves following my passion to write and creating the kind of life I want to live – a life characterised by passion, creativity, expression and love.
What in your life is sparkling and twinkling and shining out for your attention? Please share below, thanks!
Jannietta is a poet who loves the power of words to heal and transform lives. After facing a series of major losses in her life she now embraces with joy the process of re-discovering her true self and celebrating the wonder of being alive.
She is the author of ‘Barefoot on Green Grass’, a collection of poetry that explores love, loss and relationship and Choose Life, a small booklet that celebrates everyday spirituality.
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