The darkest corners of our psyches are not inviting. Those crevices where we've stuffed all our secret feelings of worthlessness, shame, fear, anger...mostly we'd like that stuff to fade into the distance so we never have to encounter the pain of it again. But the truth is, all that dark material still belongs to us and resides in and between our cells and our neurons. We cannot get rid of what happened in the past. When pain has been exiled and turned away from, it never gets to see the light of day, never gets an update (good news: the past is over!) and never gets the care it has been aching and longing for.
How in God's name do we find the courage to turn toward those dark corners and begin to reach into the dreaded crevices?
I've found that in order to do this work for myself, a few things have had to be in place:
I've needed a guide who has more confidence in my salvagability than me.
I've needed information that supports the idea that at the root, all my pain is innocent.
I've needed time to focus inward.
I had to be tired of feeling so much pain and ready to change.
I continue to find that when I reach into the darkness inside of me, it is still painful and sometimes quite blinding and disorienting. Sometimes when I'm in there, I feel lost to it, swept up in those awful old feelings and beliefs. But I'm learning through many reps and most of all with a commitment to be devoted to befriending myself with interest - that the shame and the worthlessness I find inside are in fact ultimately innocent and deserving of care. With a great deal of attention and kindness, my pain can belong to me again, no longer exiled, but known, understood and well tended to inside of me. I can have all those formerly exiled parts alive, safe, relocated and included in the greater landscape of me. And I can be healthy, present and open-hearted even though I experienced all of that pain.
I hope you find my words encouraging. If this work speaks to you, I recommend finding a guide. You are not alone on this journey. In fact - every single one of us is harboring dark crevices of pain, but only some of us choose to get to know ourselves intimately. It does take a great deal of courage. And it's worth it.
Written by Jessica Sorci, LMFT PMH-C