If You Numb the Darkness, You Numb the Light



“If you numb the darkness, you numb the light.” ~ Brene Brown, Daring Greatly

Can Your Hear Me?

Lately, I sometimes feel much like the character, Major Tom, in David Bowie’s song, Space Oddity. I am floating in my tin can, high above the world, observing, taking notes, compiling questions. My air supply is finite and dwindling; ground control’s lost contact.

I am all alone and there’s nothing I can do. I watch my demise unfolding, powerless to change a god damn thing.

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

Of course, this is not a true measure of the state of things. I am not drifting like a leaf, unable to save my own life.

I have options. Lots of them.

We all have agency in this world. What we focus on — incessantly, fervently — brings molecule by molecule together to shape reality. We vote with our focus and our thoughts. We vote with our obsessions and compulsions and vulnerabilities. We vote with our beliefs and our hearts and our minds.

We aren’t less vulnerable if we isolate ourselves, far from the so-called ‘madding crowd.’

We aren’t stronger if we live in a bubble of our own making.

We think we are. But it ain’t true.

In Living Color

We’re simply allowing our days to pass without the vibrancy and color they might otherwise contain if we waded into the water and felt the stones slipping under our feet, or if we looked up at the swirl of clouds above us and heard the clatter of birdsong ringing out all around us.

We’re living in muted tones instead of living in color.

I think that’s what Brown means (in the above mentioned quote) when she cautions that, “numbing the darkness” will “numb the light.” We are creatures of contrast. We are creatures who need community, solace, contact, love.

And to fully enter life and community, we must be willing to be vulnerable to loss, fractures, shame and, even bitter-sweetness.

Be Here Now

Otherwise, we miss the jarring, brightness of the journey. We miss the joy. We trade the sting of life, for the dull blade of complacency.

Becoming Willing

So, I must become willing — every single day — to head out into the world and let myself be seen.

I can carry my armor, but I cannot avoid the fray. I can ‘trust but verify,’ but still allow myself to be visible to those I need to meet.

I can wear my heart on my sleeve, vulnerable to whatever gifts, experiences, travails, and challenges life sends.

It is part of this thing called earth school. We are beaten soft by life. We are bruised and rubbed raw.

Like the skin horse in the Margery Williams children’s story, The Velveteen Rabbit, every day, we become real.

Real. The genuine article. The whole shebang. The cosmic sandwich.

Every day.

Love Your Dark; Embrace Your Light

See, we can’t outrun darkness; we can’t hide our light.

We’re here: carbon, constellations, pools, caves. Trees, leaves, worms, grout. Rust, polish, stillness, waves.

We’re here for the whole ride.  Not just the ‘nice parts.’

So, I am strapping on my big girl boots and pulling up my big girl pants, and I am marching into the fray. I plan to walk the El Camino de Santiago while I still can. I will head to Kenya to meet the elephants, one way or another. I will drink wine and watch the stars drop into the ocean. I will write books and send my words out into the world.

It’s not that I am not afraid.  I am.

It’s just that I am unwilling to stay small in order to stay safe.

We’re here to wear wings and jump in mud puddles and kiss strangers and get fucked up. We’re here to love and ache.

There’s no safety in a real life. Only risk.

Only everything.

Only that.

© 2015  Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved

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