Hope is being able to see the light despite all of the darkness

Quote from Desmond Tutu

The journey of life often brings uncertainty and darkness. One minute life is lit up like a joyful Christmas tree, the next an unexpected power cut plummets you into darkness.

Darkness can often be uncertain and you bump into things. I’d suggest anyone who finds themselves in the dark reaches for the light switch as soon as possible, call me the health and safety police but I’m not into bumping my head. If you are currently living in the shadows or grasp of darkness then you might think ‘easy for her to type’ and so I’d like you to know that darkness has knocked on my door, circumstances out of my control mean I’ve lived more of my nightmares than I’d care to mention and Ive also supported many young people in the most tragic of circumstances. However, this doesn’t make me a darkness expert; Ive learnt that each individuals darkness is unique to them.

My most recent darkness was my silent miscarriage, after a quick survey of the darkness I decided not to stay there. I reached for the light switch of hope. It’s not particularly stable and somedays it’s just out of my clutches, although I may not have much choice about the darkness I do have a choice about how I look at the dark.

It reminded me of a children’s book I enjoyed as a child and have shared with my son. ‘The owl who was afraid of the dark’ through the story the baby owl who fears the dark learns the joy of fireworks who’s beauty can’t be appreciated in full light. In my favourite chapter the owl learns to see and appreciate the stars. Then I remembered that if I looked outside of my initial darkness…the stars would light my way. Small beams of appreciation, hope allows me to see the light. Perhaps your dark past increases your empathy to others, a better listener or generally a kinder soul. 

At other times when I hear of other peoples darkness it makes mine seem more like i’ve got life on a dimmer switch. Of course, one persons tragedy doesn’t diminish somebody else’s feelings but I do think it sometimes gives situations a clearer perspective. 

Noted below are a few things that can make the light switch a little easier to find, most of them are free and I’m sure you’ve heard of them all before.

  • Keep a gratitude diary
  • Volunteer and help somebody else
  • pop on some music
  • go for a walk 
  • declutter a draw – my personal favourite it the cutlery draw, takes 2 minutes to wipe around yet every time I open the draw I feel like I’m winning
  • write down how you are feeling and then shred it or burn it. 
  • drink more water – we are after all complex plants with emotions
  • fake a smile – apparently the brain can tell the difference and the happy hormones will be released. 
  • Make a plan for tomorrow. This doesn’t need to be huge like a holiday (although they can be fun) 
  • try and get a good night sleep (I know this ones tricky)
  • practise self care: this doesn’t need to be a full facial and luxury bubble bath, just having a wash and brushing teeth is a good starting point 
  • Make your bed – this will require you to leave it 
  • remember that before you can step out of the tunnel, the light gradually increases with small bursts of light…so be kind to yourself. You’re doing the best you can.

If the darkness persists and you feel like you’re in the longest night of your life, make an appointment to see your GP or check out this link with helpful numbers and website for you to look at. Best wishes in finding a little more light. 

Take notice of what the light does – to everything

Quote by Tess Guinery

My Christian name is Lucy and it translates from Latin to mean ‘light’ , when I was a child I had a key ring that said something corny like “you light up the room with your spirit and bring joy to all those you meet” whilst I’m not sure everyone I’ve met would agree it’s certainly something I think about when I’m in the company of new people. I try to sparkle, but it’s human nature to sometimes stick the dimmer switch on.

For me light goes hand in hand with life. In my mind I see biology lessons on photosynthesis and and the joy of brighter evenings in spring. I think of hope. Light also reminds me of truth; shining a light on the darker mysteries life can bring.

However, we all need contrast. Even this ray of sunshine Lucy needs her moments of dark. Too much of anything isn’t great. Paintings fade and plants dry out. Skin burns, life withers… that’s why I love this quote, taking notice of what the light does can mean truth, hope and love but it can also fade and kill.

Perhaps this quote isn’t about light at all. Perhaps it’s about recognising balance; when too much of a good thing becomes toxic or when too less is just as traumatic.

Life is about walking the fine line of contrast and experiencing the emotions that the good and bad bring, the light and the dark , it’s about playing in the shadows and please don’t forget all the many pigments in between. Diversity is rich when it is accepted and not divided.

This week take notice of what makes you light up, what friends make you feel lighter and also when you need the sanctuary of the moonlight, perhaps by watching the various spectrum that life offers you may need to whack on some factor fifty around individuals that burn like the midday sun. Whatever you do notice, Tess is right – act on what it tells you and you may just see a rainbow.