We all have our moments of darkness, some come and go much like the sun and moon, others seem much heavier and forever shape us.
I have had my share of darkness and have also had the honour of supporting teenagers as they face trauma and often actions out of their power. I’m no expert but I have learnt a few things that’s I’d like to share – the first is simple. No two dark nights are the same. Just because you are grieving or have experienced death doesn’t mean you know how someone else feels, sure you can empathise and much like this blog tries to do, you can share your ideas and positive sparkles but ultimately everybody feels and reactions are individual.
That’s the good bit, that’s what makes us unique. If you are currently facing a dark time, I urge you to reach for the light switch. It’s often just out of grasp but you can ask for support, loved ones or perhaps your GP this link is full of amazing experts and advice, it’s literally and A-Z of services.
I’d also urge you to see the light in the darkness, much like one of my favourite children’s books ‘The owl who was afraid of the dark’ there is always a positive to see from a negative experience – in the children’s books the owl learns that fireworks truly shine at night, that the stars can’t be seen by day…often our own joys or darkness are us becoming more empathetic to others, better listeners or perhaps have experience in a specific type of darkness.
However, I have seen and felt myself how impossible the long nights can be an I urge you all to create a tool box of light. *no batteries needed – these are a few of the things that I’ve felt have helped me and others around me. You can create your box to suit you. Loved ones to talk to
Talking to loved ones
Drinking more water – it sounds simple, but us humans are just complicated plants
Go for a walk
Make your bed when you wake
Help others or volunteer your time
Make plans, these can be small to begin with and within your comfort zone
Self care: this doesn’t need to be candle lit meals but can again start with brushing your teeth and having a shower.
Look at positive content online
Clean and declutter: my favourite is the cutlery draw as it only takes a minute to wipe it over but every-time you open it you feel a sense of achievement
Take it slow – life isn’t a race
I hope as you read this you can’t feel any shadows, I hope your life is lit up like a Christmas tree… but I promise that finding light in the darkest of time’s can be rewarding, just nobody said it would be easy.
Multitasking Mummy is currently in my sons piano lesson. Whilst I wait for him to find the middle C and test the patience of his teacher I had a thought. As someone with no musical talent – I feel super inspired to see a teacher pour out passion. He is a classical pianist and as a teacher I’m enjoying watching the sun in him shine.
When my son was first born, we as parents were his entire sun, moon and everything in between. As he learnt to talk, walk and move away he looked for his own light. As parents I see one of my priorities (beyond keeping him healthy and safe) to give him as many opportunities as possible. What he decides to do with these is entirely up to him.
I think allowing him to be himself and not projecting my sun light on him is hard. Motherhood gave me permission to be his spokes person, to voice what was best when he couldn’t speak. As he grows I need to learn when to speak and when to step back, allowing him to grow in his own truth.
However, despite its difficulties seeing him light up and finding his own sunlight is the largest reward. For myself I know where my inner light shines; good food, cuddles, yoga, beach walks and house plants are just a few. Writing also activates my internal light.
Make some time this week to shut out the world – the bright lights from everybody else’s joys and the chaos of sirens can often lead us down false pathways, to step inside yourself (although not literally as that would be really messy) and ponder the sunbeams that you hold inside, sometimes they are long forgotten activities – like sitting on a swing or colouring, you may be surprised in what you relearn about yourself, but I promise if you make time to chase the sun inside yourself, the outside world will glow with joy.
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.
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.
Our diary is always a whirlwind of dates, appointments and activity and there is a huge transition that is dominating the pages in September, you start school.
From the moment you were born and placed in my arms you have been transitioning, it has been a blessing to watch. I cannot underestimate this, many parents are worried for the loss of their babies, the independence of going to school can be concerning and I often hear comments like ‘It feels like only yesterday she was born’ or ‘He isn’t ready for school’ for you im excited to see your world grow and skills expand. I’m extremely at home in the school environment as Mummy is a teacher and this feels a blessing and a curse – I know the highs and lows like the back of my hand.
At four years old your humour is a magnet greater than any computer could create. Just this very evening we laid on your bed and you played me twinkle twinkle on your harmonica – it sounded dreadful, but your laughter was infectious as you broke out into a variation of the song which began twinkle, twinkle chocolate bar…” this is a gift that it precious, don’t let other children’s comments curve your humour.
At the moment you wear a combination of clothes and then you usually like to add an accessory or twenty from various Marvel characters, following fashion is fine but I’ll always support your creative flair and imagination.
I think you’ll like the staff and you already have many friends to play with in your class. You’ll have opportunities that I could never give you to socialise and learn, I really want you to grow in your own way, not with my regrets or desires forced upon you. To make this easier I’m going to make a few promises…
I promise not to make you do a extra curricular club because I did it, or Daddy did it…you can pick
I promise that as you learn to read, I will still read to you as long as you want
I promise to listen to you talk about your day, rather than hurl questions at you as I walk through the door
I promise you that as you grow older and forget things I will never drop a PE kit / lunch box to you, save your phone credit. Resilience and organisation are self taught by error.
I promise not to show my anxiety over your first few weeks at school.
I promise to help you in any way I can to fulfill your potential, but your happiness is paramount.
I promise to back you up when issues arise. As long as you are always honest with me.
I work full time and will rarely be at the gates, but if you need me I will always be there. I will also be there any time I can, when our school diaries don’t synchronise.
When you are older, we will look back at this September as a small step on a wonderful and exciting journey that you are taking. It’s not always a parents duty to be next to you, but I will always be a shadow.
Love you to the moon,
P.s. Good luck to the staff trying to get you to sit still and hold a pen.