Friday, July 14, 2017

The Glass Jar

As I continue along this Dark-Night-of-the-Soul/Twin Flame journey of self-discovery, self-awareness, or whatever it is, I recently had an epiphany. Or maybe it was just an idea. 

The articles I’ve read and online support groups I follow regarding DNotS/TF journeys all suggest one thing; as difficult and painful this journey through the Darkness is, it will end. And there are moments of Light while on the journey. "We can’t appreciate the stars without the darkness.” That’s true. The stars are out during the day, we just can’t see them until darkness falls. After all, there's too much sunlight during the daytime.

I once attended a community event at the Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles, where amateur astronomers had set up their telescopes. Many were focused on where the moon would soon be rising, but one gentleman had his telescope pointed in an entirely different direction. He asked me if I wanted to see Saturn. Now this was late in a summer afternoon, approximately 4:30, so the sky was still quite blue. Sure enough, I was able to see Saturn-rings and all-through the telescope in a bright afternoon sky. We just don’t think of the stars and planets being out there during the day, but they are. We can't appreciate them until we can see them. For ourselves. We just trust they're there.

So, I should appreciate those moments of light I do see while surrounded by the Darkness. Or, conversely, I should appreciate the Darkness, because it reminds me the light is always there, even if it is temporarily obscured. Maybe both points are equally valid.

Many comments on these articles and groups suggest the readers and members are afraid of the Dark Night. Yet, a few commenters reply that without the night we will never truly find our Authentic Self. We must go through the Dark to find the Light. “It’s always darkest before the dawn"; "Every night has its day", etc.

So, I will get through this and emerge on the other side. And all will be better.

I recently had a down day. I have been learning to trust that the Universe will assist me in securing what I need for my greater good. Plus, I’ve been learning to surrender to the what is. And I felt I was in great place in my trust and surrendering. I've been trying to remain positive regarding a complicated situation, hoping it would work out for my greater good. After all, I had seen many, many signs and synchronicities supporting my hopes and beliefs. Then, I came across something that brought me down; and, all of a sudden I was filled with doubt. Darkness filled me once again. But, I was able to catch myself before I sank into a full-blown depression again. I simply allowed myself to be down without attaching to it. I was able to acknowledge where I was, what I was feeling/experiencing. This incident simply reminded me that I am human. I may try to live trusting that everything will work out for the best, even if the “best” isn’t what I perceive it to be for me. My marriage failed, and I’ve come to realize it has been the best thing for me. So, it did work out for the best, even if I didn’t think so at that time. But, I also have to face the fact that I am human and am subject to those pesky, but necessary, emotions. And they will be with me forever.

So, I have decided to embrace this Dark Night stuff.

Many psychologists speak of our Darkness, our “shadow self”-that part of us that we don’t like to acknowledge; our deepest fears and those ‘negative, undesirable’ traits and we all possess. These are the subconscious traits that can lead us into trouble. Someone who has been cheated on a few times might project that onto any future relationship. Someone who has been the victim of abuse might project a feeling of unworthiness onto themselves. In order for us to heal and make better, healthier decisions, we need to honor our own Darkness, or shadow selves.

I don’t necessarily mean just honor it and know that it’s there. No. I mean embrace it, and maybe address it in a way that it is somewhat controlled, but not invisible.

I’m going to put my Darkness in a little glass jar somewhere in my mind. I’m going to set that jar on a shelf and let it be. I may take it down, look at it, and return it to it’s place on the shelf. Because if I hide the jar in a closet, or drawer, I might forget it is there and get a shock when it springs out unexpectedly. If, however, it is in a glass jar and visible, I can still see it, observe it and know it’s ever present. And I can keep my eye on it. 

If I put it in a can or a box, I might forget what is inside and just ignore it, likewise forgetting what is in there. But a glass jar is transparent, I can see the Darkness in the jar. (I’m kind of picturing it as a misty blue fog. I don’t know where that image came from, but it works for me.)

While making a mental image of the jar and storing it on a mental image of a shelf in a corner of my mind is indeed an acknowledgement of my Darkness, it's still a bit abstract.

But, what if it weren't abstract? What if it truly existed? What if it were actually on a shelf in my house? What if I wrote down those Dark qualities I'm working on and how I turned them around? 

For example, I recently stood in line behind an elderly couple in a casual ethnic restaurant. It became apparent they had never been in before and had lots of questions regarding the food. And being elederly, they had health concerns: cholesterol, sodium, foods they can't or shouldn't eat. I'm hungry, I want to order, they're indecisive. I'm impatient. I have two choices here: 1) allow the impatience to build, then frustration sets in, and my mood alters and I get upset thereby having a worse afternoon; or 2) recognize they are in a new place and allow them their time to make the choice appropriate for them. They are elderly, I'm on my way there, and I can give them the respect they deserve at this time in their lives. I chose to accept the situation as it is; after all, I can't change it. Why allow something to affect me that I have no control over?

If my jar were set up, I then could go home and write down a brief note for my jar: "Today I chose patience over impatience when I was in the restaurant behind the indecisive elderly couple. I had no control over their actions, but only of my reaction to the situation." Or something like that.

I'd just have to keep up on it.

And learn to recognize when the Darkness is creeping in on me and how to turn it around in the moment.

This could prove very empowering.

Or, at the very least, enlightening.


  1. I just stumbled upon your blog. I don't know how I did it, but it happened! I wrote a comment and poof, it disappeared. I find that I sometimes have trouble writing comments on blogspot blogs when I use my wordpress account. I read your first posts in 2009, but I must go to sleep as my eyes are getting heavy. I live on the east coast and I am one to go to bed pretty early. I plan on visiting your blog when I have more time tomorrow to read your more recent postings.

    1. Thank you, mcpersonalspace54, for reading and leaving a comment. I greatly appreciate the time you took for both. I hope you have a good night's sleep and awake refreshed. Sometimes a stumble is a stumble and sometimes it was something meant to happen. Either way, thank you again. I hope something here resonates with you. Blessings, Jeff

  2. Jeff, I revisited your blog and have read all of your postings from this year. I am a teacher myself, and I teach gifted students in grades 6 and 7. I could retire, but I cannot just yet due to going through a nasty divorce with financial constraints being placed upon me. I like the way you write as it gets me to think, and I like to think! Your post about retirement resonated with me, especially the part about how students and parents have changed over the course of your career. I have noticed the same thing.
    Thanks for responding to my comment,

    PS: I started my blog years ago as a method of therapy. Writing things down helps.

    1. Michael, thank you again for reading and taking the time to comment. As always, I appreciate it and I do my best to interact with my readers. Sometimes time gets in the way. I also taught gifted students in grades 3-6 during my career. I could have waited a few more years to retire with a better pension, but to the detriment of my sanity and health.
      I am sorry to hear of your divorce. I, too, am divorced which placed financial constraints on me. I survived those and am now in a better place. I agree, writing things down does help and serves as a great method of therapy. There are a few posts further back (around 2010) that relate to my divorce and subsequent journey from that point.
      Blessings, Jeff

  3. Jeff,
    Thanks for directing me to the posts about your divorce. You went through some pretty tough times, but it seems like you have come through to the "other side" okay. Divorce is like a death really. It is hard to explain. Thanks for sharing your story. It is always good to know that we aren't alone out there.

    1. Michael,
      Thank you once more for your comment and for reading. I do feel I am on the other side and doing well. Yes, divorce is like a death, and our perception of how to manage such changes affects our journey through it all. It's been my pleasure sharing my story and now that it is entering a new chapter, I plan on continuing to share.

      Once again, your comments are greatly appreciated.

  4. I am glad that you will continue to share your story. Again, I am glad I found your blog. I am reading your comment after returning from a yoga namaste.

    1. Michael, I'm glad you found it too. There is a reason for it.