“I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.” Hafiz of Shiraz
Some days the darkness was overwhelming. I felt like a dark cloud was my daily companion and no matter what I did, it would not leave my side. I looked at everyone else and longed to be like them. To me they seemed bathed in sunshine, a glorious light that was happiness and joy. I felt alone, an outcast that sought the warmth of others while at the same time believing all I spread to them was sadness. The face I painted on each day, the clean, perfectly ironed clothes, only sought to hold my lie more captive.
I was suffering.
The days, weeks and months after a birth that is difficult or traumatic can be cast in darkness. Each day can be a battle fighting demons that fill our head and seek to drive us to the brink of despair. I use to liken it to being in a bubble, everything was muffled by my experience, tainted and touched. The air around me felt suffocating, I longed to escape the thoughts in my head and the visions that visited me. Numbness often accompanied the darkness, a way to cope, to keep going. This meant moments lost, memories stolen, as merely existing became the aim.
During these times finding any moments of light can feel impossible. The darkness then becomes consuming and harder to break free from, becoming our ‘norm’.
However, even in the darkest of times there are moments of hope to be found. These moments can be fleeting, only seconds, small prisms that poke a hole through the clouds and with them they bring hope.
What are these moments of light?
These moments are individual to you. They are anything that lift the clouds no matter how momentary. It can be a smile, a kind word from a loved one or a stranger. They can be your little ones embrace or a gesture that touches your heart. It can be a chat with a friend, or a cup of tea and a moments peace. It can be a crisp autumn morning, the warm sun of a summers day or standing in awe as a sunset stains the sky.
It isn’t what your moment is, it is seeing them that counts.
You may need to search, in fact search deeply for your moments of light. On days that are overwhelming dark you may think that there are no moments, no light to break through.
Finding your moments of light is a deeply personal journey.
My hardest times have always been at night. After busy days that served in someway to distract, when calm and quiet descended at night my mind would turn on itself. All my worries and anxieties would plague me and cause me to dwell on how I was failing at everything. While darkness was outside, it was nothing compared to the darkness that filled my mind. I began to dread night falling, panic would often ensue. So I decided that each night I would try to let my mind instead find one thing that I could take from the day no matter how small, that was a light moment of light, and let it fill my thoughts. That moment be the thing I saw when I closed my eyes, and the thing that was my little achievement. Sometimes it was just surviving, just getting dressed or managing a meal. To me they were small victories, small moments that gave hope, that broke the seemingly impenetrable blackness.
Something then began to happen. It became easier to find my moments of light.
Instead of the belief that all there was surrounding me was darkness, I saw there was in fact light too. The more that I believed this, the more I sought out these moments and the more they shone brightly. As the light found me I also found belief in myself. I was doing better than I had given myself credit for. I was stronger than I dared to believe. While my experience had tainted my world I was starting to see beyond it. You can too!
There are many ways to seek and grasp on to your moments of light. Memory Jars are great to collect moments over a week, month or a year. Writing down these moments, putting them into a jar and then reading them back to yourself can be powerful and supportive. Another way is to have a journal, there are many available but ones that I really like are daily ones that encourage you to write something each day that has inspired, comforted, strengthened or been positive for you. Photography to me has been a way to capture my moments of light. Nature has so much to offer us and dwelling on the beauty it displays has been so healing to me. Capturing moments, a video of your little one laughing or your pet doing something funny can be replayed to give light on days when darkness prevails.
Finding your moments of light is a deeply personal journey. It can be emotionally strengthening to see that your darkest days do have moments of light. It will be hard at first to find them but do not give up. These moments are gifts that give and grow hope.
So grasp the moments, and hold on to them with all your might, and let them support you in your healing.