I have found that in order to really obtain a new shift in insight, energy, understanding or feeling, it is necessary to go down. Down to that deepest layer or level within one’s psyche where one wouldn’t normally traverse and most of the time our ego wishes to avoid like the plaque.
Yet, it seems that to really facilitate a shift, descend we must. Sometimes, this involves yet another spiral down into depression. Into that complete loss of energy where all one is able to do is lie in bed or on the sofa, resting in the lack of energy while trusting that it will return. And we know it will, as we have been here many times before and know it always does. Furthermore, we have learned that consciously surrendering to the lethargy, loss of focus and motivation will enable this process to work its necessary healing potions on us more readily and with less resistance, pain and inner conflict.
We must be alone during this process. Therefore, it is best to communicate this need for solitude to our loved ones in advance so that they know to give you space, and feel assured that your withdrawal is nothing personal about them, yet utterly personal and necessary for you. Let them know you need time alone, you may not answer the phone or their messages, that you won’t be joining them for family or social obligations. And sometimes it is also necessary to take time out from work too.
In addition, often our dreams help us in this process by taking us to dark, unknown terrains and locations. Where we can hardly see, we don’t know the way and the environment is unfamiliar; alien even.
I have recently been through another cycle of descent over the past days and weeks. Taken into those sticky and unpleasant aspects of my character: my shadow; animus and unresolved pain once more. Taken out of action in the top-side, and through many dark corridors and lands at night. Through confusing dreams where I don’t know where I’m going; a beloved soul mate suffers a death for the second time, right in front of me, I find the keys only to loose them once more, I’m going down a spiral staircase, and I’m back in my childhood home once more and suffering.
Until, finally, the dreams change and I begin to glimpse hope and new life again: Banks of blossoming wild flowers as far as the eye can see; a baby, and beautiful music where I am dancing once more, all signs that I am reappearing and the shift is taking place. New energy, hope and joy once more begin to filter through as I blink, re-emerging into life.
Our ego hopes we can change without this messy unpleasantness, but alas, we cannot. We like to kid ourselves that we can change by talking about things, reading, maybe taking another workshop. But no. Spiral down we must once more. Down and in. Down and in. THAT is the only way and the only place where we really discover ourselves. Nothing on the top-side can take us as far and as deep.
Once we fully accept this truth then we are in a better position to manage our descents more consciously. We can stop being taken aback when our depression visits us again. We can let go into the lethargy and designate today as a “duvet-day”. We can give ourselves permission to accept that this may take days, weeks and sometimes, much, much longer… We can pay even closer attention to our dreams for we know, if we are very, very attentive they WILL show us the way back out, taking us by the hand and guiding us to where we truly need to go.
Where finally, we return, renewed, changed and ready to move through life in a new way, with new eyes and deeper knowing. We have been THERE and we have returned once again. This in itself instills a deeper sense of security and faith in ourselves, thus recharging our much-needed well-stock of self-belief and love.
Angela Dunning, 4th November 2018