The light is strengthened as we face and integrate what is found in the dark. Therefore…
We need more ‘Dark Workers’ in 2024. Meaning:
More people actively working with uncovering, healing, and integrating the deep, dark, sludge that is keeping us from being in our real light. Hope, love, and light are nice, but they are NOT ENOUGH to pull us out of the intense chaos that abounds.
Being a ‘dark-worker’ means being able to look at and feel the horror of our own lives (past, present) as well as what is around us, but not to the point of being so trapped in it that we feel defeated with zero hope.
I think a lot of us turn away from the horrific stuff because to really look at it might lead us to feel what we aren’t facing in our own lives (and bodies) that is unresolved, looming, terrible, horrific … (enter functional freeze)
Then, the flipside:
I sense a lot of us ONLY turn to the horrors in the world, get activated about them, quickly choose sides, and then shout at others to do more about them because it keeps us from not facing our own lives (and bodies) and all that is unresolved, looming, and horrific… (enter sympathetic fight energy).
While there is nuance in dancing with this stuff, it is actually simple when we go to the roots of our nervous system physiology and heal at that level.
As bold as this may seem, I do believe that ALL problems in the world stem from unresolved survival stress. Peter Levine once said:
“True human enlightenment will only happen when each and every single person on the planet has learned how to regulate their very own nervous system.”
We can divide the various horrors and abuses of the world into categories and label them with different terms that help some of us feel like we are being recognized because of the diversity of our past traumas, but, at the end of the day:
The body’s cells are either ruled predominantly by unresolved stress physiology and unsafety (trauma), or by regulation and safety (healing and homeostasis).
Trauma is in the nervous system and the entire physiology, and those cells, guts, neurons and blood are ALL THE SAME, no matter our background.
Said more bluntly: the little kid down the street who is being abused (terrorized, beaten, raped) by their parent has the same stress chemicals and fear at the blood level, the same tension patterns at the visceral and tissue level, as a dog being tortured by its owner, as the person in a war torn country being held against their will seeing violent crimes all around them, and as the infant in the nice suburban home who is left to cry itself to sleep, its primal needs for connection and co-regulation unmet.
Let’s make this year (and beyond) about facing the tough (dark) stuff so we can all live in more goodness in the future.
While I don’t love the concept of “quick tips” here are some entry level ideas on how to start working with the dark stuff:
1 – Build capacity in yourself. I did a video on this here.
2 – Learn to trust your biological impulses by following your biological impulses. I did a video on this here.
As you start to work with 1 & 2, you might:
3 – Start to notice when anger, frustration, sensations and feelings of toxic shame, disgust, start to arise.
(HINT: This is a strong sign that you are on the right path to becoming a “dark worker” and navigating the sludge that might be hiding internally as what we’d call, stored survival stress (aka: stored up trauma).
And then of course, we don’t want to stay trapped in the dark sludge for too long because the oxygen levels aren’t so great that far down in the abyss:
4 – Balance out this dark work with the “light” (your positive, resources, daily doses of gratitude, healthy lifestyle routines that bring in wholesome nourishment and movement). I did a Drop-In Online Class on this here.