This image zapped me yesterday and at first I didn’t want to look at it, or even acknowledge it. I much prefer to live in light than in darkness. Paradoxically, my work as a therapist over the past 3 decades has been with people who sit in shadow, cast out by those who were supposed to protect and nurture them. As I witnessed their pain, I would move to shine a torch, candle, flashlight…. whatever I had, so as to pull them out of it. I would sometimes metaphorically speaking, climb in with them. Not only would I do that with clients, but with friends and family members. That’s when it got tricky. The expectation (mine and theirs) was that I find ways to fix what was going on for them or find answers to their personal puzzles.
And then there were times when someone with whom I was in a romantic relationship, would foist their own box on me, as if somehow by accepting it, would prove that I loved them; a loyalty test. Those were the most challenging.
All the time, every day, these realizations come to me. Sometimes the box full of darkness was theirs’ that they ‘shared with me’ because they couldn’t carry it themselves and sometimes I willingly took it on. These days, I am open to help someone open their box and sort through it, without cleaning it up FOR them. Even more than that, I have come to acknowledge, that I too have a darkness box that contains age old fears, misperceptions and like Pandora’s Box, I kept the lid slammed and nailed down so the emotional demons wouldn’t escape. These days, I have asked them (and thus far they have complied) to peek out and not knock me over in an effort to get out. Looking at the picture above, I also notice that behind the lock is a glow that really IS the gift contained within. Each one of my gremlins is indeed a teacher. That is the key that will break the chains.