The Path to Enlightenment: Dark Nights Lead to Beautiful Sunrises
Why is it that the darkest nights of our existence seem to surround the loss of a cherished loved one?
War is filled with unimaginable horror. Financial ruin is laced with despair. Famine. Homelessness. Our Human condition is rife with struggle and difficulty.
But take any of the above and replace it with the sudden departure of someone you love deeply - a partner, a child - and life becomes hopeless. Whether it's through death or indifference, each passing moment feels like an eternity where an endless dialog loops through your mind: Why? How could this happen? How do I move on?
Are we nothing without this connection? Heart to heart. Soul to soul… Amor vingit omnia. Love conquers all.
Love conquers. Love does not destroy.
My darkest nights began not when my body was broken by a car "accident" or when issues stemming from strained relationships with both my mother and my father seemed to choke me. I survived financial bankruptcy, multiple jobs and home relocations, and adjusted accordingly. No. The dark nights began when I "accidentally" discovered the love of my life might be gay.
I was in love. The kind of love that made angels fly and birds sing when he walked near. The kind that made my heart skip a beat and had me call a friend to declare, "I'm done looking!" after we first spoke. This was the man I wanted to settled down with, build a life and have children with. Just like Jerry McGuire declared, "He completed me." He made me laugh. He was sympathetic when I cried. And we told each other everything, or so I thought.
"M" and I met on the 07:39 train to Stamford, CT on the Metro North from Harlem in New York. Every weekday morning, we'd show up to ride in the same car, hoping to get seats, but often standing next to each other at the door. Once in Stamford, it was ritual to wait in line for our coffees at Dunkin Donuts in the Stamford station. My work days were much longer, so I began to look forward to the morning commutes whenever this ray of sunshine appeared on the platform. He vanished after a month of nothing more than eye contact and I kicked myself for not at least saying "Hello." Eventually, I began to forget about him, but the commutes felt empty.
Then one day, this Adonis reappeared, all smiles, and gave me an awkward "Hey" as he left the coffee line on his way to the office. The next morning, M asked me out to lunch but, because of my grueling schedule, the lunch date moved to drinks on Friday. Drinks turned into dinner. Dinner turned into a long weekend and the deal was sealed. We were both hooked, or so I thought.
Fast forward to Dublin, Ireland.
Due to M's Stamford boss being unable to extend a work visa to my Dutch boyfriend, and us not quite being ready for marriage, M took a sweet job with Google (Google!) and Google took him to Dublin. For the sake of Love and my desire to make the relationship work at all costs, I quit my executive assistant job in Connecticut and returned full-time to work with the airline, becoming a transatlantic commuter instead of one on a simple train, waiting for the day we would finally marry.
A few months in to our Dublin life, I flew in one morning and was greeted with nothing more than a sleepy hug. After breakfast at our favorite spot, M went to work and I went home to use the computer. Our bid requests were due at the airline and I often used his desktop computer rather than drag my laptop from New York. As I typed in "Jetnet.aa…" the Windows history automatically kicked in and the address line read "homo.nl/christian/brandon/..." You name it. On and on. Name after name. Line after line. Boy names. My breath absolutely left me.
"Well, that explains everything," I sighed, as my chest fell and my heart sank.
In hindsight, I could say that our troubles began long before Dublin, when we shifted from that honeymoon phase to one where M had a headache… or it was a "school" night… the big presentation the next day made him nervous… or he was just plain tired. Days without intimacy turned into weeks. And when there was intimacy, what once felt deeply connected became mechanical and emotionless. Once, at the suggestion he get checked out by a doctor, he was found to be fine.
"Do you like having sex?" I worked up the nerve to ask him one day, walking down West 86th St.
If you think you know where I'm going with this, you'd be right. I asked but there was still an excuse for everything and he assured me all would come to pass. But things didn't pass. Not in New York, and certainly not in Dublin. I questioned everything I ever knew about myself, about our relationship. The irony of it was that M was me, ten years earlier (there's another blog post for you) and I still had not seen the signs or ignored them altogether. What did this say about my own character and the ability to judge what was best for me? Did he plant this for me to see rather than break up with me? Was there something I could have done better or different? How could I have been so wrong?
sat on it stewed all day, waiting for him to come home from work in the evening when I confronted him. To say it ended badly and I was devastated is an understatement. I had never even told M that I loved him until that night. We'd never exchanged the words because he told me Love didn't need to be expressed in words. It should be shown in deeds and I believed him. I trusted him. Now, the possibility of Love seemed unobtainable and although he confessed he never acted upon his thoughts of homosexuality, he could be making the greatest mistake of his life by letting me go. We talked and talked about things we should have said months earlier with no resolution. Heartbroken and knowing it was a decision he could only make for himself, I went out into the night and walked the cold, rainy streets of Dublin for hours, unable to go home, unable to seek shelter and face the hundreds of revelers in the crowded pubs on Friday night. My phone rang and rang. It was M, worried, but I couldn't pick up. A homeless street punk hurled some choice bigoted words at me. I swerved and raised my fist to punch him, then shouted at him like I'd never shouted before, everything coming out of me at once. He cowered and apologized and still, I walked until I was empty of emotion. A cabbie stopped and offered to take me home to get me out of the weather. I felt like a drowned rat but I was frozen inside. Hours passed before I resigned myself to go back to the flat where I collapsed, unable to speak to my former lover. Two days later and with barely a word between us, I left.
That was the beginning of the dark period. I literally laid in the dark in (our) Harlem apartment for six days, crying my eyeballs out, listening to Chicane's 'No Ordinary Morning', telling no one of my shame before I had to put myself together well enough appear at work. Depression set in so when I returned to flying, I tried to work it out of me by putting in an obscene amount of hours. Periodically, I broke into fits of tears on the plane and locked myself in the lavatory. One crew member who noticed my behavior that was completely out of character was especially kind. (Thank you, DZ.) I kept telling myself I just needed some time off. I needed a break and then everything would be okay. Well, I'd broken my foot early in my relationship with M, and soon I broke it again. Two months off to think. While home, I picked up books I'd never had time to read and one altered my entire perception: 'Alchemy of the Spirit' by Kryon, as channeled by Lee Carroll. I felt as if Kryon spoke directly to me and knew me for who I was, and I began to feel hope and Love.
This time when I went back to work, I changed my habitual route from London to Paris because everything there reminded me of times I'd shared with M. I allowed myself to have fun again and met a
sort of okay French guy who took my mind off my life, but he frustrated me to no end and rather than break up with him to free myself, I slipped and shattered my wrist on ice. Four more months off work to think! Who was I to fathom old habits changed so easily? This time, between marathon episodes of 'Clean House' and 'What Not to Wear', I dove into all matters of consciousness, ended things with Pepe le Pew, and cleaned up my spiritual house.
I've since come to believe the truly lucky ones get to encounter the Dark Night of the Soul through Love. Love being the one true emotion to its opposite of Fear, it is Love we are afraid to lose. It is the lack of Love that makes us feel incomplete. It is Fear that has us believe we will never love again or that we are unworthy of Love and Love will never return. The Truth is, we are loved beyond measure from a place most of us can only dream of because it does not exist in concrete form. The higher realms of consciousness where your purest Self dwells wants you to know the relative insignificance of Love from another until you have absolutely, without a doubt learned the significance of loving your Self.
Do you love yourself? How many can honestly say that? Allow me to rephrase it. Do you love your Self? All of you. I'm not just talking about your hair or car, or your job and the great physical condition that you may be in. I'm asking about the pain, hurt, addictions and insecurity. To have a life sprinkled with the latter is a life lived, my friend. A life filled with great stories to tell… the kind where the trout becomes the whale of a fish you caught in the eye of the storm when the boat pitched to and fro, and you didn't have any help, so you reached over and grabbed that monster and pulled it on deck with your bare hands kind of story! And you survived.
Now this time, imagine yourself outside that same boat, pitching to and fro in this enormous perfect storm, only the fish that turned into the whale is a metaphor for your Self, flailing away and drowning in a sea of Fear and despair. Monsters of life swim around like sharks… that boy or girl you love lurks, ready to chomp your very heart to bits; your partner swims away without remorse; your child gets carried ever farther away by rip currents, never to be seen again. You struggle but you don't see the point. You want to swallow water and drown. And then, and THEN a magical light appears in the boat. It is your Highest Self calling out to you to catch the life ring it sends out to rescue you. Beautiful light surrounds this crystalline creature and you realize that is the light of pure Love. Suddenly, as you grab the ring and place it around you, you see that you are this pure, crystalline being, too. The ring is glowing pink from the energy of this Love and surrounds you with peace and the all-knowing that everything will be okay. As your Highest Self slowly reels you in to safety, the storm dissipates until there is nothing but calm sea and blue sky as He gently lifts you to safety aboard a magnificent cruise ship.
The two of you sit down at a table nearby and drinks of the cleanest, freshest water are set down before you. As you take in the water, you've never felt more comfortable with another Human and want to share all your previous troubles with your Highest Self, but He assures you he's heard it all before and winks. "Drink and be refreshed," He offers, and your cares dissolve with each sip. As if the water is infused with pure Love energy itself, you begin to see your life before you as your new friend smiles on. You see your journey, from birth through childhood struggles, high school trauma, family drama, and beyond. You have a window on that first, perfect love mate and the life you built for yourself based on what you knew to be true at the time. You may even note the life you once held was not your own, but that of what others around you dictated you should have based on their own experiences and expectations. And then you get to the part where all hope was ripped away from you and you found yourself struggling in that sea.
"Finish the glass," your Highest Self says lovingly, while gazing as if He can see into your very Soul.
As you tip the glass toward you, you notice it is no longer filled with the same water, but now contains the brightest, most colorful juice you've ever tasted. This is no ordinary juice. It is shining like the brightest rainbow and sparkles in the light radiating from you and your friend. And as you drink this time, you see a life filled with rich experiences, none of which would have been possible without having swam through that sea that existed before this moment. You understand that all the hurt, pain, and anguish; the FEAR were all always encircled by that same pink glow of Love, like the one in the life ring. You feel grateful that all that ever happened before brought you to this very moment, otherwise you may not have ever met this wonderful side of you that loves you beyond all measure. Knowingly, He nods and it is you who smiles in return.
"Let's order new drinks, shall we?"
The two of you sit for a while on the bow of that ship, cruising along a crystalline sea that appears as magical and divine as you and your own true Self chat until you integrate with one another. The life once lived served its purpose to bring you to the place where you found your Self, the one that loves you and wishes you to understand there is no reason to look for validation with Love from another. Love was within you all the time. Now you can lift your glass and toast to a new beginning.
I Am Love. I Am.
Free from the past, confident in your future, it is you who commands the ship now. Onward. Across the sea of Love and enlightenment.
I hope this helps.
A tout à l'heure….