We often talk about our pain and tough times, our darkness, like it is a cave that we retreat into. But it dawned on me that maybe it isn’t a cave. Maybe like so many other things in our lives it is just our perception of it rather than the way it truly is. And man was this a big perspective shift for me recently. What if instead of that cave it was a tunnel? What if it was something you went through rather than into?
While I much prefer writing about things I have fully tested I was so fired up about this mental ju-jitsu I just played on myself I couldn’t wait to share. I cannot find a lot of holes to poke in this theory and it gave me a pretty big pause when it dawned on me. I tried to prove it wrong and I just couldn’t, it actually made infinitely more sense than my philosophy around pain, trauma and dark thoughts which is that they are a cave we enter into, sit down to deal and then walk out of.
So hear me out. Like I said this is not fully thought out and I have not put the time in to prove this right or wrong. But what if it wasn’t a cave, what if it was a tunnel, just a tunnel of the variety that is so long and deep you do not see the light from the other end immediately. Or maybe it is just unfinished and all it takes is a bit of hammering and the other side will open. What if it was less of something you went into and came back out of, but was much more of something that you went through and came out the other side. I find this theory covers so much more ground in my brain. When I take this to the areas of fear, happiness, trauma and sadness in my head it just fits so much cleaner. It just feels right. The cave philosophy while not wrong just never sat perfectly for me and didn’t make sense as it always felt like when you were coming out of the cave you would just be coming out in the same spot you started from, that just never clicked in my head.
When you truly think darkness, of the emotions that create enough inner turmoil that we have to make a choice, you are never the same after those events. Whether you were an active participant or not. You do not journey back to your original spot. You travel through. Do some people get stuck when it gets really dark? For sure, but for those that find faith, discipline and will to guide them, like finding a headlamp they eventually come out the other side. No one dealing with pain and trauma is trying to get back to the way things were, they do not want to go back to the original destination. They want to journey anew, to find new places, emotions and feelings.
This also sat so well with me for the fact that I have for a long time now talked about having to “go through” your shit. You truly have to deal with it and there is no way around it. I used to say that you had to sit in your darkness but as of late that has been less and less in my mind and I have realized while it is good to sit with it sometimes, just like in life I deal with my shit much better when I am moving. So why not walk with it, or better yet run through it. We can go through the tunnel headlong knowing full well there will be some goblins and ghouls in there but we don’t have to sit around the fire in the cave with them if we don’t want to. We can just keep going. We can decide on the time frame that we would like to deal with them in rather than dealing with our demons passively. For a long time I would sit in my darkness, really I was wallowing but now I realize I just walked into the tunnel and sat down for a bit when I could have kept walking, it may have been dark but I didn’t need to lose all of my momentum and I would have come through my shit a little bit faster and maybe with some mental cardio to help the next time things get tough.
So I don’t know if it helps create a different perspective for you but it definitely shifted some things in my brain. I love the idea of being in control of my feelings and this put a little bit of that control firmly back in my hands. Maybe it’s a little half baked but I am sure there will be time to suss it out. So expect more to come around this!