“Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.” August Wilson
Last night we began teaching the first week of our mindfulness programme for recovering addicts, on behalf of the wonderful local charity STAGES.
There was a lovely guy there who was literally on the first day of his journey to live an alcohol free life. He was seeking all the support he could, fiercely determined to succeed.
We regularly hear stories about bravery, passers-by intervening in muggings or rescuing a stranger from a fire, and these acts really do deserve commendation.
We mustn't forget however, that one of the most courageous acts we can perform is facing our fears. When we confront the demons inside we strip away everything we think we are, everything we pretend to be. We see the things we try to hide from everyone, including ourselves.
Eckhart Tolle says in The Power of Now, “Every addiction arises from an unconscious refusal to face and move through your own pain. Every addiction starts with pain and ends with pain. Whatever the substance you are addicted to — alcohol, food, legal or illegal drugs, or a person — you are using something or somebody to cover up your pain”.
To let go of coping strategies, crutches, we have put in place for evading difficulties, leaving ourselves open, exposed and vulnerable can feel like the most terrifying thing in the world. When you let go of what you’re not, you find out what you are, and self-awareness is the first step towards real self love and creating a meaningful existence.
Last night I may not have witnessed a crime or seen any burning buildings but I saw true courage and feel privileged to have done so.