Monday, November 5, 2012

Darkness Into Light

What a week. Nature is a terrorist! I say that jokingly, yet what we have seen is a destruction that we cannot pin on a group or a sect. We cannot blame anyone in particular, and yet the rage that the devastation causes still seethes inside. What an opportunity to become empowered.

When I wrote back and forth with a friend who lives in New Jersey with two little children to protect, and she described the flooding of the first floor of her place, her grandmother's home being washed away, her parents' beach house ruined, and her brother's two cars gone, I expressed my sorrow for her loss.

I was hesitant to say this but just days before, on her birthday, I had said, "Oh, this is your year of transformation." She wrote, "If this is what you mean by transformation, I don't like it." My heart went out to her, and I wished I could make it better. Something came to me. I knew she was a workout queen, and though I didn't want to sound trite, I did frame it this way: "You know when you are at the gym and you are doing a really intense workout that you want to give up and quit, but you dig in and get stronger, and day by day, your body literally transforms?... This is like a spiritual workout."

And so it goes. I myself have been through the mill. I was in NYC during the 9-11 attacks, while simultaneously my father was going through chemo therapy and dying. This was timed perfectly with my first big break up, getting fired, my finances plummeting and my back going out. This had me flat on my back for weeks on end. It seemed that everything I considered my foundation and stability was rocked. I was flattened. At the time, I called it a clean sweep. What else could it be? With all of these areas of my life targeted at once, it could only be a force of nature at play.

Thank goodness I had all those years of fitness under my belt. The strength and habits that I had developed by consistent effort translated directly to my emotional, spiritual and physical pain. I realized at that time, the workouts I had been doing were not merely for the toned tush I was sporting, but modeled for me my personal process when faced with difficulties.

I learned myself very well during that dark time. I learned not to be afraid of my own darkness. I went inward to face myself. (One night I was literally dragging myself to the bathroom, sweating in excruciating pain with nobody to help me, and a rat ran across the floor.)

As the nights get longer and we have more nocturnal moments in the literal darkness, take a deep breath. Take a few. Here you are. You are not alone. At the very least, a rat is crawling right beside you. This life is indeed a mystery, and you never know when you will be able to bear the fruits of your labors and utilize your skills.


  1. Thank you, Mandy. I'm copying that last paragraph and putting it on my computer.


  2. This is just what I needed today! Thank you so much!

  3. I needed to hear something like this for a very long time! thank you!

  4. Thank you, Mandy, for your blunt honesty.