Light after Darkness: Mindfulness for Transformation

By Flo Scialom

We just passed through the winter solstice; the shortest day of the year, and also the turning point at which our days start getting lighter. And we could all really use some more light. Life feels hard right now, and I – like pretty much everyone I know – am experiencing a strong mix of emotions. 

Recognising difficult emotions is one thing mindfulness has helped me to do. This involves being with the emotion; not pushing it away because I should be grateful for what I have, or because others have it worse. These things are always true, of course, but this truth is hard to feel until I have also taken the time to sit with the truth of the darkness; the sadness, the frustration, the uncertainty.

Then, somewhat magically, through mindfully allowing the pain to be there, a sense of gratitude and compassion can (not always, but often) more genuinely become present. I feel deeply how much I have to be thankful for, and I truly want to do all I can to help others suffering. 

This is a process that I’m still learning; it is not linear, and it is part of a journey I feel will be lifelong. One thing that has supported me in this process throughout this rollercoaster year is deepening my mindfulness practice. I have done training courses (on Active Hope, Spiritual Ecology and Mindful Self Compassion), read more books on mindfulness and social justice (for example, by Rhonda Magee and Sharon Salzburg), attended and guided regular mindfulness events (for example, for the Festival of Discovery and a small but regular mindfulness for mums group), and I’ve also written a chapter in a book, kindly put together by my good friend, Shamash Alidina. 

The book is called Mindfulness for Transformation: A Collection of Stories for Compassion, Courage and Community (available for free on Kindle for the next few days). Mine is Chapter 24 in the book, titled Transforming Shame into Acceptance through Mindful Community. It shares a very personal story, which I feel vulnerable putting out into the world. But I humbly hope that my sharing may help others in some small way; to know they are not alone in struggling, to know that darkness can give way to light.

What we all need to know in this time of isolation is that we are not alone.

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