A Lighter Side Of Darkness

by Aileen

“I give her sadness, and the gift of pain, the new moon madness and the love of rain.”
– Dorothy Parker’s poem Godmother

The reason I love this quote as well as the entire poem is, it reminds me that there is a gift inside of the painful experiences we feel. That gift is often not felt until the pain leaves and we breathe in the quiet stillness of inner peace.

Yes I love happiness and inspiration and I do my best to avoid pain, but there was a time I embraced the darker side of life. I felt that pain gave me depth. I loved Greek Tragedy and believed that it was the only way to catharsis. I loved the poetry of Edgar Allen Poe, Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath. I’m not sure if it was more shocking to me or my family when I began to embrace laughter, silliness, play, and lightness of being. Over the last decade or more, I have spent little time pondering the value of pain.

In the eyes of a heart broken friend of mine, I see the beauty that pain leaves behind when it’s gone. Once we let it leave, and when we no longer hold on to the grieving. A new beauty appears as we experience our own rebirth and return to life. I watch her as she contemplates the profound beauty of happiness.

Once we know the depths of the darkness we can appreciate the depths of joy and happiness.

My sadness lead me to a deeper sense of inner peace and my love of rain has given me a unique sense of joy. There is a serenity that is birthed when the pain leaves, a serenity that may never have been known before.

I do say this with caution, as I do not wish pain for anyone. However, when life breaks your heart and you find yourself wanting out of your agony, perhaps you’ll find a grain of soul’s love amidst your tears and you will find a moment of peace and an ounce of a blessing.

Photo credit flickr ellenm1

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Jean Sarauer June 11, 2010

There really is a beauty and depth of character that comes from living in one of life’s valleys for awhile. I tend to be a happy person by nature, but it’s the hard times that have given me compassion for others and a deeper gratitude for my day-to-day life.

As you pointed out, there’s definitely a deeper appreciation for happiness when that hurt finally leaves.
Jean Sarauer´s last [type] ..Empire Building 101 Series: Growing a Prosperous Community

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Aileen June 15, 2010

…yes “a deeper gratitude for my day-to-day life” so very true

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Angela Artemis June 11, 2010

Aileen,
I love the photo/painting at the top of the post. One of my favorite artists (of course now I cannot remember the name) used to do many paintings of rainy wet streets. I feel they have so much more depth as if you can jump into them like Mary Poppins did with the colored chalk drawings on the sidewalk.

I totally agree with you. We do have to experience the dark night of the soul in order to rise again like the sun on a new day with our faith restored. And, again you’re so right – we need these experiences to learn from in order for our soul’s to evolve.

Thank you so much for this excellent post!
Angela Artemis´s last [type] ..Angela Artemis Interviewed by Hulbert Lee of From Bottom Up

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Aileen June 15, 2010

oh if you think of the name of the artist let me know :) we don’t have a lot of rain in California and I love the image of rainy city streets – the water gives it a shine. There is a song in the musical, Les Miserables with the lyric
“In the rain, the pavement shines like silver.”

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Katie June 11, 2010

Aileen, this is a lovely post and it brought tears to my eyes. A friend of mine who recently suffered the terrible loss of a child might find some peace from reading this. I shall pass it along to her. It reminds me of a peaceful breeze. Have a lovely weekend and thank you for everything this week and last, and likely next.
Katie´s last [type] ..Taking Stock and Letting Go: Week 4 of the 7-Week Life Cleanse

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Aileen June 15, 2010

I am sorry to hear about your friend’s loss. The loss of a child has got to be the most painful experience. I sincerely hope she finds peace

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Karen Daniels June 12, 2010

Aileen, I hadn’t really thought about it before but you’re so right – pain does leave a depth that has a beauty. It brings to mind that two friends can’t really know the true depth of their friendship unless they have been through pain together – or helped each other through pain. Inspiring post. Thanks.

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Aileen June 15, 2010

Thank you for visiting Karen!
What you say about friendship is very true, thank you for that.

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Clearly Composed June 12, 2010

I would not trade one moment of the pain…what if the price was the joy and bliss that balanced it? Nah…I want it all, and in abundance! :)
Clearly Composed´s last [type] ..~ Lessons Learned From The Real Housewives of New York City

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Aileen June 15, 2010

That is beautiful!

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Manal June 13, 2010

Aileen,
True wisdom my friend. There is stillness in pain. times of loss and adversity give us, not only strength but a peaceful surrender to life. From this we emerge stronger, wiser and more appreciative of the brighter side.

Truly a heart felt article.
Manal´s last [type] ..The Art of Slow

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Aileen June 15, 2010

Thank you for your comment Manal! yes it does give “a peaceful surrender to life”

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Lauren June 14, 2010

Dear Aileen,

First, I simply LOVE the photo. Awesome.

The topic – powerful! Our minds must be on the same wave length at the moment. A subject I’ve recently touched upon as well.

I feel it’s about balance. It’s not realistic to think we’ll never go through a “dark night of the soul”. There is the opportunity for deepening if we’re willing to embrace it. Then, as you say, there’s a new beginning, a rebirth.

Like you, I have so few of these times in my life anymore and that’s great too. Yet, I get that sorrow and joy walk hand in hand as the ebb and flow of life itself.

Thanks for addressing this so well.

Warm regards,
Lauren
Lauren´s last [type] ..The Truth Of A Lie – Part 2

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Aileen June 15, 2010

HI Lauren, I just read you post, “The Happy Face Syndrome: Are You Caught In The Trap?” we are on the same wave length right now. You said, “Our culture has never been big on allowing grief” oh that is true and what’s person to do when they are in it while the rest of life keeps moving at it’s pace – yes the one in grief tends to feel lost. I loved that post you wrote!

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Chania Girl June 15, 2010

My favorite line in this post came very early: there is a gift inside the painful experiences we feel.

I think sometimes, in this world of positive psychology and the happiness movement, that we forget the necessity of so many of life’s other experiences and emotions. But it is my belief that “there is a time and a purpose” to everything; everything in its time.

What you say, you say so well. Sometimes we must peel back the layers of pain to find the beauty wrapped inside. Perhaps sometimes this makes the gift all the more special.

A beautiful post with some ideas that truly needed to be shared. I love the quote, too, by the way. Lovely, Aileen.
Chania Girl´s last [type] ..Welcome to My World

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Aileen June 15, 2010

Thank you Carla!!!

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Mark June 15, 2010

We die many deaths and experience as many re-births. It is in the re-birth that we recognize the beauty of our death and the meaning of that part of our journey. Though we may die a thousand deaths there is no reason to suffer, for suffering is simply the holding on to the life that must be let go of. Great post!
Mark´s last [type] ..The Aperture of Our Soul

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Aileen June 21, 2010

Thank you for adding this Mark. The re-birth is the sweetness and yes – “Though we may die a thou­sand deaths there is no rea­son to suf­fer, for suf­fer­ing is sim­ply the hold­ing on to the life that must be let go of” so very true

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LOUISE June 18, 2010

I just read A LIGHTER SIDE OF DARKNESS – in loving and losing, “a time to live and a time to die” we grow and learn to appreciate life’s offerings and reach out to others – your post and picture is truly beautiful and gives a glimpse of your beautiful soul Aileen. Thank you so much for your insight and sharing.

I was impressed with Mark’s post and about to visit his site.

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Aileen June 21, 2010

Thank you for your visit & your comment. Yes Mark’s comment was very thought provoking I believe you will really enjoy his site.

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ashok July 7, 2010

It’s interesting you bring up Dickinson because I do think Dickinson’s poetry is about continual improvement through the pain we receive. She’s always testing how far she can see, it seems. Her poems that seem to be “breakup” type poems, or “why isn’t he hitting on me” sorts, almost always become metaphors for the condition of the soul or mind generally.

I’m still trying to figure out, for Dickinson, how she embraces joy. I suspect that I can learn more at the moment by just watching others and their embrace of happiness, in that regard.
ashok´s last [type] ..Emily Dickinson- “It is an honorable Thought” 946

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Aileen July 8, 2010

Thank you for visiting Ashok. Dickinson poetry is dark and she ‘celebrates pain’ I feel that, that was her way of feeling deeply which gave her a sense of comfort and she enjoyed exploring those depths. Perhaps it gave her a pride, a satisfaction a pleasure and perhaps lighter more jovial aspects of happiness were perceived as shallow and fulfilling.

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ashok July 8, 2010

I’ll definitely think more about Dickinson’s pride – that definitely shows up as an issue in several of her poems. Thanks!
ashok´s last [type] ..Emily Dickinson, “It is an honorable Thought” (946)

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ashok July 11, 2010

Also: re – Dickinson – I do have a short commentary on “Success is counted sweetest” around:

http://www.ashokkarra.com/2007/05/the-importance-of-being-mortal-on-emily-dickinsons-success-is-counted-sweetest/
ashok´s last [type] ..Emily Dickinson, “It is an honorable Thought” (946)

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LOUISE July 8, 2010

What a read on the magical ball – this I must try. I can only imagine how awkward I will be but it should be fun to try and if it works I’ll be pleased :).

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