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Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

Photographers know that shadows are as beautiful as highlights in an image.

But Somehow We Don’t Think So

It seems to be human nature to wish that everything was bright. Rainbows and unicorns, as they say. Roller coasters with no downward dips. Only good, good, good everywhere.

We even have a name for it. We call it heaven. Where there is only good, and no bad anywhere.

That’s What We Wish For

And in doing so we miss the beauty that the photographer sees. We miss the texture of the darkness, the denseness of it, the contrast that it brings to any scene. The drama of it.

Photos without drama are boring. We call them flat. Like a flat movie. Or a flat song. Where’s the interest in it?

We miss the goodness of darkness. We don’t appreciate the drama inherent in our lives.

Because Somehow We’ve Come to Think We Can’t Handle Darkness

Maybe that’s why we wish for brightness everywhere. We think we can’t handle negativity.

So we try to escape it, or protect ourselves from it. And we never really look at it directly, which is the very thing that makes it flourish.

But The Work invites us to really look at anything we call dark. To look at it closely. To feel the texture of it. To notice how we react around it. To watch with fascination as the hairs stand up on our neck.

And to ask the basic question, “Is it real?”

It Turns Out That’s All You Have to Do

Because darkness is just a concept, a label we use to scare ourselves.

What happened to the boogeyman? He couldn’t stand up to the question, “Is this real?” (or “Is it true?” as we commonly ask in The Work). He crumbled into nothingness when we we looked closely.

And the same thing happens with any negativity: the fear of money, or the fear of failure, or the fear of loneliness, or the anger of a bad relationship, or the pain of losing, or the sadness of separation. It all evaporates when you look closely. Because none of it is truly real. What we imagine is far worse than reality. 

But You Have To Find This Yourself

No one can do it for you.

That’s what The Work is all about. An invitation to look for yourself and see what’s actually real for you. If you look, you may find that you are not only unafraid of darkness—you can be actually entertained by it. Scary is “fun” when you truly experience it as just a movie.

Join me for Open Sessions every week to do The Work, watch others do The Work, or ask any questions.

“Nothing terrible has ever happened except in our thinking. Reality is always good, even in situations that seem like nightmares. The story we tell is the only nightmare that we have lived.” Byron Katie, Loving What Is