Shut the Door

I’ve been in a blue funk the last several days. My partner would probably say I’ve been in a black funk. Down and out. #Depressed. Really glum. And I didn’t know why.

I just knew I felt really #hopeless, as if I had screwed up my life, and wasn’t accomplishing anything, and had nothing really going for me. Any positive thing I tried to hold out in front of myself felt like a foolish little fairy lie against the deep darkness in my gut whispering that I had no friends, and no future, and was nothing but an idiot and a failure, slowly slipping into old age.

I searched for something to attach it to so that I could, by understanding, explain it away.

Maybe it was the weather, with it being so dark and grey and gloomy. But, hey, it’s a Pacific Northwest winter – it’s always dark and grey and gloomy. And I’ve lived here all my life. So that couldn’t be it.

Maybe it was post-holiday blues. I sometimes feel a little let-down when the parties and celebrations are all done and the goodies and decorations are all packed away. But this seemed so much deeper than that.

Maybe it was the meeting I had just had with my artist, where I realized she was not going to be able to accomplish the objectives of our joint project after all and I needed to find someone else. However, I have had set backs before. Normally, they don’t cause me to question my very existence.

Maybe it was the too-many house guests that had infringed on my routine, or the too-many cookies that had added some pounds, or the strained tendon in my thumb that kept me from playing music as much as I like….

Like every day of every life, there were all kinds of black coal chunks I could put in the negative basket. But there were as many, or more, glowing embers of light to put in the positive side:

I have a partner who loves me; I have a warm home to live in; I am strong, healthy, and reasonably fit; I just got a big end-of-the-year bonus from a financial investment; I have three beautiful sons who are doing great things in the world; I have projects and goals and hobbies to pursue.

The average person would look at me and say,”Stop bitchin’ Bitch!”

And they would be right. Normally, my focus is square on the good in my life. But the weird thing is that, for the last several days, I could not see these things! I tried logic, meditation, walks in the woods. I just couldn’t hoist myself out of this dark pit. In fact, I could not have written this yesterday, or the day before. But today I woke up knowing.

I know that we all have the option to open the door to darkness. We all make choices, every moment, to choose light or to choose dark.

Years ago, I did some spiritual journeying with a Shaman in Australia. Under his guidance, I learned to go into the spirit world to interact with my spirit guides and to benefit from the wisdom they shared with me. It was a beautiful and illuminating experience. After several journeys with him, he assured me that I could go there on my own, without his guidance.

One evening, I decided to give it a try. I ran a bath, put in some Epsom salts and essential oils, and set my iPod to play relaxing flute music. I climbed in and laid back in the warm water, enjoying the lovely lavender aroma and the soft tunes floating through the room. I closed my eyes and began to follow the steps to enter the spirit world, up the hill, through the door, down the path, “seeing” the landscape with my eyes closed and “feeling” my surroundings as if I were physically there.

But this time, I began to have a sense of darkness. It was almost as if some thing, or things, were stalking me. And then the hillside burst into flames and I felt, very much, as if my life were in danger.

In the meantime, the gentle flute music had become strangely ominous, like the background music to a horror movie.

Not being sure what would happen if I just “woke up” in this spirit world, I knew I had to get out of it. I worked my way around the fire, back down the hill, out the door, and back up the steps. As I climbed the steps back into the “real” world, the flute music reverted back to a sweet and calming arrangement. My heart was beating fast as I came out of the trance, and I was scared. Really scared. I mean, what the fuck just happened?

I returned that week to my Shaman guide and told him the story of my spirit adventure. He asked me, “Did you close the door behind you when you entered the spirit world?’

I thought about it, and replied, “I think I forgot that part.”

He said, “It is very important, when you enter your spirit world to seek consultation with good and guiding spirits, that you close the door behind you so that the bad spirits do not follow you in. You must not leave the door open and give them access to you when you are in this state.”

I think about his words today, as I write about the darkness of the past several days. Did I somehow leave the door open to bad spirits? I do know that the movie I watched a few days ago, “The Bird Box” left a mark on me. Being an empath, I have never liked horror movies. They stay with me too long. But I enjoy a good drama. Interestingly, the premise of “The Bird Box” is that the world is overrun with spirits who cause people to commit suicide. All it takes is for a human to look at them to be irrevocably driven into suicidal despair.

If you close your door and close your eyes to them, they cannot hurt you. But if you leave the door open…

Undoubtedly, there are those who would scoff at the idea of bad spirits, calling it just dumb superstitions. Call it bad practice, if that makes more sense to you, but there is no doubt that we humans have become addicted to violent games, movies, music, and activities. We are hooked on things that give us a little adrenalin jolt, regardless of how unhealthy they may be. Regular exposure to bad spirits/bad practices creates a need for more, like any addiction.

In “The Bird Box,” the psychos of the world are immune to the suicidal despair that these spirits cause in the rest of humanity. Presumably, they are immune because they have been living with the bad spirits for years, as close friends and allies. In the movie, the psychos insanely want everyone to see the “beauty” of the evil and they force others to participate in seeing them, rejoicing when the subject individual then destroys himself. Kind of like a drug addict pushing their addiction on others……

And so I woke up today knowing that I had left the door open. And in came the bad spirits. Because my tolerance for darkness is low, my mood dropped, all the way to the bottom.

Thankfully, I know the antidote: regular doses of light and communing with the benevolent love of the universe. I meditated. With every breath in, I let my self be flooded with light through my crown chakra. With every breath out, I released all that does not serve me well. I returned my focus to that which is good and light and beautiful.

And I closed the door again to the “bad spirits” that seek to create a sense of hopelessness, and to destroy the good in mankind.

Life is full of lessons, if we choose to pay attention to them.

I learned a lesson many years ago from a #Shaman:

Never leave the door to your spirit-scape open to bad spirits.