By Julie Daley
“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”
I’ve always loved these words from Leonard Cohen – an invitation to soften into my humanity. A human life is not meant to be perfect. It is in living our imperfection that the Light can come to shine through us.
THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU
When I did the Process in 2002, I wanted to do whatever it would take to be free of fear and shame, but in reality I wasn’t ready to let go of what I was clinging to. I worked hard at my Process, yet underneath my efforts was a kind of unrelenting push to rid myself of something held deep inside. I now know this something to be the unfounded belief that there was something wrong with me, something broken, something shameful inside.
Seventeen years later, to the day, I came to see that this condition I feared within me was an impossibility. No one born into a human body, living through a human childhood, comes out perfect; but this isn’t the same as there being something wrong with you.
THE DARK SIDE AND BEING HUMAN
The Dark Side comes into being as a response to life experiences we have as children. When we are young, we are loved both unconditionally and conditionally.
When we are loved unconditionally, we simply bask in this love, feeling nourished and safe. We can feel this love is real.
When we are loved conditionally, though, we feel something is off. Conditional love is, by definition, only given if certain conditions are met. As children, this doesn’t feel right to us. Instead of experiencing real love, we experience disconnection, rejection, abandonment, or any of the many other characteristics of the Dark Side. In response, our own Dark Side begins to grow.
This does not mean parents don’t love their children. Rather, it means they are loving through their Dark Side patterning, caught in a moment of expressing their own Dark Side. Over time, the Dark Side grows out of our reactions to these interactions with the adults in our life. This is the hereditary nature of the Negative Love Syndrome at work.
Just like us, our parents weren’t and aren’t perfect. They’re human and these moments are deeply human interactions. In realizing my own imperfection, I discovered how vulnerable and freeing it can be to be human. My Dark Side is a collection of compulsive and unconscious negative patterns, arguing against the nature of how things really are. I realize now that I spent most of my earlier life arguing against my own lovability and the loving nature of life itself.
LIVING OUR IMPERFECTION
Accepting our humanness means we have awareness for who we are and the patterns we still carry. We forgive ourselves for the things we’ve done and the people we’ve hurt. We ask for forgiveness of those we have hurt. And, we learn to let go of the pain we experienced as children so that we no longer carry it through the rest of our lives.
It is through our Spiritual Self that we transform the Dark Side, and through this transformation, we embody more and more of the luminosity of our Spiritual Self. We learn to act from the guidance of our Spiritual Self, even when we fear we might fail. We find courage to act from our imperfection, knowing we have a deepening practice of self-compassion and forgiveness.
The Dark Side doesn’t go away but over time we find ourselves less reactive to its messages. We soften into humility and find forgiveness. We begin to let go of the fight we’ve waged against our own lovability and the lovability of others. Softening into our loving nature, the Light can now get in and we become more radiant human beings. We live our imperfection.