I am a dark worker.
People laugh and think I’m joking; they usually correct me and say, “Don’t you mean light worker?” And then I tell them, “No, dark worker.” I don’t see people when they are feeling light or happy. I work with people when things are dark and muddy and terrifying.
These are the bravest people I know, by the way. They have the courage to walk deeper into the darkness with a complete stranger. They are prepared to poke around into their cold cup of rancid emotions, say things they’ve never said aloud, and figure their lives out. They are tired of hurting and being hurt.
They are taking responsibility for their happiness by questioning their habits, their choices, and the stories they tell themselves about their world. It is here where light and truth find their way back in, because our anger and ego cannot exist under scrutiny—they are not real.
When we find ourselves in pain or suffering, the way out begins with looking at the stories we tell ourselves about our life.
For example, there are a lot of people waking up today and telling themselves that because of our new president, their lives have been ruined.
They’ve done all the right things: gone to school, worked hard, built lives for themselves and now fear he’s going to “make America terrible again.”
We don’t understand how our families and neighbors could align with such an awful person. We protest, rant and vent everywhere we can.
Wherever you find yourself on this Groundhog Day—on the “winning side” lashing out at the “losers,” or on the “losing side” protesting the “winners,” know that if you’ve taken a side, you’re in ego.
When we are convinced we are right and someone else is wrong, and when we feel angry and defensive, it means we are in pain. It means we may be right about some things, but it also means we are wrong, too.
Anger is intellectualized fear about unconscious conflicts within us that is awakened by some event in our environment. Instead of addressing our own internal conflicts, we make up an easy narrative, so that we don’t have to confront our issues.
It works this way: I am in pain, and I need a reason. We make up a story and lash out, protest and rant. We align with the tribe that tells us are right, and so we feel better for a while. That was easy.
See the cycle?
Something triggers my discomfort, I deny myself compassion and healing, and instead, seek an answer that appears safe and righteous, and I lash out at them, “the others.”
Whew. I didn’t have to look hard at myself, or be compassionate with myself. Didn’t have to figure out what’s really bothering me. Didn’t have to understand my pain.
We never let ourselves understand ourselves or “the other side,” because we already think we do.
This is the problem with all that schooling. “Smart” people shouldn’t be angry or afraid—we’ve got it all figured out, right? This cannot be part of our narrative, so we continue to deny ourselves. Which makes it harder and harder to do the work.
Until we decide to look at the life we’ve unconsciously created, we will continue to have stronger and stronger wake-up calls (pun intended). Heart attacks, strokes, are not places we want to awaken. Repressed and deflected anger destroys. These are moments where we can choose to awaken and learn about our pain or not.
This is the moment we can press the snooze button again, or lean into the awakening.
Our feelings of fear and anger mean we don’t understand our lives very well. It is these dark moment that says, Hmmm, maybe it’s not just “they” who don’t understand.
On this Groundhog Day 2017, I’d like to help you get to Punxsutawney and find some light. And if you’ve never seen that movie, do so! Bill Murray as Phil Connors will make you laugh. We are all Phil Connors trying to escape our own bleak angry lives at times.
If we continue to fight and argue every darned step of the way, then we will be living the same day over and over again. As Phil learned, it won’t end until we surrender to life.
We are not powerless. Whatever we’ve created in anger, we can heal.
When we heal, we realize that the anger we direct at others is not what we thought it was. It’s only about ourselves and our purpose. And those awful people we were so angry at? They were not wrong—they were helping us wake up.
Happy Groundhog Day!