2018: Reimagining darkness.

2017.

It has been an interesting one hasn’t it? Somehow these past 12 months feel as though they’ve disappeared and yet trudged along all at the same time. For me personally, it has been a year of refocusing and a great deal of change. It has been a year of seeking opportunity, seeking new ways to adapt, seeking understanding, seeking empathy. Lots of seeking.

I’ve found thrilling new professional challenges, enlightening personal relationships and a tremendous sense of purpose in my creative and artistic path. I’ve also found disappointment, frustration, insecurity, sadness, loneliness and heartbreak.

And a month ago I found the idea of darkness reimagined.

A friend (one of those new enlightening relationships) introduced to me this concept of reimagining darkness. Starting with the philosophical thought that we have been taught dark uniformly implies bad and light is right – black vs. white – evil vs. good. Absolutely. It’s fed to us by entertainment culture, ingrained in our “Dark ages” history books, reinforced in the bible, celebrated in sports stadiums, developed as a storyline in the media and even practically attributed to our rainy weather days. Yup. Can’t argue with that.

But perhaps this narrow vision of “light and dark” has been misguiding us or even blinding us, if you will, was his encouragement for me to ponder. And I have been. I really, really have.

Without spending too much verbiage in the negatively political, it feels fair to say that this overwhelming assumption does not necessarily serve us in our growth. I’d even challenge that it halts us; it prevents movement forward and creates a restrictive path at a time when we so desperately need to engage all roads.

Ultimately, if 2017 assured me of anything, it’s that I must own my personal responsibility to where we “are” right now. I must admit to my privilege, bias and to the negativity I have succumbed to or perpetuated – not just sometimes, but all times. I think many of us have realized how unbelievably isolated our own realities can be. And perhaps on the flip side, how alive we feel in those precious moments of deep, vulnerable, meaningful human connection that teaches us, alters us, shakes us awake. I’ve recognized both of these feelings on levels I’ve not experienced in all the other years of my life. Particularly the latter. I crave it. I aspire to it. I’m energized by it. All while being wildly terrified of it.

But I’m discovering myself more productive when I embrace living in some grey space – especially when I’ve got those who are willing to breathe there with me. If I wrap myself in the blanket of ideas that people, progress and the human spirit are far more complicated and nuanced than all right and all wrong I stop compromising that opportunity for new connection. When I find myself cozying up to constant change, the growing pains feel a little less harmful and a lot more good.

And with that, I’m empowering this message moving into 2018:

Stop searching for the renowned light at the end of the tunnel – it’s probably not there. And even if it is, you might never find it to be what you actually need or want. Light that shit up yourself. Reimagine darkness instead.

Happy 2018,

Whit

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