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Notes on darkness...

And some things to try to let in the light.

I recently crossed the one year mark having my now new-ish artificial cervical disc in my neck.

It sits in there all cozy between my cervical vertebrae known as C6 and C7.

A year ago, this spinal surgery ended the longest season of chronic pain I have ever experienced.  

Recovery required physical therapy and such but the moment I woke up,the nerve pain that had been radiating down my left arm and through my shoulder blade was gone.

Ahh!  Relief!

I’m starting with the happy ending because even now, there are pieces of me that are uncomfortable speaking to my own experience of pain, fear, and uncertainty.

I struggle to write or say much during intensely challenging periods of life.

I think, “What is there to say?”

But what I’ve reflected on the most this past year is how terribly important it is to summon the courage to utter:

  • “It’s dark.”

  • “I’m scared.”

  • “I don’t know what to do.”

Being pummeled by life’s waves and tumbling around in the darkness is a wholly human experience.

It’s something that has the power to connect us.  To help us see each other.

  • Longing for light is human

  • Being scared is human

  • Casting about for answers and experts is human

Perhaps you feel a sense of darkness now.  Or you know, from a time not long ago, exactly what I’m talking about.

As leaders, I find that many of us share the sense that we should manage our struggles on our own, that we shouldn’t be seen needing help, and that we can only be saved by ourselves.

What I know for sure is that loneliness, doing it all alone, emboldens the darkness.

The other thing I know is that the light will return.

I don’t have any definite answers about how to let the light back in, but I have some things to try.

  • Remind yourself that it won’t be dark forever.  Perhaps picture the ocean.  The way a wave grows, peaks then crashes, the water rushes forward, then, its energy spent, it peacefully recedes. 

  • Connect with someone who has your back and tell them how you feel.  If you get stuck, try one of the three lines from above: It’s dark.  I’m scared.  I don’t know what to do.

  • It’s spring and soon summer.  The snow is gone for now. Under the warm rays of the sun, spend time outside.

  • Find a community that’s fluent and willing to talk about the light and dark seasons in life.  Connection is what regulates our nervous system best.  

Pass this along to anyone you know might need it and ask, “How are you?”

For the next few weeks I’ll be sharing about well-being in leadership.  I’ll include ways that working together might enhance your own ability to tap into wellness.

In the meantime, I’m a coach because it’s the modality that pulled me from seasons of darkness.

If you’re ready to enlist more support in your life and on your leadership journey, click here to schedule some 1:1 time with me to connect.

If you’re in the darkness, I see you.

If you’re in the light, absorb the warmth and goodness.

Your coach in life and leadership,



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