Ep. 105 Befriending the Darkness

Listen here:

In this episode, I will cover:

Part two of my dark night of the soul, including:

  • physical symptoms that manifested
  • my night in the ER
  • emotional roots of symptoms
  • a continuous journey to release control
  • lessons from darkness
  • emerging out of the darkness as a new “me”

Additional Resources:

COURSE: The Art of Receiving

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PRODUCT: Moonroot Yoni Egg

Yoni eggs can be used for self love, compassion, healing your heart, or releasing old trauma in the womb.

BOOK: 21 Days of Healing

21 Days of Healing was created out of my own desire to go beyond food and heal on a deeper emotional and spiritual level. I curated the most loved content based on hundreds of live students experience in the course, and created this self guided workbook to help you navigate chronic illness, release emotional inflammation, and find the medicine woman within.

Episode transcript:

Welcome back to the second half of this story, where some of the messages, lessons, and befriending the darkness start to happen. If you’re just tuning in to this journey, this story, you’re gonna want to go back and listen to part one from the beginning, just so you know what the heck is happening. And if you’re not new here, to my podcast, to the content that I share on social media, you may have also noticed that this story just has a slightly different tone than most of the content that I put out and that I create. It’s very personal, but it’s also a lot of struggle. It’s a lot of challenges.

And it’s interesting because I often hear women come into my DMs, get reviews in the podcast, and even reflections back to me from a lot of the one-on-one coaches that I’ve worked with. That I come off as this bright, shiny, inspiring Lightworker that is full of high vibes, and positivity, and I certainly am those things. But I am not those things all the time. And I am not those things because of a lack of challenge. And instead, I am those things because of darkness, because of the tragedy of loss, and challenges that I have been through in my life. And I feel that I was not put on this planet to turn gold into gold. I was put here, born here to be the Alchemist to turn lead into gold. That has become my superpower over time, over lots of practice. So let’s get back to this story so we can show you how some of this lead, a.k.a., the shit we turn into gold gets turned into that gold, those bright spots out of the darkness.

Physical symptoms that manifested

So I left off where I was experiencing this extreme head and chest pain and was in the ER, had some, some diagnoses that at least helped me understand that I was not dying. That there was something physically happening in my body. Again, on the surface level, I could’ve easily blamed external factors.

I was traveling a lot. I was teaching crowded yoga classes where germs were being spread like wildfire. But as I reflected on these symptoms more, I considered the emotional roots of them. So our chest and our lungs is where we hold grief, where we hold anger and unprocessed emotions. And every part of me had been trying to keep her shit together. Run her empire, maintain balance. But the truth is, my brother’s death did shake me to my core. Our relationship was not great, and it had jagged edges. Yet I love the crap out of him as well. I told my friend the other day how I felt like my grieving process was stopped when we learned some unusual information regarding his death. And once again, broken record over here, I felt that the reasons behind his death, because they were more unknown, that my grieving process was now out of control and it felt halted.

It felt like I couldn’t move forward in processing because of this thing that was out of my control. And the other physical symptom was the inflammation that had symptoms. And this is related to unprocessed emotions as well. Inflammatory thoughts and confusion on where, what the next step is, where to go in life.

Emotional roots of symptoms

So death shakes you to the core and yet to experience loss is to have loved to the deepest degree. And controlling thoughts create inflammation in your mind, but ultimately control and itself is an illusion.

So despite my best efforts to maintain control, there was actually very, very little in my control and it’s one thing to notice that you have controlling tendencies and just to be aware of that and it’s another to have control, bubble up to the surface and want to actually be healed. My control wanted to be healed.

It wanted to be freed and as I wrestled with this in my mind, the journey forward did start to feel cloudy. It made me feel unsure of my footing, and that was terrifying for me. The thing that was undoubtedly clear at the time was it’s time to heal your relationship to control. I even started having dreams about when I was in my early twenties when I was traveling to 17 different countries, mostly through Europe and Northern Africa and India. I had no plans, and sometimes I didn’t have a place to stay. I was just surrendering to the adventure of the experience. My subconscious was reminding me that there are in fact, times in my life when I have practiced letting go when I have released control, and when it has turned out to be fun.

Then this interesting thing started to happen where my brother Joe started to come to me in my dreams. And I haven’t honestly felt much of his presence in my waking life, but in my dreams, he comes to help me with healing. And one dream stands out from the past month, where I was in this crowded place, and this was the first dream he had showed up in, and he appeared seemingly out of nowhere. I don’t know where we were, but he came over to me and he grabbed my hand and said, no one else is allowed to see me, so we need to go somewhere where I can hide, where they won’t see me. So we tracked up to up a hill to an abandoned house and we went inside. And he said this is where I will stay and you can come to find me here. And so I’ve been visiting him in this abandoned house in my dreams. And he’s shared with me, in this dream state, how he’s been working on the lessons of kindness, specifically towards himself. And as he learns about kindness and I learn about releasing control, we’ve begun to heal our relationship, that we never had the full opportunity to do, during his living life.

A continuous journey to release control

And I know when I resist releasing control because I wake up in the middle of the night with anxiety. Other times I sleep the night and wake up in the morning feeling a little bit lighter. Because we see, our change happens in the subconscious mind. In that subconscious programming of our minds. So on a conscious level, I decided, I’m showing up for this healing journey. I feel like I just, I made that decision. I’ve been showing up for three, four weeks now. But it’s not enough to just say, okay, I’m ready to release control, or I’m ready to do XYZ healing.

And that’s why mindset work hardly ever works. And I’m going to put together a whole other podcast episode on that for you guys. But mindset work hardly ever works unless you also engage the subconscious mind. And one way to access the subconscious is during sleep, which is where a lot of my healing has occurred lately.

But there are lots of other ways to access this place of change, through tools like neural linguistic programming, timeline therapy, hypnosis, breathwork, meditation, prayer, tapping and sound healing. And fortunately, I feel very armed and trained in almost every single one of those tools. And therefore I feel myself tapping into them more. Using them more, realizing that saying, okay, I’m ready to release control is not what’s actually going to get me the shift I desire. So I have to go deeper. I have to allow the subconscious mind that is so based in keeping me safe. And the egoic part of my mind that is still afraid of releasing control. I have to calm those parts of the mind so that I can rise up to a whole new level. And so through this work, I’ve started to feel myself rising up to a whole new level that I honestly don’t know if I was even ready for. But it’s starting to feel good, starting to feel good.

I spent years not talking about my emotions. And it’s funny because nowadays as an empath, I often feel uncomfortable, and even irritated at times when I feel other people’s emotions, and they’re not willing to talk about them. Now, not that it’s my place to force them to have any conversations they’re not ready to have, but I tend to talk about my emotions really openly. And when I feel into somebody else’s emotions and they feel clogged, it feels stuck. It feels like in the base of their throat, but they’re not willing, or ready, or maybe courageous enough to share that, for dozens of reasons. It can happen for many, many reasons, so there’s no judgment there. But I often am like kind of being the silent cheerleader, like say it, tell me, let’s talk about it.

But that was not always the case for me either. I did not use to talk about my emotions at all. And it’s interesting because, in the past, control almost poured over into my emotions. So if you asked me how I was doing, you would likely get a very convincing I’m doing fine or maybe even I’m good. But underneath that where years of unprocessed emotions and inflammatory thoughts. So I wouldn’t say my life ever was like horrible or that my life ever just sucked. But I didn’t always experience as much freedom, or joy, or happiness as I could. This is because of the weight of the emotional inflammation I was experiencing. And over the course of years with some especially profound moments mixed in, I have been able to unearth myself from this armor. I’ve been able to stand in my imperfectness to sit with my truth and own my story.

Lessons from darkness

And the recent death of my brother Joe has helped me confront my own deepest sorrow. It felt like this lightning bolt struck my inner being, struck my psyche. And then, I not only started to morn the death of my brother but also our broken mental health system. And then it got heavier, and I began to mourn all the suicides, overdoses, murders, and accidental deaths that have happened in my lifetime. And I felt myself coming undone, coming undone in order to grieve the great losses of the world, the plants, the animals, the oceans, the forests, the bushfires in Australia, the ecosystems of the world, indigenous cultures and people, native lands, children. And the illusion of the segregated self has come up to the surface. In that is this realization that we are not alone in anything. We are all connected. And for years, because of the sensitive nature, I turned my head away from a lot of the sorrows of the world.

And in this most recent personal sorrow, it feels like I have the tools to be able to now grieve, not just his death or Jordan’s death, or the other losses of people that I’ve experienced in my life. Or my own personal losses within the journey of chronic illness. But that the conscious collective losses of the world now sort of, start to pour in. And that’s when you realize that you are not alone in anything. And instead, there is much to grieve for the world. And as I grieved all these great losses, I dove into my own subconscious healing and confronted my greatest fear of losing control. When you consider all the losses of the world, it’s hard to not also realize, that you don’t have control over everything. You do not have control over hardly anything. And those curtains drew back and I realized that this was an opportunity to develop outrageous courage in the face of outrageous loss. It is an invitation to gather the wisdom that I’ve gleaned on my own walk with trauma, with illness and loss, so that it can be made available to others.

Francis Sweller is his beautiful author on grief and he says, “Grief takes us into a terrain where we must develop other senses, other ways of knowing. We must learn to see in the dark.” We must learn to see in the dark and within this dark night of the soul journey, that was my December 2019, I have learned to shine a light on the learnings. I have stripped myself down to my rawest parts I have stepped into the unknown of my greatest fear of losing control. And ultimately, I’ve befriended the darkness. And it’s not the first time in my life that I befriend the darkness, but it’s certainly been one of the most challenging. And it’s not often that any of us choose to go on this dark journey. But many of us know what it’s like to feel like you got thrown into the arena. And at first, it feels like there’s no bottom. There’s no end, there’s no stable footing, you can’t get your food footing. You might even feel like you’re flailing. But as this author, Francis Weller also writes, “We are reshaped and remade under the hands of grief.

Emerging out of the darkness as a new “me”

And so in the discomfort of the past month, for me, a new evolution of Sarah Small has been birthed. And for that I’m grateful. So I want to reintroduce you, to her, to me, as I talk to you now. And the energy that’s shifted within me to who I am at this moment, which is I know going to be a constant evolution. But this is where I feel I am, and this is where I feel I’m at right now. This version of Sarah, she is a master of transmuting loss into gratitude, illness into strength and challenges into gold mines for the heart. She has relentlessly committed to her own self-discovery. She has dedicated to healing the unfinished business and her subconscious mind. She feels the gravitational weight of the world but no longer fears to take on other’s pain. She has in the darkness, discovered what matters most to her soul. She will not allow her fear or deeply rooted need to control, to keep her from saying yes to life. She acknowledges her pain and gives it a container to be heard. She stands alongside all other wounded healers, brave enough to call the outcast parts of themselves home, and courageous enough to make their darkness, their greatest strength.

Friends, I invite you to join me and my eight-month coach training program, which is called Illuminated. Where you’ll learn how to work with the dark, in order to be, the light. That’s all I’m going to say for now. I’ll put a link in the show notes, but spots are going to fill up fast. And I hope you’ll join me.

Something as a last note that has surfaced over the past month, in this journey, is just this realization that not all coaches are doing the work. That I’ve been in three, I was in three coach training programs in 2019. So I was around a lot of other coaches in person. And I was just noticing that not everyone does the work. And it’s so important when you are sharing your message to embody your message, to show up from a place of truth, of integrity, of alignment.

And that’s why I shared these two mini-episodes with you this week. Because it felt like in my darkness, that path as I came to the opening, was just the relatability to all of you, and what you go through in your life. And so if you are an aspiring or current coach who wants to build your toolbox up of methods, modalities, tools, techniques, just energy that is going to help you, help your clients get transformational results, and step into a lever level of mastery as a coach, then I invite you to join me. I’m opening up some sales calls to just see if you’re a good fit and discuss what your goals are for your business. And how Illuminated can help you. It’s interesting because I named this program, about maybe two weeks before, all of this darkness flooded into my life. And as I step out of it now in January, and kind of just like stop, pivot, turn around and think about everything that just surfaced. It’s like, of course, of course, the universe shows me exactly the medicine that I’ll be teaching in the program. Where again, you will learn to work with the dark in order to be the light.

So we are all lightworkers, but we’re not turning gold into gold. We are helping our clients turn lead into gold. To be the alchemists for their transformation. To guide people through some of the most challenging moments, times, lessons of their life, in a beautifully supported container, in a graceful way. Not all healing is graceful as you’ve seen in my last month, but I do feel it’s all worth it. I do feel that if you have the right tools, you can see all of the loss, tragedy, trauma, grief, illness in your life as an opportunity to build a courageous heart, to build a courageous mind, and to build a courageous spirit. So again, I invite you to join me. I’ll put a link in the show notes to book your free call, and I’ll talk to you all soon.

Thank you so much for tuning in and just for listening today. I hope that you were able to relate or saw yourself in parts of this story and just know that you’re not alone.

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January 6, 2020


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