Once upon a time (for all good stories begin thus) there was a girl who, with her child of 8 years, married and moved to a cold dark land. The woman, Teri, wanted the best for her child and marriage seemed the best option open to her at that moment in her life. The man was kind and she had known him for many years. Teri was from a hot climate, and during that last summer with the temperatures soaring to 114 degrees, the thought of a cold land sounded like heaven.
When Teri and her daughter were settled in their new home life began to take on a rhythm, as all lives do. The daughter started school and the new husband went back to work. She spent her days alone and at first there were many things to do. Once unpacking and organizing was finished all the time alone became long and seemingly unending. The daylight hours grew shorter and the temperatures became colder than anything she had imagined.
With little to do, Teri became withdrawn and depressed. She missed her family and friends. Her daughter wasn’t adjusting well to the dark and cold. The new husband became someone she didn’t know.
Teri threw herself into letter writing, as this was before email, internet, and inexpensive long-distance calling; nevertheless, there were only so many letters she could write. She began learning to draw and increased her skills in knitting to stave off the darkness creeping into her soul. She decided to begin journaling because writing about her feelings had always been one of her many coping skills. As she wrote, looking out at the dark, snowy landscape, she began to realize the darkness creeping into her soul mirrored the darkness stealing across the land. Looking ever inward, Teri came face-to-face with a monster so fearsome she wanted run from it as fast as she could, as far as she could. The problem was—the monster was inside of her.
Teri knew her prior life, which seemed like a misty dream, had been so filled with busy-business, there was rarely quiet moments. She realized she had run from one fearful life into another fearful life; and the common link…was herself. Had this dark and cold space within always been there, she wondered? Had she used daily routines and constant noise, like television, to avoid seeing this frozen, dark place inside? Yes, she finally decided, that was exactly what she had done.
Slowly, Teri used the quiet hours to explore this dark place within and she gave it a name—the Land of Unloved. This was the place she had banished all the perceived failures, the criticisms, the hurts to so she didn’t have to feel them. Piece by piece, experience by experience, she took them out, looked at them without judgement and just like the sun beginning to shine more fully upon the outer landscape, the sun began to shine in the Land of Unloved.
There came a time when she realized she had been running away from the dark place within and no matter how far and fast she ran, she took those places with her. Through self-exploration and study, she understood that people, like landscapes, must have some dark, some shadow, to give dimension. Without those perceived dark places people would be flat cardboard cutouts, more like paper dolls than humans in Be-ing.
Now, the Land of Unloved became the Circle of Acceptance. The sun shines within the Circle of Acceptance and the light casts shadow giving dimensionality to the woman known as Teri.