Out of the Darkness

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nancy lotus copyNancy Perlson ~for my dad who struggled  Looking back, I think I always knew deep inside that my dad was fragile; that beneath his tough exterior, he was a tortured soul struggling daily with a deep rooted darkness. Though it wasn’t until my dad took his own life in 1996 that the depths of his illness became painfully—excruciatingly obvious. The angry rages, the dark sullen moods—the bright hysterical antics of my father had always kept me on my toes.  I towed the line—often taking the silence personally, the rages to heart…and perhaps, I even laughed a bit harder than was necessary during his good times because I knew in my heart—he struggled. I, too, struggled with my own darkness after my dad’s death. It was through the practice of yoga that I finally came to find a sense of peace and healing.

It was on the mat when I first heard the story of the extraordinary little lotus flower—beautiful and delicate on the surface, but willfully strong at its heart.  The lotus flower begins its life in dark, swampy water tethered below the surface by its roots embed in cold, dark isolation. Despite its roots heavily moored below the surface, that little lotus chooses daily to make the journey upwards towards the sun. Like the lotus, I believe we all feel at times the pull of darkness beneath us, but the choice remains ours—to allow the pull downward to drown us or to reach daily for the light.  My little lotus on the inside of my left ankle is my daily reminder that though we may feel tethered to darkness, we are not restricted by it.  The resilience and determination of this sweet little flower is an inspiration to me daily to fight the pull downward and save my strength for the swim to the surface—to the light of every new day.

Copyright © behind-the-ink, Nancy Perlson