The “small piece”—the blow and suffering of unwanted loss and change—was a darkness to which I brought many emotional habits and patterns: anger, a feeling of being jinxed or doomed, and a longing to escape this path on which I found myself. I know today that grief did not create these patterns; it only illuminated them. They were already there. Still, it felt as if grief were the only cause of my confusion and unhappiness. It was difficult to accept that if the soul is to mature, it must go through the darkness and beyond it. But it must. The “large picture” is only revealed by the dark’s hidden and sustaining light. Recognizing which habits and patterns kept me lost in a loop of reactivity was crucial. The old patterns were lifeless and offered only suffering. But the darkness was alive, and offered a reappraisal of everything I had formerly concluded about life and its meaning.
—from the book Stars at Night: When Darkness Unfolds As Light
by Paula D’Arcy