01/05/2014 09:23 BST | Updated 01/07/2014 06:59 BST

Learning How to Navigate Life's Black Holes

Life in the hole has been melancholic, pretty tangled around the edges and a lot unsettled. I am not expressing complaint here. I am SO NOT one for a 'settled' or mundane life where there are no bumps and dips

Recently I slipped into one of life's dark holes.

It happens.


Ominous clouds over the West Coast of Scotland. Photograph by Saskia Lee Stewart

Life in the hole has been melancholic, pretty tangled around the edges and a lot unsettled. I am not expressing complaint here. I am SO NOT one for a 'settled' or mundane life where there are no bumps and dips. Not only would that be unrealistic, but would it not be so very dull? AND, is dullness not disastrously SOUL SHRINKING?

There is no soul shrinking here. I travelled, I stumbled, I fell. "HELLO HOLE".

As a being with creativity at my core, life is a ride of extremes. 'Normal' life is a permanent excess of emotions. Round and round, up and down and over and over.......Happily most of my life is spent on the positive side of things, but the whole spectrum of emotions do come visiting...

Maybe this sounds familiar? I am sure I am not alone in this 'madness'. BUT.... It is MY madness, and I am OK with it.

I hope you are in tune with your own personal madness, and shadows, and have made friends with them. If not, then maybe it is time to write a letter of introduction to yourself and make some new friends.


Fog Cloaking Gorey Castle, Jersey. Photograph by Saskia Lee Stewart

While the dark holes of life are not the sort of place you would eagerly pack a bag and head off in search of, they have their merits in teaching us LOTS of things... They are awesome at holding up a mirror and showing us the illusions within. Dark holes mean CHANGE.... and change is magnificent. It leads to better places.

Holes do not just appear in our paths. The person who is responsible for navigation in your life leads you to the edge, and then pushes you in. Ummm, that's you. The key is figuring out what it is you have done that has toppled you over.

Funnily enough, I saw myself sliding in to this latest hole. However, the more I tried to grab the sides and rectify the slant of my path, the quicker I slipped.

The reasons for my downward journey are many-fold and complex. Putting it simply, a while back I realised that I was not living true to myself, causing myself proper angst.

After becoming a mum, then designing and building our eco-house (If you are interested, I have written about this on my Personal Blog Page) I had basically changed everything about the way I lived. I made the mistake of not tuning in to the changes that had happened to me in these amazing, incredible, inspiring yet soul-shatteringly-exhausting years. I had ignored the need for re-evaluation.

I was foolish and thought that I could step back into running my life and business in exactly the same way as I had been before these life-changing years. I never stopped long enough to check in to myself and see who I had become. Having your own business can be rather consuming, so to be consumed by something that was largely at odds with me was uncomfortable.


Loch Lomond Shrouded by Early Morning Mist. Photograph by Saskia Lee Stewart

My blindness did lift. The internal screaming helped. I could no longer ignore the raging noise inside and I started making changes, but it was too little, too late. I had allowed myself to get deeply stressed and miserable.

Life got confusing. My head got messy, everything sort of 'mushed-up' around me and my creativity shut down. Since creativity is my work, the emotions that followed were not happy. Fear, guilt, shame, desolation and frustration to name a few. To top it off, my life-long curse of migraines that I had all but kicked started gate-crashing the party, and they have been vicious and frequent.

It is truly hard when you are down in the murky depths of a hole to have faith that life's sparkle will twinkle for you again.... and The crunch of body and soul hitting rock bottom is painful. However, one of the greatest gifts life gives us is to feel.

One important thing I have learnt about crashing down a hole is the real need to be HONEST. No amount of denial will get you out of the darkness. In fact, denial of some part of who you are, or what you were doing 'wrong', probably got you there in the first place. When I say 'wrong', I mean wrong-for-you.


Gloominous Sky Over The Scottish Coastline, Isle Of Arran. Photograph by Saskia Lee Stewart

Here's the thing.

In your life, you are the maestro and you are conducting your own orchestra. You choose the tunes, the tempo and the pitch. Everything in your life exists because, ultimately, you have either chosen it, or chosen to allow it.

Your life is how it is because of you, only you, and no-one but you.

It is a lump to swallow, and gets stuck on the way down. Who wants to admit that life's shitty situations are of our own making? The upside is that believing it, knowing it, gives you ultimate power. Owning your life, completely and totally, gives you ALL THE POWER to be, and do anything.

If we are mindful of our thoughts, decisions and desires, we can guide our lives in ANY way we wish. It is truly limitless.

Importantly, fully accepting that you have CONTROL over your thoughts and the way they make you feel is MIGHTY. You can choose to wear them like a tragic mask or start to unpack your overflowing-suitcase-of-crap and lessen the load.

Be kind to yourself. Kindness is very powerful, and is the most amazing tool in living a happier life.

Wear YOURSELF with pride. It is the only thing that is going to fit you perfectly. Everyone has their own BRILLIANCE, awesomeness that no one else has.

Owning the WHOLE of who you are and being perfectly content with that is a sure-fire way of avoiding many soul-shrivelling holes.


A Fabulous Anais Nin Quote, One Of My Hero's of Inspiration.

So, where am I now?

Well, fessing-up to my mistakes made it a whole load easier to start correcting them. I have been spending time thinking about what doesn't 'fit' me anymore.

I have pledged to LOVE ALL THAT I AM. Getting in touch with my whole being, down to the core of my soul is hugely important, and I have already uncovered lots. It is exciting, and I am learning not to be ashamed of any part of who I am.

I have started being kinder to myself, and have been giving my head and heart the SPACE needed to let the new stuff in. My mind was so overcrowded before, and I am being careful not to fill it up with useless clutter again. It truly is not possible to find clarity in this kind of situation without clearing a space for it to shine into.

Thankfully, I am pretty much out of that dark hole. While I still have a journey ahead of me to create my new work-life that will allow my creativity to sparkle and my being to glow, I am really happy with the progress I am making. I KNOW I WILL GET THERE, really soon.

We all have so many stories of this kind of thing from our journeys. I hope that in sharing my trip to my most recent black hole, and what I believe we can learn from life's holes in general has inspired you in some way. I would love to hear any of your own experiences of holes and darkness, and will look forward to any comments you may make.

Have a beautiful day.