Recently my family took a weekend trip to Mammoth Cave National Park. One of the activities we looked forward to was taking a couple of cave tours. The cave system is truly amazing and incredible! On both cave tours, the guides each did a demonstration of how dark the caves can be– on the count of 1, we all closed our eyes; on the count of 2, the tour guide turned off the lights; and on the count of 3, we opened our eyes again in total and complete darkness.
Not the kind of darkness we’re used to seeing at bedtime when we turn off the lights. At least in my bedroom there’s still the faint light from a streetlamp that shows through the window shades and curtains. And the faint glow from the alarm clock. And the night light in the hallway. And the occasional notification light from my cell phone. It’s probably the same for you, too. There’s usually some sort of ambient light that helps us see when the lights are off.
But there are times and places where complete darkness happens. Caves are like that. So is depression. Or anxiety. Or grief and loss. Or trauma. Sometimes life gets really dark, and no matter how wide we open our eyes or strain to see– we simply can’t.
The neat thing about this cave demonstration, though, was that after a few moments the guides would flick on a cigarette lighter. And it was truly amazing how much light that provided in the darkness. Really astonishing.
Was it daylight? Was everything lit up brilliantly so we could all see? No. But I could see the people near me, and I could get my bearings in the space around me again. And it would have been enough light to lead us out of the cave.
So it got me thinking. In life when we land in the darkness, what gives us that tiny bit of light? Maybe it’s a friend. Or a loved one. Or music. Or our faith. Or a therapist. Or our work. Whatever the light is for you, hang onto it when you find it. It can lead you out of the darkness.
If you’re having trouble finding a ‘light’ and you think music therapy might be able to help, contact me for more information. I’m always happy to answer questions!