Ever Journey

Through the dark woods

“Peace is your home,
integrity is the way to it, 
and everything you long for 
will meet you there.” 
– Martha Beck

Going through the dark woods of error…?

Can’t see the trees from the woods…?

Have you ever experienced a time in your life, when you could not see past the dark and frightening woods of error in your life?

Finding myself out of the dark woods

Have you ever been through a time in your life when you could not see past the frightening dark woods of error in your life?

A time when you were unable to see past the gigantic dense tree stumps surrounding you.

A time when you could not see past, tall dark branches and trees obscuring your view.

A time when you were unable to see through the countless barky thick layers of timber that obscured your vision and stifled your movement forward.

A time when you felt overcome & engulfed by dark and thick leafy shrubs in your way, unable to move.

A time when you could not move beyond the messy, moist, and muddy ground beneath your feet.

A time when you were unable to see the warm sun through the towering upstream river of leaves above, and over ahead.

A time where you could not see a way out, no trail, nor path for you to tread on…

No way in,
… and no way out
No view in site
No way through it
No way to move out of it

No way, to lead you out of the leafy long stumps and shrubs, to take you through a new way back to a peaceful you.

Have you ever felt so lost, abandoned in the lonely messy and intimidating dark woods… 

And in that, you realized you could not find your way home.

Written by Tamara


Bestselling author, life coach, and sociologist Martha Beck explains why “integrity”— meaning being in harmony with ourselves—is the key to a meaningful and joyful life.
 
In her book The Way of Integrity, Beck presents a four-stage process that anyone can use to find integrity, and with it, a sense of purpose, emotional healing, and a life free of mental suffering.
 
Much of what haunts & plagues us in today’s world is—people pleasing, staying in stale relationships, negative habits, and not being true to ourselves — they all point to what happens when we are out of touch with what truly makes us feel whole.
 
Inspired by The Divine Comedy (The Divine Comedy is an Italian narrative poem by Dante Alighieri, begun c. 1308 and completed in 1320, a year before his death in 1321).

Beck uses Dante’s classic hero’s journey as a framework to break down the process of attaining personal integrity into small, manageable steps. She shows how to read our internal signals that lead us towards our true path, and to recognize what we actually yearn for versus what our culture sells us.
 
The Way Of Integrity uses science, spirituality, humour, and Dante’s Divine Comedy to teach you how to find well-being, healing, a sense of purpose, and much more by rediscovering integrity, or the recently lost art of living true to yourself by what you do, think and say.
 

Maybe you are in the dark wood of error in your life now?

Midway through the journey of life”, says Dante, I found myself in a dark forest, for the right way was lost. “

He doesn’t mention how he got lost, what he was doing when we wandered off track, or how far off he has gone. All this information is literally … foggy. The only thing Dante knows is that he is alone, adrift & confused. 

The experience of noticing we are on the wrong path in what feels like the wrong life, comes to almost all of us at some point. 


Perhaps in the form of: 


A few years into a dead-end job,

a broken unmendable relationship,

or a stressed living situation

We may suddenly realise that everything seems…’off’ and that we find ourselves stuck in the dark woods of error. 

Like Dante we are a bit unsure what exactly is wrong, or how we got ‘here’, we just know that something is not aligned with where we would like to be… 

How can you find yourself when you are trying to find your way in the dark woods:

You can use the below as a guideline to see your symptoms if you are ‘stuck’ in the dark woods of error (references below).

Below is based on Beck’s book. 

Lost in the Woods

DARK WOOD OF ERROR SYNDROME

There have probably been times when you, too, have departed from your own true path. At first, the resulting suffering may have been so mild you didn’t even notice it. But no one can sleepwalk away from integrity indefinitely, because things get worse the further we travel in the wrong direction. Eventually, if we don’t correct course, we begin displaying clusters of characteristic symptoms. You may have had them in the past. You may have them now.
Call any cluster of these symptoms “dark wood of error syndrome.” But it’s not a bad thing. It’s the way our instincts motivate us to regain our integrity. It’s the truth come to set us free.

Dark wood of error symptom #1: Feeling
Our sense of purposelessness doesn’t disappear in the face of culturally defined achievements. It remains a persistent, goading force, a biting fly that won’t stop buzzing around our heads until we begin pursuing goals that truly fulfill us—in other words, following the way of integrity. And if the whine and sting of purposelessness isn’t enough to shake us out of our sleepwalking, our subconscious minds will up the ante. They’ll summon the megafauna, the mental wild beasts we call mood states.

Dark wood of error symptom #2: Emotional misery
Whatever your repeated or persistent negative emotions, try thinking of them as wild beasts, whose job it is to make your life unbearable when you stray from your true path. If the feelings don’t go away even though you’re taking your medication and meeting regularly with your therapist, you can be quite sure you’re somehow out of integrity. The sooner you acknowledge this the better, because remaining in the dark wood of error may eventually cause you actual, physical harm.

Dark wood of error symptom #3: Physical deterioration
There are all kinds of physical ailments that affect people who are living in complete integrity. Everyone dies, and there’s plenty of physical pain that has nothing to do with keeping secrets, telling lies, or wandering off true paths. Still, every time we make choices or assume appearances that don’t align with our integrity, we really do become more vulnerable to physical problems, from back spasms to pneumonia. If you’re inexplicably sick, weak, or accident-prone, your body may be trying to tell you you’re lost in the dark wood.

Dark wood of error symptom #4: Consistent relationship failures
If you feel constantly drained or betrayed in family, friendship, and romance, the relationships you’re forming are probably based in the dark wood of error. We simply can’t chart a course to happiness by linking up with others who are as lost as we are. The path to true love—true anything—is the way of integrity. No other person can ever find yours for you, much less give it to you. But you can always, no matter what your circumstances, find and follow it yourself.

Dark wood of error symptom #5: Consistent career failures
There are infinite ways to make a living. At some level—a deep, instinctive level—you know which of them will truly work for you. You can feel it immediately when a job requires you to push aside your true desires. Your awareness of your true career path may be buried deep under layers of acculturated false beliefs. But it’s still there, like a flower trying to grow through toxic sludge. If you continue to resist your genuine impulses, you’ll become slowly aware that what you’re doing to make a living is turning you into the walking dead.

Dark wood of error symptom #6: Bad habits you can’t break
If you feel unable to stop an activity, if you’re spending the rent money on it, if you hide it from others and feel a creeping obsession slowly consuming you, your first step toward integrity—a big one—might be acknowledging that you’re addicted. From there you can begin regaining your integrity.
Whatever happens, if you don’t leave the dark wood of error, you’ll find your bad habits almost impossible to break. Eventually, they may well break you.



EXERCISE: Finding integrity in the dark wood ( from Martha Beck’s book)

Here is a simple exercise that will put your feet squarely on the way of integrity, no matter how lost you may feel. Below you’ll find a list of simple statements. Your job is to say them out loud. Whisper them privately, proclaim them to a friend, shout them at the next spam caller who interrupts your day… And just for a moment, as you say each sentence, tentatively accept that it might be true.

Now here’s the important part: as you speak each sentence, feel what happens inside you. Your pride may sting, and your inner critic may put its back up like a startled cat. But does your body relax a little, despite the apparent negativity of a given statement? Does your breath deepen? Do you feel a battle easing in your gut, your heart, your head? Just notice this. Don’t worry about what comes next.

Okay, go… 

My life isn’t perfect.

I don’t like the way things are going.

I don’t feel good.

I’m sad.

I’m angry.

I’m scared.

I’m not at peace.

I can’t find my people.

I’m not sure where to go.

I don’t know what to do.

I need help.

If you felt something settle in your body and emotions when you read one or more of the statements above, don’t ignore it. That slight relaxation is your instinctive response to hearing—and, more importantly, speaking—the truth. If you can feel it, be proud of yourself. Things aren’t perfect, but you’re awake to the fact that they’re not perfect, and that is everything. You’re reconnecting parts of yourself that have been torn apart. Bravely done. You’ve taken the first step on the way of integrity.


Are you finding yourself in the dark wood of error?

Are you finding yourself in the dark wood of error?

Needing a guide to help you find your way out of it

Not sure what the ‘problem is’

Wanting to find yourself somewhere else

Not sure how? 

I offer the first 30min FREE to discuss your journey and how I can help. 

References:

The good reads.com website https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55481231-the-way-of-integrity

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