There’s an African Proverb that says: “If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm.”
My translation is this: You can’t be a warrior of light while actively choosing to remain scared of your own shadow.
For each of us, our stories—the ones we are born into and the ones we manufacture in order to cope, albeit, in unhealthy ways—cast a certain amount of darkness. On the spectrum of pain, they register as moderate to severe with the potential to leaving us writhing in pain, paralyzed with the quiet inertia of our fears. As a child, while lying in bed after watching a movie that did violence to my imagination, a jacket hanging on the door or a figurine on my dresser reflecting just the right amount of moonlight through the window’s blinds and curtains turned the benign into the malignant, creating ghoulish shadows that gave me nightmares. However, my nighlight was my secret weapon as it turned the night into day. Though soft in brightness, its lumens illuminated the room, but more importantly, it enlightened me internally and taught me how to distinguish between light and illusion.
None of us have to succumb to neither the dull or throbbing pain of our past or our present.
In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”