The Hobart

The Dark or The Light

by Annia Baron
The Dark or The Light

A wise woman lives in the deep south, close to the sea. It is said that she is blessed by the Gods and that her words are passed on from generation to generation. People from all over the world seek her knowledge.

Hopeful and eager, they ask the same question, “What is the secret to happiness?” She answers with a story: “Like a fish in the sea, the woman’s body appears to be flowing through water. Her whole being is in a dreamlike, aqueous state. With a round, protruding belly, it is clear she is moments from birthing. Her arms are strong and inflamed. She summons her intrepid ancestors and dances with her spine bending back and forth. As her voice bellows, her belly splits open and the outpour of magnificence begins. It commences with a vivid prism of colour. From inside her womb, myrtle trees and eucalypts emerge, striking wild natives grow, and exotic birds fly. A luminous glow swirls with sweet melodies and the sound of laughter. There are pink-orange sunsets, glistening waterholes, infinite stars, and all things of effervescence – like a phantasmagoria of everything that our consciousness desires. More and more comes. Astonishing. And then, the opposite. What begins seeping through is the darkest gore imaginable. Out slither blackened, eye-less snakes. Rotting disfigurations. The noise of slaughter and screeching. There’s blood, death, horror, disease, suffering, and all that should never be seen by a child. It pours out of her. It is terrifying and yet the birthing mother isn’t frightened. She wraps everything in cloth and brings it to her bosom.”

The wise storyteller ends with, “You will forever know happiness, if you understand which one you are – the dark or the light.” As a collective, we tend to have a dichotomous perspective. “I’m either happy or sad.” “I’m either a success or I’m a failure.” “That was either good or bad.” We separate things in this way because it provides cognitive stability. After all, if an object is both wet and dry, that’s confusing. If something is both short and tall, our mind doesn’t know how to make sense of it. Similarly, when it comes to emotionally messy experiences, our brain wants to put a definitive label on it. When we’re overwhelmed, procrastinating, and lacking motivation, it’s easier to categorise that into “I don’t have my s**t together.” When we find ourselves making mistakes, being irritable, and opting for fast, processed foods, it makes sense to surmise, “I’m not doing what I should.” We equate unhelpful behaviours with the opposite of happiness, and so, we conclude that because, “I’m feeling sad (low, down, blue etc.,), I’m not happy.”

But what if we taught ourselves to understand that happiness is not whether I am this or that, but rather, happiness is knowing that I am both. Thoughts such as “I’m weak,” “I’m so stressed out” or “I’m not good enough” could be extended to capture a more realistic evaluation, such as “I don’t’ feel strong right now AND I am doing brave things” or “I’m feeling depleted AND I have inner strength” or “I’m stressed AND I am safe.” The benefit of combining these opposites is that we stop placing pressure on ourselves to be just one thing at a time. We learn to hold opposing truths that can be experienced simultaneously and free ourselves from being confined to one category (or feel bad when we think we’re in the wrong one). This way, emotions become fluid and expansive. We accept that joy may sometimes invite a sense of sadness. Courage may elicit uncertainty. Grief can give rise to release, and happiness is not necessarily separate from its opposite.

The wise woman asks again, “Which are you? The dark or the light?” “I’m the light?”, the seeker responds. “No, my friend,” she says. “You are the one that births it all.” “Take it to your bosom, live happy, and let me finish my cup of tea.”

REMINDERS FOR HAPPINESS

  • You are no better than anyone else and you are the most important thing under the sun.
  • Be more self-caring to care less about what doesn’t matter.
  • Learn how to quiet down in loud places.
  • What you strive for will appear when you stop trying so hard to find it.
  • The more you try to argue with someone, the less likely they’ll be convinced by your perspective.

Annia Baron is a Clinical Psychologist & Mindset Coach. Want to learn more about mindset tools to create a life you desire and deserve? Get in touch on Instagram @anniabaron or visit www.remindyourself.com

Love this

Close
Cold Water Wake Up Call
It seems everywhere I turn someone is talking about or participating in cold water swimming right now.
A Short Geelong Getaway
Since the Spirit of Tasmania terminal moved from Melbourne to Geelong late last year, a visit to Geelong has been on the radar.
27 Hobart Friends Get Snipping For One Off Wine
The borders were declared shut in Tasmania on the 30th of March, 2020; the first stare to do so amid the COVID- 19 pandemic and hard lockdown of Hobart followed.
Danphe Nepalese and Indian Food + Peppermint Bay Bar and Bistro
Nepalese food is a comfort in our house. Having spent much time trekking and mountain climbing in Nepal as a younger man, Nepalese food is something I always love to go back to.
That’s DR Hannah Gadsby To You
From Smithton to Netflix and the Emmys stage, Tasmanian stand up comic Hannah Gadsby has forged an unlikely path. Following on from the massive success of her shows Nanette and Douglas, Hannah brings her new show Body of Work to Hobart this month.
PODCAST: Incat founder Robert Clifford on why electric boats are the future
Robert Clifford is the founder of Incat, a Hobart company building fast ferries for the world. Always looking to future opportunities, he has identified where Hobart sits in the next wave of transportation. For more of this interview listen to The Hobart Magazine podcast.
Is Tourism Ready For More Forestry Wars?
Tasmanian forests are special. They’re home to centuries-old trees, including the tallest flowering trees on the planet, and support unique native species. Yet not everyone agrees on how these forests should be managed.
Hobart Chefs: When The Obsession Becomes Real
Tasmania’s brand as a foodie haven is cemented. But within the local hospitality industry there are those who love to use local produce...and those who are next-level obsessed with it. We spoke to a bunch of Hobart chefs who are top of the game when it comes to fostering relationships with local farmers and growers.
Did You Know Australia’s First Female Doctor Was Hobartian?
Tasmania, despite its small size and population in comparison to the mainland, has produced more than its proportionally predicted percentage of significant figures and heroes of Australian history. 
Return Travellers Adding Pressure to Hobart Housing
For all of us 2020 was a year like no other, punctuated by rapid change and plenty of new challenges. For vulnerable people in Tasmania, including people facing homelessness, those on low incomes and those facing increasingly higher rents, it was very challenging. We are seeing a growing demand for homes in Tassie from international travellers returning home, people moving for work and others seeking the lifestyle that our Apple Isle has to offer.
Magazine
AboutContributeAdvertiseNewsletter Sign UpContact
February 2024

Stay up to date with everything happening at the Hobart Magazine.

Thank you to Luke Brokensha for mobilising his friends and local residents recently to host two rubbish clean ups along the Hobart Rivulet after heavy rains.
The warm weather returns...hello summer.
Need a laugh? Check out @theinspiredunemployed feed on Instagram.
Moto Vecchia Cafe in Bellerive and Czegs Cafe in Richmond have joined the Clarence City Council dementia program, creating dementia-friendly spaces for all patrons.
It’s hard to believe it’s not standard practice to have a working phone in every aged care room - shared phones make private conversations impossible and increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Tacks on the tracks. Mountain bikers beware of tacks being left on certain tracks on the mountain.
Just when you think your cousins are alright. NZ Opposition Leader Judith Collins took aim at Tassie during her recent (unsuccessful) campaign, calling us Australia’s “poor cousin.” She also seems worried about us nabbing tech businesses, “It’s a lovely part of the world but do you necessarily want to go there with your high- tech business? Possibly not,” she said. We beg to differ!