Ripples #1079: Enlightened Demons

Ripples #1079: Enlightened Demons
Jan 26, 2020


Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.
-August Wilson, shared by Sam in Lubbock, TX via


The ghosts we all live with as we age, I used to be scared of them. But now they’re old friends. They reveal to us how in the value of life, the preciousness of time, and the necessity of love: all is forgiven.
-Bruce Springsteen, shared by Molly in Philadelphia, PA (who scribbled these words down when The Boss spoke them in between sets at a concert)


My year started off with a triumphant return to Rowan University, where I’ve enjoyed firing up students and staff many times over the last two decades. This trip included a pep talk to the student affairs staff as well as a longer training for the residence life team. In both presentations we touched on the importance of self care for people who work in the helping professions, particularly the often neglected (and yet sooooo important) component of mental health / emotional well-being.

For many of us, that includes working with a therapist to courageously examine some of the unpleasant “stuff” that lurks in the darker corners of our minds. I’m always quick to share that there have been several times in my life that seeing a counselor has helped me feel better and think better and do better. As a huge bonus, I’ve gained practical tools that have proved useful in many aspects of my work and life.

While I like the August Wilson quote above enough to include it as today’s pebble, I’ve lately shifted away from trying to “banish” my shadows, and instead worked to befriend them. It’s just easier, and more worthwhile. Among the greatest lessons I’ve learned from both Star Wars and Hogwarts is that there is light and darkness is all of us.

If you’ve grown tired of wrestling with demons, you might consider getting help so you can listen to them without conceding, respect them without letting them run wild, and tame them without trying to control them. You may even discover that some of your demons are more accurately seen as misunderstood angels, hoping to be healed and eager to be part of your wholeness.

The Ripples Guy

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