“You cannot find peace by avoiding life.” –The Hours

Virginia Woolf’s life was intertwined with mental illness. Depression and anxiety were her constant companions. Even so, she is a well known writer and influencer of the 20th century who remains relevant to this day. Her creative works reflected her struggles with illness and mental health issues while, at the same time, grounded her in life and gave her passion and purpose.

Virginia valued human dignity as well as her independence as a woman. She was passionate about using her own voice in regards to her mental health conditions, not allowing the dictates of others to be the final word. She wanted to choose how and where she lived, and how she managed the ways her mental health issues effected her. She said, “I wrestle alone in the dark, the deep dark. And, only I can know – only I can understand my own condition.”

Avoiding life will not bring us peace. For everyone, the “brutal and beautiful” reside together – always. Do you see it? The brutality of Virginia’s illnesses intertwined with the beauty of her creativity, passion, and purpose. The effects of her mental illnesses certainly did take a toll on her, and eventually led to her death. Yet, those same mental illnesses were part of what made her works so masterful! She did not avoid life; she fought for it, created through it, and left a legacy for us today.

Are you seeing both aspects of brutal and beautiful in your own life? Virginia encouraged her husband, Leonard, with these words, “Always look life in the face and know it for what it is; at last to really know it – to love it for what it is. Always (remember) the years, always the love, always the hours.”

To truly look life in the face, it’s necessary to get to know oneself. To face life now for “what it is,” not what we wish it to be. We take an honest look inside ourselves and, with healing, we have the opportunity to apply self love and recognize that even amidst the brutal, beauty resides always!

Are you seeing it in your own life? If not, please open yourself to Love and the eyes of your heart will be opened to see!

Cheri Thomas

Cheri works as a Peer Support Specialist for RI in Arizona. She has experienced loss and grief which has led her to write for the masses to bring voice to those in similar situations. Cheri possesses a deep passion to share with, encourage, and inspire others on what she calls the Journey of the Heart.