How a Journey into the Underworld Brought Me Home at Last

Down town Glenorchy

by Kara-Leah GrantMusings from the Mat

I’m leaving Wellington soon, and part of my impending shift down south to Glenorchy is about wiping the slate clean.

Starting fresh.

Letting go of everything, and then allowing back in only what truly matters.

People keep asking; ‘Are you moving down for good?’

Good? What does that mean?

I know I’m going for a couple of months. After that… who knows? I don’t know what will arise in these two months.

This is the letting go. This is the opening. This, it is surrender.

Eight years ago, to the week, I returned to my Mum’s house in Glenorchy under very different circumstances.

A week out of a psych ward, two weeks out of being dumped by my fiance, and I was a wreck. Then, I came home feeling like an abject failure, buried under all kinds of aspects of Self I’d successfully stuffed away in the basement of my psyche for the eight years I’d been a carefree traveller.

Coincidentally, or not, I had returned home to my mother’s house exactly eight years to the day since I’d flown out of New Zealand.

Two eight year cycles. And each so different. I have this sense that those eight years of traveling overseas were like an external quest, seeking out that within the material world which resonated with me. In seeking the external, I denied the internal and it ended in implosion.

The second eight year cycle was fronting up to the internal quest, and facing the demons and shadows of the underworld within.

I’ll arrive back in the same physical place as eight years ago, but it won’t be the same. Eight years ago, I couldn’t bear to be in Glenorchy because I couldn’t bear to be with myself. There’s very little to distract oneself in the middle of those mountains, in a town of 400. Now, I’m so excited to have space, surrounded by mountains and lake and forest.

Then, I fled Glenorchy as soon as I could – heading to Auckland hunting fame and fortune as a writer. I lasted barely a month as the compounded grief of my year caught up with me and threatened to drown me in tears. So I fled south again, this time to my grandparents’ house in Blenheim. There, comforted by routines and furniture and ways of being that hadn’t changed since I was a child, I allowed myself to grieve.

That time in my life was almost unbearable. I have snippets of journal I’ve kept, snippets where I cry out to God, begging for release, for mercy, to feel a smidgen better, to have a day without tears.

When will this end, when will this end, when will this end, oh God, please let it end. Anything, anything to not be here, anywhere but here, please, anywhere but here. I can’t bear it, I can’t be here, I can’t.

But I could.

And I did.

And I see now that it wasn’t the circumstances of my life that undid me, but my own undeveloped character, and my resistance to what was, and what it told me about who I was.

That, and the ideas I had about how I was meant to be and my ideas about how life was meant to be. That’s what really undid me. I undid me. But in the un-doing, I created an opportunity for myself to emerge.

When the iron is placed in the fire and heated, how it must scream with the agony.

When the red hot iron is beat, and beat, and beat, how it must scream with the agony.

When the sword is put to work, doing that which it was born for, how it must glory in it’s existence.

To be all that we are, to release the hidden depths of our character, to allow our potential to arise… we too must face the fires of our lives. We too must bear the beatings of our circumstances. And like the sword that emerges, so too do we arise, born anew as all that we are.

Perhaps this is all that life is – an opportunity to reveal our glory.

And when we avoid and deny and run away from the difficult and the turbulent and the nasty and the awful, we do ourselves a grave injustice. We run away from our own glory.

Next Sunday, I go home. Not just to a physical home, but home to me. To where I’ve always been and where I’ll always be. From that place, all else will arise. Nothing to do. Nowhere to go. Nothing to fix.

Home at last.

(Anyone else notice I keep saying that? Article after article… at different times, in different places, Home at last. Another layer shed. Another deepening. Another arriving.)


There I am.


And you? Where are you?

For the Astro-Geeks among you… this eight year cycle has also coincided with the eight year Venus Transit cycle. 

From an astrological perspective, Venus represents the emotional energies in our relationships with others. When Venus eclipsed the Sun [in 20004], it blocked some of the Sun’s light and exposed the dark side of Venus, which represents the shadow side of our emotional natures. This began an eight-year process of uncovering the shadows in our emotional relationships.

These shadows are the unresolved, repressed, fear-based psychological energies that unconsciously cause dysfunctional and unhappiness in our relationships. They cause us to behave in ways that undermine our relationships, block intimacy, and cause breakdowns in communications. Essentially, these shadows block our ability to truly love another person. Astrology with Govinda

And yes, I’ve spent the last eight years examining the unresolved, repressed, fear-based psychological energies that unconsciously caused dysfunction and unhappiness in my relationships…


  1. Kara-Leah Grant says

    Hey Mike,

    We separated when Samuel was a year old. It’s been a challenging situation, involving the Family Court, so I’ve chosen not to speak publicly about it so as to honour both of our perspectives on the situation.

  2. Mike says

    Hello Kara Leah
    Every child needs his father… Especially little boys…. I feel sorry for him… You are an intelligent, beautiful perceptive lady, I would imagine your son is to…,, lawyers and legal systems are at there best an arse that chokes society… I feel very sorry for you

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Mike,

      Yes, fathers are very important for children. Please don’t feel sorry for me – there is nothing to be sorry about. Life is as it is, and we rise to do the best we can with the circumstances we find ourselves in – who knows what may come as we met each unfolding moment with the fullness of our being?

  3. Racheal says

    I agree with mike, I feel sorry for you!!! You always sound so miserable…. I would imagine you made a conscious decision to have this child, what of the father? Is he involved in the upbringing of this child while you run home to mum?

    • Natalia says

      I feel sorry for YOU, Racheal, and your apparent need to make comments such as this (I always think that, when people sound so bitter and judgemental towards someone without any facts or need to be, that there must be something wrong in their own lives and soul).

      Kara-Leah – thank you for an inspirational, beautiful post.

      • Kara-Leah Grant says


        I appreciate the intention behind your comment – however, like with Racheal and Mike, there is no need to defend either.

        As always with dialogue on The YLB, it’s tricky to find the space to hear and understand where another is coming from, without needing to further inflame or feed into any idea of ‘us and them’. Together, we’re exploring the way we relate to reality.

        Some may find what I write miserable.

        Some may find it inspirational.

        Neither of these findings have any bearings on what is actually offered, but are merely show the filters through which the offerings are perceived. And these ‘filters’, or personalities, are not who we truly are either…

        Ah down the rabbit hole we go!

  4. Kara-Leah Grant says


    As with Mike, no need to feel sorry for me, there is no ‘always misery’ in this life.

    I make no mention of my child, or his father in this article, so am bemused by the sudden comments arising about both. As the detail and history of our circumstances require far more than the space afforded by comments, and would require my ex-partner having as much space to share his perspective, I shall remain silent on this topic.

    It is a delicate balance, as always – how to be authentic and true, sharing my life and it’s challenges, while being mindful of the other people in it. Perhaps in time, this will change, and I will be able to write about this time, and these circumstances. Not now though.

  5. Carmen says

    Kara-Leigh, your article made me cry. I don’t feel sorry for you, but I have empathy and compassion for you. And I applaud you for being open and honest. I can relate, in some ways. I stopped writing my blog some time ago when my life changed drastically because I didn’t want to sound negative, and I’ve been encouraged by many to start up my blog again. I was told that I shouldn’t hesitate to write about what is real … that it will help others.

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Carmen,

      I’ve been pondering the difference between feeling sorry for someone, and having empathy or compassion for someone… because it does feel different for me,

      I wonder if when we feel ‘sorry’ for someone, it’s a subtle disempowerment of their true Self, as we are putting ourselves above them, oh so slightly, by suggesting they’re a victim of something. I know this is not what we intend… feeling sorry is a way to offer pity right? And many people like being felt ‘sorry’ for, as it allows them to take something from the person who’s offering the pity… it feeds their victimhood. This is a normal way of being… we don’t often stop to question it and examine the energetic dynamics at play.

      So Mike, Racheal and Carmen, together you’ve created an opportunity to examine the differences between all these ways of relating. An opportunity to inquire beneath the surface…

      As for your blog Carmen… forget the voice of Others and tune into your own Voice. What do you WANT to do? What would feel open and light and joyous for you?

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