The Secret Life of Darkness*

art above is a beautiful gift from rain, created by messycanvas

Sweet Darkness

When your eyes are tired the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark where the night has eyes to recognize its own.

There you can be sure you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your womb tonight.

The night will give you a horizon further than you can see.

You must learn one thing: the world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn

anything or anyone that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

~ David Whyte ~ (House of Belonging)

I am so grateful to this beautiful soul in my life. For offering this quote by David Whyte at a time when I needed to meet these words and this truth.

Ahhh. The idea that the cocoon, the darkness I have surrendered to the past few years has been a WOMB shifted everything for me.

Moving to the Pacific Northwest meant a new beginning for me in many layered ways. I chose this as a time to strip myself slowly of that which didn't bring me life and the figuring out of why it didn't and what truly does bring life was a unexpectedly painful process. My pulling back and peeling layers was nothing personal to anyone or anything. It was all me and my own soul work, all inward and inner. My intentions were to live more in the present, in the flesh and learn to not rely so deeply on online connections for attention, validation, and ego strokes. To relearn how to feel LOVED and worthy and purposeful in my silence. It was full of ache and loneliness. It almost felt like a detox of sorts. Yet it was also very FREEing to create and honor such a simplicity around me. I know this type of lone-quest is not for everyone, nor needed by everyone. It was just what it took for an empath like me to hush the noise and be naked and pure about my choices. To live intentionally, inspired by my own intentions and not influenced by others feelings about me or outside of me. I was quiet and nourished in this womb and the rebirthing process is beginning. I am surfacing with a deeper awareness of boundaries needed to protect my heart and what surrounds me and my family and acceptance of my sensitivities and needs and those of my family. Acceptance of self. Oh, that's a big one for me.

These words specifically from David Whyte spoke to it all for me; "Give up all the other worlds except the one to which you belong. Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn..."

Sigh. Yes, oh yes. My aloneness. My quest of unbelonging, which is leading me to my belonging.

I am forever grateful to those that stood near me in my silence, who saw the vastness of my heart and met me in my own quiet, along with their own quiet, each in our own wombs, aware of the other but with no expectations. This woman below is one of them.

My soul-friend Rain, wrote these words for me, for all of you, may you soak them in and let them marinate as a New Year begins:


all images by rain

Winter's dark casts long shadows over a reluctant dawn. I am soaked in laconic light. I write these words within days of December's solstice, always grateful for year's end, this quiet space for reflection and closure. The past twelve months have been my own kind of (soul)stice, the gift of one long, dark night designed to heal me from what I always feared most.

That's what darkness has become for me. Healing.

We are conditioned to consider darkness as something to run from. To avoid. We think of it as the opposite of light, in terms of good versus evil, or horror versus bliss. I grew up with a crippling kind of Dark in the form of deep, abiding fear. At a very young age it became the bread I tasted, the water flooding my cells, the breath I inhaled and held. Fear of God and man. Fear of myself. My future. Fear of the wayward longings of my heart and even my heart itself. It was the kind of fear, I wrote once, that picks apart everything sacred and beautiful until nothing holy remains.

Our life history shapes what darkness means. Our stories shape what haunts us. But darkness doesn't have to be scary, and when reach the end of all we know, perhaps the end of ourselves, we discover the most surprising thing of all: that this darkness? The vast unknown? Everything we're frightened of, the thing we construct our lives around to avoid?

All. Gift.

Let the sun fall in your cupped hand. Today be only this: the thing that holds the light. ~ Shawnacy Kiker

My humble, gentle, you-can-do-this secret

The truth is, all life begins in the dark.

What is a cocoon, but a dark place of protection, safety, and transformation?

What is solstice, but a place of reflection and rest?

What is the earth, but a dark place for germination of seed?

All darkness is a womb if we allow it to be. And what is a womb, but a hollow space for light?

What healed me from fear also healed my heart from an intensely negative concept of darkness. It became a brilliant invitation to my own awakening, and I? Witness to my own birth. You can do this too, love. I will tell you how:

  • Take a deep breath.
  • Exhale.
  • Gather moonlight and spirit. We all need a little magic.
  • Nourish your heart with the bread of comm(unity).
  • Pack the hollow spaces in your bones with deep, divine Love.
  • Drench your cells with the water of life.
  • Your guides are Truth and Spirit but the journey is yours alone. Kiss your feet, place your soles on the earth. Let your toes become alive.
  • Go there.
  • Yes, there.
  • Go. There.

Whatever it is you fear most, whatever your darkness means to you, whatever haunts you and desperately needs healing, move directly into it.

You can do this. You are stronger than you know. Life is on the other side.

Everything you want

is on the other side of fear.

George Addair

I chose unafraid as my word for 2012 and it was only when I embraced for the first time my reality of fear did I begin the arduous yet hopeful task of healing it. Because, truthfully? Fear means this matters. Fear says, this is meaningful to your deepest self. Fear is a wise old woman who knows us better than we know ourselves and who can help guide us home. She tells us, wherever I am, dig deep here. Right here. This is where you need to be. Pay attention. Fear is like an internal systems analyst adjusting her heavy black framed glasses and speaking soft through bold red lips: darling, this is really really really important and you are dizzy and sick because the whole universe of you hangs by a tender silver thread and anyone could come by and whisk it away like they were brushing a spider web off their face. It is that vulnerable.

And when fear's panicked fury subsides and we take deep, shaky breaths, when we bravely melt into the shuddering silence after a storm, this is when we discover something new and wholly unexpected: we find, all along the dark and pummeled seashore of our tender earth-selves, the most radiant, moon-holy of pearls. Rain-soaked and gleaming.

But before we can find them, we must listen.

Darkness is the most sacred portal to life. To become vibrantly alive, leaping from a flat page of black and white into a world of vivid color ~ colors we can taste, breathe, savor ~ we must listen to the secrets of darkness. Remember this, the next time you look around and see no light.

For what is faith, but a journey through the dark?

And I promise you, love, that the day will come. You will, in the words of Rilke, break into being. In the words of a dear friend and favorite poet, that day will come, when

the fear-voice grows small like an echo or a photograph from atop a distant hill 50 years ago,

and when the joy, and the life voice grow strong and near and full of strange woven music - turbulent and prophetic.

from Anthem, by Shawnacy Kiker

Fear, like darkness, has a quiet voice, a grown up kind. And our darkness has something to say, all whispery with promises and barely there:

Honey, can you hold on?

Because if you sit with me a while, I will teach you something sacred.