Monday, January 16, 2012

Gifts of the Dark Night

If nature can handle the destruction and reconstruction
 of a caterpillar into a butterfly, 
why shouldn't I surrender and trust
 that it can handle what is happening to me?
~John Moriarity 
The book I've been reading, Dark Nights of the Soul by Thomas Moore, has been serious food for this soul. I find myself wondering if it's possible for a book to change one's life, and my answer is I truly think so. A book, a poem or quote or song, an offhand remark, coming at the right time, when by some grace there is even a crack in the veneer, can, indeed, shift things substantially.

I can't say that it has cured me. Obviously, since as I read it, I slipped again farther into the darkness. But I can say that I now have a container in which to hold this experience. One that helps give me patience and tolerance. One that adds depth and meaning, that offers sustenance, hope even, and that provides a sense of understanding, without having an actual clue why, this might possibly be happening.

I have learned that this is a journey of the spirit and soul, as much as, if not more than it is of brain chemistry, circumstance, lifestyle, or genetics. I have re-learned what I've known for a long, long time but had lost sight of; that we live in a world that is myopic and lacks balance, a "solar" world, where light and brightness and happiness are valued over the lunar, which is dark, inward, still, mysterious, fertile. Where pain is avoided, where quick fixes and the hero's outward and upward journey are both preferential to the slow, deep, internal burn necessary for true transformation and rebirth. In short, we live in a world that values the yang, but not so much the yin. And if you've dappled at all in eastern spirituality or philosophy, or for that matter simple gardening, you know that there must always be a balance. That life cannot, does not thrive when it's out of whack. We only have to look around at our world to see how true that is.

Already I am glimpsing gifts from this dark night. I am reconnecting with parts of myself that through no fault or blame have been lost along the way. I have turned to creativity, some days as the only possible way to get through the next moment, and see my vision and art evolving in a way that I could not have imagined. For these things, I am grateful, if not for the dark night itself, and maybe even that is around some invisible corner I've just not quite yet arrived at.

Thomas Moore says it better than I could ever hope to~

The black of the dark night comes from ignorance, not knowing what is happening and where life is taking you. The only choice... is to remain in the present, not bound or deluded by the past, and not imprisoned in a fixed and defensive idea about the future. The worm has to let the transmutation take place. It would do no good for him to plan his wingspan and colors or to wish to remain in the snug safety of the tiny world he has known. The most difficult challenge is to let the process take place, and yet that is the only release from the pressure of the dark night. 


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  2. Love your new? blog banner and loved reading this post too. Books, creativity ... can be so helpful and I know exactly what you mean by honouring Moore's book. It's lying on my bedtable as well as I have been suffering quite a lot for some weeks because of my health situation: only read his chapter about illness and his view on it and on how hospitals could look like, and I felt really understood.
    Love your most recent creations dear Debby and hope you will find some balance and harmony soon!
    Take good care!

  3. Thank you, Dear Elke. Keep me posted on the book. For me, it is like a gold mine... and would love to know how it fits for you as you venture further into it. Big Love.


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