in the Dark
We do not know why suffering comes into anyone’s life. Or why the heart so easily breaks. Many theories claim to know, like “The heart was made for breaking.” But no one really knows. We do, however, know one thing. Kindness heals. When we open to the grief of pain and loss with kindness, we begin to heal.
Wisdom teachings promise even more. That when we feel most lost, broken and alone, we are primed to become more real. When we are hurting, masks take too much effort. They begin to fall away. That is, if we bring acceptance and kindness to our pain — the last thing we feel like doing!
How do we “find heart in the dark”?
After decades of practice, it still surprises me. Whenever I make that turn to befriend my suffering, an uncanny intelligence emerges to help. This is what I mean by “finding heart in the dark”. Strength emerges from the suffering itself. That strength of acceptance encourages the healing grief to flow. Like a magic elixir, acceptance unleashes the denial. Then, anger and tears, hurt and fear can waft easily through me. A beautiful releasing.
Many of my greatest delights and deepest suffering have come through relationship. When we love big, we need to learn to grieve big, too! While it has been relationship that brings me to my knees, we are all different. And so many different things can take us down to this testing ground of loss and pain. A scary diagnosis, chronic illness, major disappointments, financial crisis, depression or prolonged grief for unknown reasons — most anything can trigger a drop into a “dark night of the soul.”
The reasons matter less than the descent itself. However the shock of loss strikes, we can learn not to run. We can lean into the shattering: of our plans, our dreams, our loves, our neatly arranged lives. When we do our part, Grace answers back with the light we need. We discover, there, right in our darkest places, a small, unfathomable miracle —the heart of abiding Love calling us home…
Resources on this site
When we are in pain, grief or overwhelm, every instinct wants to drive us to distractions, to push the suffering away. That is why I am offering this website. To encourage anyone wrestling with grief and loss to make this rich, transformative turn towards the pain. I hope some of the resources on this site will help you dive with more confidence and curiosity into whatever darkness may surround you. Here you will find articles, links, posts, quotes, humor, and poetry that may speak to you and help you know you are not alone, that healing is possible.
I believe you will eventually find your way through the grief to the hidden treasures in the brokenness. To be trust again. To have faith in the wonder of breath and heartbeat. To feel more deeply than ever the astonishment of being here at all. To feel gentleness and kindness for yourself… and for anyone you still want to release from your world.
After a bewildering abandonment from a long-time relationship, I searched for answers. But I found little support for what I was going through. Flashbacks, hyper-vigilance, bouts of tears and more tears, Obsessive replays of the abandonment, sleeplessness, weight loss. It all went on so long, and seemed to worsen with time.
Gradually, I realized I was in the throes of PTSD—the often unrecognized legacy of abandonment and betrayal. With no intention of ‘writing a book’, I started writing down what I felt as a kind of channel of support flowing to me from a wiser mind. With time, I felt a deep need to share what I was learning. Maybe what I was learning could help others get through this ordeal more quickly. After four years of deep-diving loving labor, Love and the Mystery of Betrayal came into being.
My earlier book Embrace of the Daimon offers an exploration of, the often taboo, daimonic imaginal realm. When these confusing imaginal creatures of the night came to me, I also began to write. I did not know they were leading me to explore the home of the archetypes — inner spaces between body and spirit. Set in Jungian terms, originally for my dissertation, this book may not appeal to the everyday reader. Still, it has developed an enthusiastic following among students of imaginal realms, shadow psychology, alchemy, goddess imagery, and women’s issues.
I am grateful that both these books have been recognized with literary awards.