New Years is a great time for reflecting back and looking forward. As I do a bit of that today, its clear that the last year has been one of darkness. But, as the poet David Whyte says, there is a place for darkness – even a sweetness.
Sweet Darkness by David Whyte
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
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
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.
I know that in this dark hour, I have found new depth and meaning in many of the day-to-day tasks to which I have devoted myself. And I think I see the world more clearly now than I ever did when I thought there was light.
Sometimes I wonder if we are preparing to change things for the better or to survive as things get worse. Lately I have found wonderful solace in the words below. They have been attributed to Hopi Elders, but that is in dispute. No matter their source, I think they hold great wisdom.
You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour.
Now you must go back and tell the people that this is The Hour.
Here are the things that must be considered:
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know our garden.
It is time to speak your Truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.
This could be a good time!
There is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid.
They will try to hold on to the shore.
They will feel like they are being torn apart, and they will suffer greatly.
Know the river has its destination.
The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off toward the middle of
keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water.
See who is there with you and celebrate.
At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally,
least of all ourselves!
For the moment we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.
The time of the lonely wolf is over.
Banish the word struggle from your attitude and vocabulary.
All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
We are the ones we have been waiting for.
I know that the idea of letting go of the shore and banishing the word “struggle” feel like an impossibility right now with so many in pain. But don’t most of our sacred teachings say the same thing? How are we going to bring the light if we spend all our time focusing on the darkness? There is some ancient mystery in the idea of surrender that seems to open up possibilities that otherwise would not appear.
I think this “shore” that we need to let go of is the one that keeps insisting that gaining power in the traditional ways it’s been held will somehow enable us to make things better. Maybe the flow of the river can teach us more about how to be responsive to and responsible for each other and the world in a way we haven’t seen before.
Our Native brothers and sisters have alot to teach us in how to weather the storm. In their generosity, they continue to share their wisdom … if we’ll listen.