A Quaker woman once described the silence in Quaker worship as the time “you were to go inside yourself and greet the light” (Vecchione, Writing and the Spiritual Life).
Writing, for me, is a similar moment in time and place to go within myself. I find it helps me to put all the pieces of my life in their proper order. I feel better after an extended period of attentive writing: lighter, refreshed, content. I don’t always feel like I am “greeting the light”, but I feel like I am at least making room for the light within, clearing out some of the darkness that shadows it.
Journal writing for me is often about paying attention to the dark, making the darkness within (and without) less frightening and more normal, which helps it to fall away. May Sarton, in her memoir Journal of a Solitude, quotes Jung: “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious”.
Putting pen to paper helps move me into a place of integrated wholeness. In that grounding, I am, if only temporarily, more open and responsive to the wider world. Writing is a creative response to the divine mystery of living. It helps me be open to the beauty and wonder and spirit present in the everyday; it helps me to be curious and delighted by life.
This week we will explore our struggles with the dark. Spend at least 10 minutes writing in a quiet place. Light a chalice before you begin and take a minute to breath before beginning. See this post for details of the practice. If you begin with the image of darkness and find your writing goes somewhere very different, let yourself follow. If after 10 minutes, you have more to write, please continue.
Theme: The Dark
Describe the dark. What does it look like? Does it have a sound? A smell? What does the dark feel like? Where is it located? How do you feel about the dark? What scares you about the dark? If your fear is strong, spend some time examining that fear. Where does the fear come from? Can the dark also be friendly? What do you appreciate about the dark?