May 3 David Whyte – praise for the holy dark

Wednesday, May 3 –

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

I think I began to appreciate darkness as an ally in 1968, living in Oglala, South Dakota with Luke and Rose Weasel Bear.   I had asked them if I could live with them for c. 6 weeks so they could teach me about how many Lakota people lived, could teach me some wisdom.  They had no electricity or running water;  we hauled the water and went to bed soon after the sun set.  11 miles down the road was “The Mission,”  our K-12 boarding school where I had already learned many life lessons — how to challenge students with respect and affection while they lived through a young person’s hope and sweet energy interwoven with waves of anger and despair.   The mission was, as schools go, poor (sometimes you lived with a broken toilet, or a broken window, for weeks — things like that).  We did our teaching and learning on shoestring budgets.   But seen from Luke and Rose’s little family camp, the mission was staggeringly wealthy;  running water in every building, electricity, regular, healthy food in the girls’ and boys’ dining rooms.  The cars and trucks had five tires each and got fixed when they broke down.   {“ . . . .  I had asked them if I could live with them for c. 6 weeks so they could teach me how many Lakota people lived, could teach me their wisdom. . . .”}

That’s where I learned, too, that the hour or so before real dark, the dim light of dusk, could open my soul to my own sorrows and wounds, just standing still on a shallow hill as the light left the land and opened itself to the holy dark.   That’s probably why David Whyte is one of the poets who help me to keep renewing my long-term kinship with the holy dark, at least on my good days.  On crazy days, I run around wired and edgy.   Best to read his poem out loud, with pauses.

Mid-week after final exams on the McNichols Campus.   Have a blest day and week.

john sj

 

Today’s Post  “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.

– “Sweet Darkness” by David Whyte, House of Belonging

sunset, about 7 miles south of where Luke and Rose lived,  between Oglala and Calico

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