Fear of the Dark: And other Benign Forms of Getting Lost.



What I thought was an end turned out to be middle.
What I thought was a brick wall turned out to be a tunnel. What I thought was an injustice turned out to be a color of the sky.- T. Hoagland

I was supposed to be writing, that means working on my book– except I was busy wiping the tears that had been streaming down my face since 2 AM, when I bolted straight up from a vivid dream in my dark bedroom–an omen I told myself, as I waited to see if my gut was right.

I got up and drank some tea as thoughts about how unfair life was moved from room to room in my brain. “Suck it up sister” I told myself between sobs, you aren’t the ringmaster of this circus.

Hours later….a message with the news, something my soul already knew.

So I spent most of the week in a full on knock down drag out with my God begging for the life of someone dear. My heart ached. I yelled, swore and cried at the ceiling of my sauna, the perfect place for a meltdown by the way.  I threw around some f-bombs and some other feel good swear words to get my point across, because my God gets that about me.

I cried and screamed until my lungs hurt and I ran out of tears. I had the urge to throw things and punch walls until I could no longer feel my hands. I wanted to throw myself onto the floor until my body stopped trembling.

During my tantrum I dared God to throw me down a hard sign that I was actually getting some air time. According to my review, there had not been a response to one of my prayers about this situation, not one request, not one thank you [my daily prayer] had been acknowledged, just a continuation of the universe fucking up royally, the things that I knew to be true.

I suddenly found my 10 year-old self on my knees.


There is something undescribable about finding yourself on your knees. Everything down there becomes exquisitely exposed and comforting. Every piece of dust made itself known to me. The smell of the wood floor rose up in to meet me. The weight of my body pressed down in a gentle reassuring pat, as the sun reflected on my hands. It all became an unintended sacred journey. I talked to God quietly now about the fuck ups on that end, and how I was keeping score.

Not much gets missed while on ones knees. Sometimes we don’t recognize ourselves in the dark times until we radiate through the soles of our feet like a tender lover with a reassuring embrace.

My God isn’t perfect and while I’m not expected to be perfect, I expected it from the “divine all mighty” and that holy divine place where the universe prevails.

I don’t know when during my childhood the idea that God needed to be reliable took root, or when my trust began to slip away, probably sometime in my late 30’s. Neither is something I easily own up to, unless someone brings it up because it never feels like a safe subject– definitely not something I blurt out during a casual lunch.

“I have learned things in the dark that I could never have learned in the light, things that have saved my life over and over again, so that there is really only one logical conclusion. I need darkness as much as I need light.” – B. Taylor Brown

So here’s the deal.

I think our fear of the dark places in life is an epidemic. We are so fixated with keeping the light on in our lives that we dismiss the value of the dark times at all cost. We fall asleep in the prison of our own ideas about what life is supposed to be like- according to our plan.  We bypass reverence. We dismiss the importance of presence going straight for something to soothe us. We all have our demons of choice.   We forget we are human. We stay busy and distracted as our default.  We get caught in our expectations that refuse to accept life as it is. We want life to be a constant serving of the [unrealistic] love, light and bliss bullshit, another benign way we have gotten lost.

I knew better than to get caught up in that dangerous mindset.

There are many things greater than us and our perpetual happiness, something we couldn’t nail down if we tried. It’s all beyond our human control and transcends our understanding.  And it’s not perfect. I think reverence is fitting.   My prayers aren’t always perfect or reverent, even as I mark the unlikely places that I talk with my God.   We have gritty arguments, and call each other on our shit. There is no perfect place or way to pray.  My God has taught me to stand tall among the earthly “holy of holies” and watch my angels reach down and shut their mouths; my version of sacred activism.  I believe reverence stands in awe of every life, there are no favorites. It towers over us in encouragement to test our spiritual limits.  Presence and reverence showed up and knocked me on my ass– both reminding me of my true size in this universe.

We are all worthy of our own altar in this world.

Life is amazing, and amazing things cast shadows too.


Courage Life Spoken Out Loud Wellness

Leave a Comment

  • Sue Ann Gleason November 1, 2015, 9:31 pm

    “We are all worthy of our own altar in this world. Life is amazing, and amazing things cast shadows too.” That has to be the most powerful slice of wisdom I’ve read in a very long time. I have known those dark nights of the soul and surrendered to a goddess who is so much bigger than me. Holding you tenderly as you navigate this loss, Dana. xxoo

  • Lori November 3, 2015, 2:30 am

    Dana, my heart is heavy after reading your raw and uncensored thoughts. My words are inadequate to soothe your pain. Sending you hugs. xoxo

  • Cathy November 3, 2015, 2:27 pm

    Perhaps it’s the time of year – moving into the darkness, releasing with the autumn leaves and the metal element (lungs/colon/grief) of Chinese medicine, memories of lost loved ones – but for once I’ve actually been revelling in the despair and uncertainty of the past month. Makes me think of a story I heard recently about needing to face the shit that’s clogging our mirrors so we can truly clean it, to see (and be) ourselves. Makes me think of Kahlil Gibran’s insistence that the deeper darker times carve out more space to fill with joy. It came out in conversations I had with mothers about the importance of Hallowe’en.

    Having it be love and light all the time denies the human experience. Thank you for setting the example of how to navigate this journey with trust and grace and honesty.

  • april November 4, 2015, 5:23 am

    as i read about the grief you’ve been experiencing, especially this line “something my soul already knew,” i was immediately transported back. to my beloved mom’s diagnosis, to my strong mother’s subsequent decline, to my soul-mate mama’s eventual passing. the entire passage was the winter of my existence, and it changed my views on religion forever. i am truly sorry for your suffering, but i am grateful for your raw account that drew me into your soothing midst.

    • Dana November 4, 2015, 10:59 pm

      Thanks for the kind words April. I am not suffering I am embracing life from both light and dark. I believe it is necessary as both have equal value. It is liberating and refreshing in this fake happiness and need to project and pay attention to being perceived as never needing to dip into our shadows. XO

  • sherill November 25, 2015, 1:01 am

    Hi, I was so moved with how you really felt that time. True indeed that we are all worthy of our own altar in this world and life is so wonderful, beautiful things will always come our way. Thanks for sharing. Beautiful post.


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