Next to My Own Darkness
I have felt my own light.
What can be terribly hard to explain to anyone who is not in recovery is that I am grateful every day for my addiction. Which sounds insane to say and, possibly, especially ill advised to say out loud in public. Where others may hear me or read me and think I’ve got a fucked up relationship with destruction. But the thing is, if I had never been addicted to alcohol for years upon years, I could never have (finally) gotten sober. And to me getting sober is just another way of saying getting to the truth of myself and not running away. To stay sober is just that: to stay.
I love this time of year because autumn brings the darkness right up close. The nights are dark and clear, rich with the scent of bonfires, burning leaves, heavy wet earth as it sinks beneath the breath of the cold. There is an inextractibity of light from darkness, and darkness light. My book Luminae is an exploration of this idea, a concept coined by Carl Jung as lumen naturae, or, the light of the darkness itself. I know this a theme repeated over and over again in myriad ways but somehow it never ceases to fascinate me. That the closer we come to our shadow, the warmer the glow of our benevolent light. We are both and always have been.
As I sit with my coffee in the predawn hours, journaling, meditating, and typing away on my keyboard, I watch the dark night sky, with all of her sparkling stars and planets, fade out to powder blue morning. A golden light begins to bathe the tops of the autumn trees, blazing fires of blood orange and crimson. And I am as clear in my head as I am in my spirit. I think of all the gruesome hangovers that kept me from marvelling at this in the past. I think of the Universe which does not distinguish between night and day, dark and light. We experience these things because the earth spins around the sun. We are only human. But out there in the grand vastness, inside of the Mysterious Infinite, there is no such distinction. It is all present. It is all here and now all at once. It is all worthy. We are only divine.