At this dark post-election time, when fear, division, and uncertainty abound in our country, there is a natural tendency to either lash out in protective reactive mode or else retreat and hide in helpless and overwhelm mode. But there is another choice – to stop and breathe, summon up our inner resources – foremost among them being courage – and face the darkness with renewed light. So I take much heart and inspiration from these wise words by John O’Donohue, the great Irish poet and Celtic spiritual teacher. And many thanks to a loving friend, for sending them to me.

“For Courage” by  John O’Donohue

When the light around you lessens
And your thoughts darken until
Your body feels fear turn
Cold as a stone inside,

When you find yourself bereft
Of any belief in yourself
And all you unknowingly
Leaned on has fallen,

When one voice commands
Your whole heart,
And it is raven dark,

Steady yourself and see
That it is your own thinking
That darkens your world

Search and you will find
A diamond-thought of light,

Know that you are not alone
And that this darkness has purpose
Gradually it will school your eyes
To find the one gift your life requires
Hidden within this night-corner.
Invoke the learning
Of every suffering
You have suffered.

Close your eyes
Gather all the kindling
About your heart
To create one spark.
That is all you need
To nourish the flame
That will cleanse the dark
Of its weight of festered fear.

A new confidence will come alive
To urge you towards higher ground
Where your imagination
Will learn to engage difficulty
As its most rewarding threshold!