Gifts of the Dark and of the Sea


I’ve had a ripped out section of a magazine page hung on my fridge for the past few years. It is a quote by photographer Giorgia Ori that reads, “The trick is to look where no one else is looking. That’s where the beauty is.”

It reminds me of a passage from On Being Human written by my life coach Jennifer Pastiloff who relays how she is always out “beauty hunting.” She says, “There are little beauties everywhere. We just have to look for them. And then when we find them, we have to keep them close….because everything always leads to something else and when you feel sad and empty and like it all means nothing, you might look out and see two shopping carts and you might remember: I just have to look, listen, and tell the truth and the beauty will be there. That’s what beauty hunting is.”

I’m in a not so ‘shiny, bright’ stage right now, and the Universe keeps popping in with messages to remind me of what Mary Oliver said in her poem “The Uses of Sorrow.” It reads:

“Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.”

I decided to make my my own little box of darkness with that ripped magazine page as homage to seeing the signs as I need them.

And the messages continued….

Figurative Diving

On Friday, I pulled the card Diving for Light from the Sacred Rebels Oracle by Alana Fairchild. I won’t transcribe the three page message of the card here, but below are some of the highlights:

“How brave you are! You are diving for light. It can be so much simpler to seek light in the heavenly, in that which is blissful, sweet, loving and kind. To look for the light in that which is dark is an advanced task that only a rebellious and brave heart will attempt…Your innermost being has evoked this situation in your life with the intention that you grow in power, wisdom and creative juice. It also wants you to experience a bold and fearless trust in life…you are actually on track and right where you need to be. Our creative process and our spiritual path go through a similar ‘turning of the wheel’…At least some of the people around you might be more attached to their fear and doubt than to their faith in your process. You don’t need to carry their fear for them. You have your own process to attend to and they can choose to be inspired by your journey, or frightened by it…we need to hold compassion and be intelligently aware so we can avoid being seduced into the trap of needing to prove ourselves or into the mistaken belief that we need to fight against darkness. It is too easy to get caught up in trying to heal the dark. Darkness just is. Recognize it when it is there and be in your compassionate heart. All you need to do is make a choice – will you stay in your heart or will you be seduced by darkness and overcome by hate and sleepiness?

Diving for light is a spiritual test and a threshold for all true creative work…It is not an easy test, but it is one that you must be ready for – otherwise it wouldn’t be coming to you now…You are learning this lesson and the uending power of compassion because you are ready for it. Feel honoured by the lesson and stay humbly centered in your powerful, rebellious heart that refused to be conquered by fear and remains faithful to love. All will be well.

There is no need to feel or to feel burdened by this work. You are being drawn into this experience so that you are ready to experience more light. To be ready for that, we must be capable of handling equal darkness. Now is the preparation, soon the celebration will follow.”

Literal Diving

I decided to just keep following what seemed to be offered up as advice from the universe. Here’s what happened next…

On Valentines Day I heeded Jen Jones Donatelli’s call to action to write love letters to strangers.

During yoga, I slipped a love note under the mat of a stranger when she was distracted and scurried out of class before anyone was the wiser.

A week later, I walked into yoga and my friend Chelsea from the back row yelled “hey, Kristina.” The woman next to her said, “wait, your name is Kristina – did you leave a valentine under my mat last week.” I smiled sheepishly. Her name is Jenny and in a few moments time, I learned that Jenny, like me, has always wanted to be certified in scuba. Lucky for us, Chelsea is a scuba instructor. Within ten minutes it was settled – we came up with a place and plan and this summer we will both achieve that dream (talks of a celebration dive in Cabo are already in the works, and I think I’ve recruited a third lol).

Post-Script: I reconnected with Chelsea in a yoga studio some 17 years after having her as a student at Baldwin-Wallace. It’s crazy to me to think of all the ways she has now become my teacher. I’m very grateful, and I am excited to see where else I can find beauty blooming in the dark.

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