One of my favorite poems by David Whyte is Sweet Darkness. It goes like this:
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 home 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.
There are many different ways this relates to life, but I want to talk specifically about how it relates to romantic and intimate relationships and the No-Man Diet. One of the things I see often when people become aware of a habit they have in relationships is they imagine they should immediately be able to break the habit and build a new one.
It is a hubris of the human condition to think that as soon as we have the awareness of a habit—we ought to just be able to change it.
There’s a deep intelligent wisdom in the body-mind in how it creates and regulates its systems. Things that might seem silly or unreasonable on the outside, are actually very intelligent—whether we realise why or not—and it’s worth having the humility to know that if it took 40 years to build it, it might take longer than a five minute insight, a weekend workshop or a month of therapy to change it.
One of the habits I see most often with women in particular is that we are unwilling to truly be alone. Even when we feel very single, there is often a part of us that is still wondering whether every person we meet is our next romantic partner, or baby-daddy, or (at the very least) might take us home for the night. We refuse to give up all the other worlds because what is underneath is a longing so deep we think it might break us.
I’ve seen many women put themselves in deeply unsatisfying, or even dangerous or situations, simply out of an unwillingness to feel the ache of their deep longing. It is too much, we desperately want to fill it. So we pretend we’re ok with filling it for just one night with this one-night partner, or this person who gives us just enough to not try for more.
It’s an enormous act of trust to neither repress the ache nor fulfill it, but simply to FEEL it. This is what I call The Lost Art of Sacred Longing. Paradoxically, it is actually in feeling the ache that our deepest fulfillment comes from. This is the true freedom David Whyte is speaking of. This is Sacred Sovereignty.
If you’re a single woman and interested in exploring any of these themes in more detail, check out the 12 week online course I created around this process—The No-Man Diet.
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