Daylight of the Soul
What is this light? What is this glorious burning?
I am really struggling with my words.
It feels a bit awkward to just jump in, but I don't know how else to start talking about it. Not too long ago I went through a profound spiritual awakening that has hijacked my life, shattering all that was and leaving me not even wanting to pick up the pieces. Every element of life has been affected. Even when it comes to my work—other than offering my self-guided programs Dear Artist, DIY Design, and Inkstains & Alchemy, I feel like I'm at a complete standstill with all I had planned for this year.
I feel like I need to re-learn everything—how to be, how to go through each day, how to write. (Forget the internet advice for bloggers or entrepreneurs to “show up consistently”—I can't even pretend to be consistent anymore.)
Some spiritual experiences are like fireworks that burst into the dark and then fade or simmer into a manageable burn. This allows for some sense of life-carries-on and normal functioning. This one has not stopped or slowed down; instead, it has grown stronger and more intense than ever. It is heavy. All-consuming. It feels like a dark night of the soul—only it isn't; I've been there before. Often. I've done my time in the shadowlands and know them well. But this is not that. There is no descent; there is no dark. There is weight, there is intensity, there are tears and unknowings and being emptied out—but there is Light, so much light, and fullness, and depth and life.
I don't know what is being birthed right now.
I don't know what to do with it all, except to keep going.
My spirituality has always been a deep and intimate part of who I am, and a living wild thing. I grew up extremely conservative and then entered a long season of space and exploration, full of questioning, unraveling, and unbecoming. I experimented with labels—trying them on, peeling them off. I called myself “spiritual, not religious.” I called myself a “mystic” and then “Christian mystic.” And then nothing, because no word seemed to be true. I needed a spirituality that was comfortable with mystery. I needed to not try and dissect everything through intellectual discourse, or to try and explain faith. I needed “I don't know” to be enough. I created sacred space around faith and held a lot of it at arm's length because I needed to rest.
I'm calling my spiritual awakening a daylight of the soul because it is exactly like a dark night of the soul, only the opposite. It has been tender and profound. Beyond language and yet birthed through language.
First I experienced the worst shame-storm of my life. Shame was my native language and it came back to me, hard. My journal pages are filled with the dark underside of what felt like a crippling assault on body and soul, like a dark climax of the years I have been undoing and undoing and undoing, thrashing in descent. Full of needs and unknowns. And immeasurable self-condemnation, almost to the point of paralysis.
It was this sort of incapacity that made me cry out, finally, in desperation—I will not follow the language of condemnation!
It was an utterly exhausted and wearied cry born on what felt like the edge of annihilation. And in some otherworldly sort of spell-breaking clarity and strength by the Holy Spirit, in that moment of choice, life came back to me.
When I awoke the next morning, my awakening came too. Like a light in the darkness. I awoke and could actually breathe. I hadn't realized how heavy the weight of condemnation felt in my lungs. I awoke to lightness and peace, with new direction in my heart, inspired to find a way to create spoken healing meditations & love prayers for the body and for healing, saturated with spoken truth designed to seep into the bones.
In those quiet morning awakening hours, I somehow heard or felt the phrase “Christ the healer.” So I googled “Christ the healer” and found a book by that name, originally written in 1924, posted online. I did not stop reading until I read the whole book that day, most of it blurred with tears while bawling my eyeballs out. I bought a real copy from same-day Amazon and when it arrived that evening, I read the entire book again within two days. What struck me most deeply was the message of salvation it contained—that actual, embodied healing of the flesh and spirit in this life is as equally important to Yeshua as healing and salvation of the soul and eternal life. There are at least as many stories in the gospels of his healing, life-giving work as there are of any sort of preaching. And so the truth that the Most High would actually care about my body or quality of life unlocked something else within me, because it directly counters a debilitating, lifelong hatred of the body—one that is rooted from seeds sown not only in shame, but in evangelical messages condemning the flesh.
And so with infinite gentle healing and correction from the Eternal One, my heart, my spirit, my soul have become, are being, restored.
I don't know what to do with it all, except to keep going.
Sacred scripture has come to life along with my intimate devotion to the most Holy. I bought a new bible. One that drew me in mysterious ways. I've read more than half of it in less than two months, and parts of it over and over. This piece of art is tucked into the pages and it keeps falling out into my lap, reminding me of the truth that...
...this time it is different.
“It” being the way I live my life and express my spirituality & devotion to Yeshua and the way of God. How I believe and live my faith. How I see and show up. I'm still figuring it out. It's beautiful and awkward. It is different because I am. And so is my understanding of the living God and what is important to be, to do, to say and write and share.
I have always loved the Holy One and this is new, this awakening, this healing and transformation. I'm still finding my way with it all. The urgency I've written about before in so many ways has intensified to an almost-unbearable nature. And I've heard it whispering within me for over two years now...
And so it is.
I've always clung to these words by the poet Shawnacy Kiker, and now more than ever.
I don’t care if I get rich, or end up in the gutter.
I don’t care if anyone comes alongside
or thinks I’m relevant.
I will stand here fighting dark things
with my last invisible breath
until I crumble to holy dust
and fall to the earth like
dandelion firework ash,
because this is True.
and what else is there.—Shawnacy Kiker