The Queen of My Self

Simple as it may seem, when the lights go out, we simply lose our bearings. The density of the dark makes it impossible for us to fix our positions anymore. We find ourselves alone in the universe, untethered and unprepared. The blackness of lightlessness leaves us no internal compass by which to trace or set our steps. Unlike the blind, few of us ever learn to develop other senses enough to rely on them for information about the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Interestingly enough, it is those who consider themselves sighted who are most limited without light. And so, in the end, the tenebrous undermines the average person’s self-confidence, affects their vision, leaves them totally vulnerable to the environment and out of touch with the people around them. And that is only in physical effects.

The darkness of the soul is no less spiritually punishing than is the loss of physical light to the psyche. We talk about faith but cannot tolerate the thought of it. It’s light we want, not shadow, certainty not questions. The aphotic, the place without images, is no less an attack on faith and hope than those periods in life when nighttime brings nothing but unclarity, nothing but fear. Where am I going? the soul wants to know. When will all this be over? the mind wants to know. How can I get out of this sightless place I’m in? the heart demands.

from Between the Dark and the Daylight by Joan Chittister.

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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to


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