This book captivated me.
I was sent this book to review a week before I was dramatically reminded of my humanity via a 5-day hospital stay and surgery. Once I got home, I let the publicist know of my status and asked for their patience. I needn’t have, as not only am I healing spectacularly but once opened, I couldn’t put this book down!
See, I know I love darkness… and by this, I mean in every sense of the word. My eyes feel better, and my head aches less. I rarely turn on bright lights (even to use the washroom in the middle of the night). I work best with a table lamp and detest overhead fluorescent lighting. I am less distracted and calm enough to hear myself think. I am a fan of things that happen in the darkness, namely sleep. Add to that: campfires, storytelling, and the quiet that only comes after a bustling day.
I have never seen the darkness as evil. Though, of course, I DO love a good ghost story or thriller! But the darkness itself? Nah.
As I so often do when starting a new book to review, I began taking notes. With this book, I was so furiously taking notes that I had to stop and just enjoy. But I would like to share two things that jumped out at me from the very beginning.
This was on the *very first page*!
Several pages into the Introduction, I was again taken aback by something I have intuitively known was occurring all around us (and I bet you do, too!). We live in a world that values the light in all its incarnations, from neon signs to our personal technology devices. Light is all around us as if to say, “For God’s sake, don’t turn the lights out! It’s dangerous in the dark!”
And yet, so many of us crave it!
I love when Tull says, “Mine has been a path, not of seeking illumination or transcendence but of finding wholeness through surrendering to the fertile and dark emptiness from which revelation arises.”
Two things about that… and yes, you can see why my note-taking overtook me… “Surrender” is my word for 2023 -and- this changes my whole perspective as we enter the dark months, once my nemesis.
More often than not, I would hold my breath from mid-October until December 21st (the Winter Solstice and shortest [daylight] day of the year). It meant that the very next day, the 22nd, would be longer daylight… and then onward into Spring and the luscious long days of sunlight.
This year, my plan is to embrace the darkness! But I digress.
Tull’s first part of the book makes perfect sense, given what I’ve already shared and we all know, somewhere inside. We are OVERLIGHTING the world. This touches on every aspect (including the environment).
She wants us to take a journey called “Endarkenment” and I’m here for it!
At this point, I have so many things swimming through my head because it all feels so familiar and true.
I’m thinking of one of my favorite all-time books, Ishmael. I picked it up at the college where I worked for a decade (and it’s my alma mater). In 1992, when it was written and I read it, it felt positively life-changing to realize how much the previous hundred years had changed man (and woman) kind. The technology alone! And light is a part of that, isn’t it?
Tull goes EVERYwhere in this book… into the depths of spirituality, ritual, community, respect, and awe for the earth and beyond into the heavens.
She is profoundly interesting, curious, and engaging.
As I was researching to write, I ran across this abbreviated bio of Tull on Goodreads. I think it fits to add it here:
“Deborah Eden Tull is a sustainability coach and meditation teacher who has been traveling to, living in, or teaching about sustainable communities internationally for the last 18 years, including seven years as a monk at the Zen Monastery Peace Center. She teaches workshops throughout the West Coast and beyond, and is certified in permaculture design, bio-intensive organic gardening, and compost education. Her approach to sustainable living is a unique combination of peace and environmentalism that emphasizes interconnection between personal and planetary well-being. She was recently featured in the Los Angeles Times Home Section, on KCRW-FMs Good Food and has been interviewed in Yogi Times Magazine, Larchmont Chronicle, Westside Today, Bicycle Fixation, Coffee Break T Show, LA Talk Radio, Your Daily Thread, and other publications.” (A longer, more detailed Bio is found on her website page HERE)
My goodness! Is it any wonder that she’s captivated me so?
THE DEMOCRACY OF DARKNESS LEAVES NO PART OUT <<< Tull says this is why she wrote the book. She’s quick to add, “in spiritual practice or in life”. She includes these words by Iaumi Shikibu:
Watching the moon at midnight,
I knew myself completely
No part left out.
Isn’t that beautiful? No part left out. In the darkness? You bet! I had to stop and wrap my head around it because it would seem that *light* would leave no part out, right? Think about that!
I could go on and on and on because I *literally* could not stop reading (to the point of my head hurting and not sleeping! I’m not sure Tull would agree that was the best way to go about this. LOL)
I’m going to stop here and encourage you to get this book! It spins what we think about light and dark on its head, as I knew it would the moment I was asked to review it.
Perfect timing, me thinks!
Happy November, folks… as we head into the dark months. Rejoice!