Personal Writing,  Writing Retreat Reflections

The goodness of people

Last week, I wrote a post talking about how afraid I am of the dark. I wrote it primarily because I knew I would feel better if I articulated my fears. And that did indeed happen.

But something else remarkable happened, too. A number of people stepped in to provide literal and figurative light to help guide me on this journey. And I want to acknowledge some of them because I was so moved by people’s incredible generosity and expressed care and concern.

Two different people purchased me various forms of lights–from nightlights to lanterns to flashlights to LED light switches that I can carry around with me. I will think of them every night as I use those lights to keep the darkness at bay.

Just a few comments that have really stuck with me since they were posted:

“Fear is the silent killer of dreams.” I heard that at a leadership seminar. Did you know there are 365 verses in the Bible that say,”Do not be afraid”? And really….what is in the dark? Usually, nothing. Dayna, you’ve got this. You can do it. YOU are going to be amazing!

Dayna, several weeks ago I was walking back from the shed in the dark with no flashlight. The dark was DARK and we have had mountain lions and various unfriendly critters around. So I decided to sing. Imagine my surprise when coyotes on all sides decided to join in the chorus. I don’t know if they were complaining about the quality of the music or if they were actually joining in. It was a strange and remarkable moment.

Congratulations on being gifted time to write, to sit in stillness, and to steep your soul a bit and drink deeply. You will probably come out of it learning things about yourself that you never knew!

Congratulations on the writing residency. All that darkness, especially away from city lights, will be an opportunity for some amazing star gazing. Bring a good pair of binoculars and download a star map app on your phone.

“Here Comes The Sun.” The light is showing you the pathway to more glorious journeys for you to encompass, embrace, and encounter, such an amazing opportunity to soul search, and to find the words to where you have come thus far!

So excited for you. What an honor. You can text me when you’re scared. And your iPhone has a flashlight!!

Make friends with your fear and it will teach you amazing insights. It is a special part of you that gives you a filter to play with in your writing.

This sounds dreamy despite the darkness; what an exciting opportunity! I’m so proud of you!! Don’t let a little dark get in the way of all of the glorious writing you’re going to create!! Salud to your opportunity to explore the darkness and let your cup of creative genius spill over!

One of my favorite responses was from a young man whom I know because he and my son took violin lessons from the same teacher when they were in junior and senior high school. Michael wrote:

That’s amazing, congratulations! So interesting that you feel uncomfortable in the dark, and I feel like all I ever do on the East Coast is search for the darkest places I can find for viewing the sky. You’ll be happy to know that September 2nd is a full moon, so that first week you will have a lot of light at night! The full moon on a clear night can illuminate the night like nothing else. Maybe you can find some comfort in that? Also towards the end of your residency you’ll be greeted with a new moon and I am willing to bet that you’ll see the milkway core, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, and Uranus all at around 11pm. Maybe that will give you something to look forward to. I have a similar anxiety with flying and I found that educating myself on aviation and geeking out about it made me feel a lot more comfortable with flying! It is kinda cool to know what’s going on and trust that it’s all under control, especially when turbulence hits hard.

Isn’t that beautiful? A part of me can’t wait to get to my residency and look up to the full moon my first night. And that is something I could have easily missed because my overwhelming fear might have kept me from even looking up!

I’m also already singing this song to myself because I love it and it reminds me of a sweeter, simpler time in my life:

I am finding that the more I talk about it, the less scary it all seems. But let’s check back with me on night one. Believe me, I’ll be looking heavenward, desperate to find comfort in the cool light of that full moon Michael has promised me will be there. But I will also have all the good wishes and the lighted instruments from friends far and near to keep me company and keep me safe.

Dayna Del Val is on a mission to help others (re)discover the spark they were born with through her blog and newsletter, her professional talks and the (re)Discover Your Spark retreats she leads. Dayna works with people to help them not just identify and articulate their dreams but to develop a framework to get going on the pursuit of those dreams—today, in the next few months and for the years ahead. She's at the intersection of remarkable and so, so ordinary, but she knows that pretty much everyone else is, too. She's excited to be sharing this extraordinary journey with you.

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