Both-And: Poem to the Light and the Dark Within Me

Votive candles in darkness

There is both light and darkness within each of us.

We can sense them even though we can’t see or touch them.

Our hearts know both these opposites reside within us.

Teaching us.

Transforming us.

A necessary part of being hu-man—mortal beings brushed with colors of divinity.

I enjoy being with the light in me, the pure self that knows who I am and who created me.




But I am too often afraid of that dark being that lives within me. I run from him when he rears his head.




I don’t think he’s the devil. I don’t believe he is evil.

Instead, I have come to believe he is the part of me that life’s chapters have wounded.

He is the innocent child that crouches in the corner of my soul waiting for me to approach him with a candle, a flicker of light, a morsel of wisdom or kindness.

Yet he’s afraid of letting me get too close for fear of being harmed again. And so he crouches deeper within my soul.

Silently mourning at his well of grief.


What would happen if we named the darkness within us? If we learned how to befriend him?

What if we took wearied hands filled with compassion and hearts of courage entering with soft torches the dark place within us where he resides?

Do we have the necessary valor, the hard-fought wisdom to enter the dark cave in which he lives, light years inside ourselves?

And if we entered the sacred place of both-and, light embracing dark, would he receive us?

If so, could we be gentle enough not to disturb him, not to cause him to retreat further with words of blame or accusation, but rather to sit by his side, peering lovingly at him, allowing our eye’s glimmer of hope and compassion to meet his, trusting in time the hope he has lost will be transformed by the light?

The both-and, which lives within each of us, is calling us, inviting us to take the journey inward to find the darkness that is surrounded by light.

Trusting, by our wounds we are healed.

brian plachta

1 Comment

  1. “I am too often afraid of that dark being that lives within me.” This acknowledgment touches meI deeply. These become my words, my feelings. Yet I also know the truth: When another graciously offers self to me, receiving my wounds even as I receive the other’s wounds, we experience a mutual lessening of the fear found in “that dark being that lives within me.” Such mutuality is beyond words!

    This piece is so very honest about the complexity of my light and my darkness. Yet it shines light on the hope of transformation inherent in the experience of being open to both aspects. Only with courageous awareness can I find another with whom to share the “both-and” of my deepest self.


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