Spiritual Practice: Overcoming Darkness



It’s easy to be overcome by all the evil in the world. From political decisions that separate children from their parents to the rampant abuse coming to light in the Catholic church, to the thousands upon thousands of heart-wrenching “Me Too” stories. It feels like too much to deal with, and sometimes I just want to shut down or give up.

A few days ago, after reading about the Catholic abuse cases and how the leaders of the church tried to deal with it by moving the perpetrators to other parishes, I had a dream. In this dream, I was trying to single-handedly deal with two people who had become possessed by a great evil, a familiar evil. It was like trying to contain chaos. I knew my efforts wouldn’t work even though I was trying to put the two people in a house and nail the door shut. I knew it was futile.

It’s hard to see where God is in times like these. But, I love the quote believed to have originated with Theodore Parker  but used by MLK and so many others:

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

It doesn’t seem to be true in the here and now, but overall things are better than in the past. Not to say that there are not still HUGE problems, obviously, there are, but compared to say, the dark ages, things are better. How do things get better? Well, as my dream told me, we can’t do this alone.

First, we need to stop trying to hide evil. Bring it to light. Let the victims come forward, let the “me too” folks share their stories, let us all say that ‘Black Lives Matter,” let the media report on things that are wrong so we can all see them, let our LGBTQ family come out of the closet. Because once those things come to light, then we can begin to admit that we have some work to do, grieve and heal together.


Second, we can’t do this alone. It’s too overwhelming. We need to work together, all of us on all sides of the political and philosophical spectra. We each need to do our part to heal those who have been hurt, to change unjust laws and to realize that these are systemic issues. There ARE systems in place to keep people of color down. There ARE systems in place, in church, and in the business world, to keep women out of leadership positions and our rainbow family in the closet. There ARE systems in place to protect pedophiles. All of these systems need to be seen, addressed and we need to work together to break them down.

Third, it was clear to me in my dream that this evil is “bigger than us.” I believe we also need God. We need the divine good, the benevolent forces of the universe, the Holy Spirit of Jesus. However you need to say it, we need help!

Am I alone out here, shouting into the wind? What do you think?


Photo Credit:, Light in Darkness




#MeToo – My story


me too


I am married to the most loving man. Last night, when he scanned page after page of Facebook and saw all the women saying, “Me Too,” adding their stories of abuse and rape to the swelling narrative, he wept. That is our hope for all men, for all people, because men have also been raped and abused. Our hope is for broken hearts, and awareness that leads to change.

No one is telling their story because it is fun; it is not fun to share your humiliation, and trust me when I say it is humiliating.  People are telling their stories because the world needs to change. Our children and grandchildren need to grow up in a safer world than the one we did. We need a world where it’s okay to tell if someone hurts you and your friends, family, and those in power will stand with you and say, “I believe you. Let me help.”

No one ever did that for me, mostly because I didn’t tell. I didn’t tell because I grew up in a culture that believed women were created for men’s pleasure, like a nice brandy or a good cigar, and it was normal to be treated as such. Later, when I worked with college students, I began to tell my story as a rape survivor, because, as a therapist, I heard over and over the stories of women who’d been molested as children and were still trying to make sense of it. I learned that the telling of the story is the key to healing and to empowerment for change.


But still when I saw the #metoo hashtag, I posted the obligatory “me too” and that was it. Why should I continue to rehash the past? But last night as I lay in bed, and all my own stories started to bubble up, I realized that this is not about me. It’s about my granddaughters and changing the world for them. So, it is with that hope that I add my voice to the voices of brave women and men who are speaking out. Ours are the voices of change.

– When I was 14, my friend and I were in San Francisco, waiting to cross a street when we were propositioned by a middle-aged man wearing a suit. We were mostly confused and raced away when the light changed.

– When I was sixteen I was driving down a mountain pass at night and a 16-wheeler kept flashing its lights at me. I thought there must be a problem with my car so I pulled over at the nearest pull-out leaving space for a quick exit and he pulled in next to me. I rolled down my window and he rolled down his. “Is there something wrong with my car?” I shouted.

“No,” he said.

“Then why were you flashing your lights at me?”

He just gave me a leering smile and raised his eyebrows. I took off.

– When I was 17 my much older boss raped me one night after work. He was a man I trusted and liked. I thought we were friends. At that time in history, rapists were said to be men that hid in bushes, and there was no understanding of friendship rape or date rape. So, I didn’t tell anyone for four years, because I thought it was my fault. I shouldn’t have stayed after work for that drink to celebrate a special occasion. The PTSD from that event has taken years to work though.

– When I was twenty-two I was jogging down the street when a car pulled over ahead of me. I thought maybe the guy had car trouble as he flagged me over. I stopped several feet away from his car at the passenger window to look in; he was masturbating.  By then I’d grown used to being treated this way. I was shaken but mostly felt dirty and angry as I jogged away.

I could never count the number of times someone grabbed my butt, or catcalled me or made lewd comments. In fact, I was recently working with a lucid 80-year-old man who tried to grab my butt as I walked by. When I told him it was inappropriate, he innocently asked, “Why?”

Why indeed sir, why indeed. This was the soup I was cooked in. This is why there is a #metoo hashtag. It’s time for a change. We need a society where girls and boys can be safe. Where men and women can respect, honor and stand up for one another. That is why I’m telling my story. It’s easy to be aghast the way girls and women are treated in other countries and I believe in fighting for them. But it is obvious that we also need to start at home.

If you want to tell your #metoo story here, I’d be honored to hear it. If you don’t, I understand and will hold you in my heart.

Believe Photo: Debbie Mitchell Pinjuv