America’s Dark Night of the Soul

From Occupy Providence

by Jill Dalton

Sunday morning (12-11-11) I awoke to 30-degree temperatures here in New York City and did not want to get out of bed let alone walk 16 blocks to go to church.  Now I love my church, Unity of New York, it’s progressive, caring, enlightened, inclusive, and fun.

I knew we were having a guest speaker, Matthew Fox, a Catholic priest who was excommunicated after 34 years for being, as our pastor Paul Tenaglia remarked, “pro women, pro gays, pro choice and pro God.”  It doesn’t get much better than that.

So I bundled up and decided to brave the cold and I’m so glad I did.

In our seemingly crazy world when you hear the truth you know it.  It’s like a cool sip of pure, clean water that quenches your thirst.

Matthew Fox is an amazing presence for good and peace on the planet.  He’s written some 30 books and won such awards as:  the Abbey Courage of Conscience Peace Award (other recipients include the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, Ernesto Cadrenal and Rosa Parks), the Gandhi King Ikeda Award, the Tikkun National Ethics Award to name a few.

His talk was titled “Are We Birthing Christ – The Real Meaning of Christmas.”  The concept that struck me the deepest was his understanding of the dark night of the soul, which many experience, myself included, but some choose not to learn from and instead hightail it out of town or disappear into addictions for fear of facing the truth.  It takes a warrior to face the truth head on.

He spoke about how out of nothingness God is born.

“What is nothingness?”, he asks.  Where is it found?  It’s found in the stillness and silence of meditation.  It’s found in the breath, which is spirit.  A place where there’s no monkey mind and where we do not look at the earth as an object to be mined or people as objects to be used.

The second place to find nothingness is in loss.  It’s found in 9/11.  We call it ground zero.  It’s found in joblessness where we feel we’re no longer needed or wanted.  It’s found in grief and in letting go.

The third place where nothingness is found is in moral nothingness.  He used the example of Bernie Madoff a sociopath without conscience or guilt who could deceive his friends, family and the charities that depended on him and still somehow manage to look at himself in the mirror.  He spoke of Wall Street as part of this nothingness and the nothingness of consumer capitalism, which does not serve us.

Image by Tracy Knauss

Many addicts do not find redemption until they bottom out and find themselves in AA or some other 12-step group and our culture is bottoming out to get rid of the useless junk that no longer matters in order to birth the Christ within us all.

Christianity caught fire because of the morally bankrupt Roman Empire and Occupy Wall Street is the response to our morally bankrupt institutions. When the perplexed exclaim, “But what are their demands?” Fox continued, “OWS’s message is much deeper than that.”  OWS is bearing witness.  They’re calling to us all to roll up our sleeves and do something.  They’ve caught the fire of moral outrage.  They are warriors.

Time to become one with love.  Listen to the silence and catch the fire.  A lover and a prophet will interfere with that which interferes with love and justice.  God is the denial of denial and we must move beyond our collective denial.

America’s become a horrible addict.  She’s addicted to oil, war, murder, TV, mindless entertainment, hatred of the other, violence, junk food, gambling, porn, sex, drugs, alcohol and greed.   Did I leave anything out?  She’s out of control, living in denial and on borrowed time, as all addicts do, and needs an intervention.  That’s where we come in.

Our political system is broken.

Our financial system is broken.

Our healthcare system is broken.

Our energy system is broken.

Our corporate media is just a propaganda machine shilling for the corporations and the 1%.

It’s not easy nor is it for the faint of heart but we must all be warriors now.  We must all get involved and roll up our sleeves and get to work rebuilding our broken systems to work for us all not just the 1%.  We deserve a healthy planet filled with love, compassion and justice.  We must rebuild.

“The warrior leapt into the doomed land.”

There is hope but

“Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up.”    David Orr

After the service I wept with joy at the compassion, insights and hope

from this great man of God.

Get involved.

Our time has come.

We are the change we’ve been looking for.

We have a choice.  We can either hightail it out of town, drink ourselves into oblivion or roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Time to occupy.


About recoveringarmybrat

Jill Dalton is a recovering army brat/writer/performer who has appeared in film and television as well as performing her solo plays in New York and around the country. Most recently she can be seen in and consulted for William Hurt on the HBO film, “Too Big To Fail.” Her articles have been published on: Dandelion Salad, RSN, OpEdNews Progressive Activists Voice & NationofChange. Her book, "Is It Fascism Yet?" is available on View all posts by recoveringarmybrat

2 responses to “America’s Dark Night of the Soul

  • Ronnie Roberts

    Wow, Jill, this was a great article. I’m so glad that I decided to check out your blog. I had commented on your article on Oped News about Obama: Trojan Horse, Psychopath etc. where I saw the link to your blog. Anyway, thank you for reminding me about Matthew Fox. A number of years ago I read his book “Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest”. Just now found it on my bookshelf and I think I may have to read it again. I felt I could relate in some small way to what he went through because in my early 20s I had been a postulant in the Sisters of the Holy Cross at St. Mary’s at Notre Dame. However, I didn’t last long. They gave me the boot due to my inability to refrain from freely expressing my opinions about things.

    Keep up the good work. I totally enjoy your writing.

    • recoveringarmybrat

      Thanks Ronnie. Yes, he is such a beautiful man. I felt so blessed to be in his presence and hear him speak. I ordered his book on Compassion, which I just started reading. Suave to the soul. It has been wonderful meeting you. Amazing that you too were excommunicated.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: