Dark Places and Rothko


Everyone goes through dark places.


Menopause or Andropause.

I began going through surgical Menopause at age 34 when my last ovary became a hematoma, stuck to my spine and had to come out.

The change in hormones was dramatic and terrible- hotflashes like a 9 volt battery at the base of my skull every 3 seconds and wanting to smash all my dishes and windows.

Who WAS I?!

It was so SCARY!

What was HAPPENING to me?!

For the last 13 years, I have been working with specialists to tweak my bioidentical hormones or BHRT.

One of the worst effects when the hormones are off is a horrible dark mood.

Like a migraine, sometimes the only thing that helps is darkness; resting in my dark closet for a while. It feels safe and offers an escape from visual stimulation.

In the past, listening to music by Avril Lavigne or Chevelle helped, but not last night.

I’ve always told my husband “If ever you can’t find me, I’ll be in the restroom but perhaps I need to add ‘or the closet’.

Except at airports.

There is no sign reading “non-denominational dark closet, open to all, 24 hours a day”.

I wallowed for a bit in the dark, then I remembered a rap song I heard that very morning. The song had sampled Joel Osteen’s message about soaring with eagles.

I love the way Joel speaks. He lifts me up, gives me hope.

“Why not listen to a podcast of Joel?’ a little voice asked.

And so I did.

He described “Dark Places”  – when our mind goes into sad valleys and we don’t know why.

He explained that sometimes when his mind gets dark, he goes to his closet and prays.

What are the odds?

His message pulled me out of the funk my mind was in.

This morning, I went to the Rothko Chapel here in Houston to see more of his “black” paintings.

Rothko speaks to me. His work quiets my mind.

Especially these exquisite black paintings.

The Chapel was so quiet, one could hear a pin drop.

There were soft round pillows to sit on near the front tryptic.

I let my mind and body relax, staring into the beautiful, dark canvas pools; various hues of brown, blue and red gently swirled. I studied the alternating brush strokes: horizontal, vertical and discontinuous. With Rothkos there is no need to create a story or a picture. It allows me to just be.

Just to be.

A moment of stillness and healing.

Elegant darkness.


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