It is two days past the winter solstice. (I’m writing now b/c I’m an introvert & I need time to process before I speak.)
I went outside the morning of 12/21/23 to mediate as this is a practice of mine in the solstice & equinox.
My intent during this practice is to be closer to nature and to notice.
Albert Einstein said, “Look deep into nature & then you will understand better.”
I heed this advice as nature is the mother I often look to (as my biological mother was killed by a drunk driver in 2002).
Thus, the solstice is a time for me to sit, listen and receive what she may have for me.
This winter solstice she said, “Rest.” Then she spoke of “home.”
I was just outside my dwelling, but this ‘home’ resonated as a space within myself. I then went on to see a full day of clients and to transport my sick child home during my lunch hour. Yet, I did also absorb some info. about the history & patterns of this season.
This darkest day of our year. This fruitful darkness.
Many people fear the dark. Often, we’ve been told that darkness is something to avoid; as it is the place where wickedness resides. A place to fear. A place to be endured. But Mother Nature tells me otherwise. She speaks of darkness as a place of potentiality. She shows me how seeds must be plunged into the dark earth before they are able to burst forth in life. In nature, this season is merely a piece of the life cycle where death and dormancy are necessary.
Necessary in their own right but also necessary in preparation for the upcoming seasons of rebirth.
You see, the light has already begun to increase. The days will now, incrementally, get lighter. Some call this season ‘the returning of the light’ (which is paralleled by many of the holidays & traditions we celebrate this time of year). I do love this, but I no longer vilify the dark. I see its necessity. I see that darkness births its own truths. Just as the womb is dark, these cold, harsh seasons also have their purpose.
Carl Jung (Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist who founded analytic psychology) said, “We don’t become enlightened by making figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
This ‘shadow work’ can be an arduous process and some will spend their entire lives in denial of certain pieces of themselves they deem unacceptable. Seeking out these denied parts can be scary. It can be painful to bump into the pieces of ourselves that have been neglected, alienated and starved of love. Adjusting to the dark can take some time. Our eyes take significantly longer to adapt to darkness than to light.
You see, I believe that which our eyes experience as darkness is only that which our eyes have not yet been prepared to see.
In therapy, the shadow can be one of the first things we encounter. With a safe person, in a safe space, this may be the first time we are free to discuss these previously denied parts of ourselves. If you are considering this work, but find yourself fearful, consider offering yourself words of safety & comfort such as:
The dark is where I have not yet learned to let light live.
I will love the darkness because whatever I choose to love, I allow to be free.
Have you ever looked up at the sky through the branches of a tree? The patterns we see are formed by the interplay of light & dark. The brightness of the sky seeps through the branches & forms shadows.
We cannot solely set our sights on the sky if we want to see what is here.
Until we look more fully into the darkness, we cannot see the tree; only the patterns of light & dark.
At times, my existential leaning leaves me adrift.
Thus, in summary I offer this…
May love touch all that is unloved in ourselves and in the world.
May we all find true belonging within and beyond apparent separation.
Whatever belief system you hold, and from whatever darkness you have experienced, there does come a time for the returning of the light. Please know, we are here to walk through it all with you.