Gifts of the darkness
- 7:48 AM: sunrise.
- 4:30 PM: sunset.
That’s right, it’s full winter in Vancouver. And It. Is. Dark.
When darkness descends, my immediately reaction is resistance. The long night is too quiet, too settled, too oppressive. Slowing down feels like depression, sadness, existential malaise. The darkness is a gaping maw of introspection. Like a bear with FOMO, I eye the depths of my den reluctantly, avoiding the call to settle in and stop.
I hate slowing down.
My natural rhythm is fancy go-go, Times Square relentless, push through tapdance. But this winter, as the days shortened, something was different.
Rather than resisting the dark this season, I began to feel my way into its heavy quiet. And in the quiet, the gifts of darkness began to emerge.
The darkness invites us to pare down, conserve energy, slough off what is unnecessary. Like trees shedding their leaves, we unburden ourselves of extraneous activities and distractions in order to hone in and nourish what is most essential. Our core values – like winter’s stark branches – are revealed in their elemental beauty. Saying no to the extraneous allows us to feed what is most essential to our souls.
The dark descends with a blanket of quiet. The borders of our world soften inward, the boundaries of our world hug in. When we retreat from the noise of the outer world, our inner voice can be heard. Like the blind prophets of Greek tragedy, closing our eyes to the outer world allows our inner sight – insight – to emerge. As we quiet, the wise voice at our hearts reminds us of deepest values, and sometimes neglected desires.
Finding the light
Ultimately the power of the dark reminds us how to nourish our own inner light. By finding quiet, alone time, we kindle our inner fire, discover the burning source within, reclaim the power of cultivating our own power. We recognize the deep inner safety that lies within us; we can trust our own inner goodness. The light inside us is always there, but can often be obscured by our relentless seeking in the outer world. Going inwards is like bringing wood to our inner campfire, helping to bank the flames that sustain us. For some of us, we are fed by the solitude. For others, our lamps are fed by gratitude. For others, we are sustained by the feelings and integration that come from letting ourselves simply and fully be. Whatever the particular source, we remember that we are whole and perfect in our imperfection in this moment.
As we begin to move towards the light, consider:
- What lessons lay in the quiet?
- What can we leave behind as we move forward?
- What sustains and feeds our inner fire?
Happy New Years, everyone!