I spent a great deal of this month of November feeling a significant darkness within. Yes, I’ve been tired from the extensive work on my home, getting my children back to school, adding new work to my plate, etc., but this has been different. I’ve felt exhaustion, overwhelm, loneliness and even depression before. However, the darkness of this past month has been something new for me, something I’ve been learning about and working to understand more. I don’t believe I have any specific answers, but my hope is that perhaps in contemplating the sensations and experiences, there will be a resonance for you if you are having similar feelings.
So what makes this darkness different? Why can’t I just chalk it up to the longer nights, or to personal trials getting the best of me? What is it about “this” loneliness, “this” exhaustion, or “this” overwhelm that feels so unfamiliar? I began to consider these questions by first simply noticing the sensations I was experiencing…the stories I was playing in my mind, the physical experiences of my body, and the myriad of emotions that were rising to the surface one after another.
Over time, I began to feel almost like there is a recalibration happening, or perhaps a purification. I began to look at things from a broader perspective, not just from the perspective of me, or at me. How does what I am experiencing fit into a greater cosmic picture? I looked at what I saw happening in nature…how the leaves have fallen, things seem lifeless, animals are beginning to hibernate, nights are longer, etc. At the same time, the stars seem brighter, the air crisper, and the quality of personal connections richer. Nature seems to be returning to earth, going inward, while the heavens seem to be pouring down more beautifully.
This brings me to the topic of this article, the coming of the light. I realized that while this time of year can feel very dark, dreary, sad, lonely, etc., it is also a beautiful time of hope. There is the promise of the light to come, and with it, new possibilities and realized potentials. The leaves must fall to make room for the new buds to form in the spring. Seeds fall to the earth with the expectation to birth something in the future. Why would it not be the same for us? Why would we not have an aspect of ourselves that must go inward, get quiet, and even die in order to make room for what wants to come forth? All the while, the streams from cosmic heights are supporting this process, bringing us dreams, inspirations and insights that enrich us and support this time of facing our depths.
This time we are entering, the time of Advent, calls us to celebrate the promise of the light to come. This can be difficult for many of us, as it is so easy to get caught up in the chaos of the holiday rush, sucked into the struggle in meeting the shadows in the depths of our being as we draw inward, saddened by the unrest so prevalent in the world around us, and distracted by the barrage of activity, commercialism and scheduling so prevalent at this time of year. How do we connect with this promised light? How can we feel the promise at all and trust that it will come?
If we consider that death is a precursor to life…the seed dies to give birth to the sapling, the bud dies to give birth to the flower, etc….we can begin to find the hope and promise of the light to come, the birth to come. How often have you had something fall away from your life, feeling like it was so devastating and could never be replaced, only to find that somewhere down the path of your life, something new and likely even more wonderful took its place? We cannot receive new inspirations unless we make room for them, and this often means we need to let something go in order to bring light to something new. Most of us have lives that are already so full we cannot imagine holding one more thing. Perhaps that’s just it…we’re not supposed to hold anything more, but instead, we are to let something go. We are to be discerning about what is important, what is aligned with what we care about most, and what feels true to our authentic selves and choose accordingly.
Choosing is easier said than done for most of us. I find that I need to step back and look at the bigger picture to connect with what is important for me. Otherwise, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the chatter of my mind and get stuck on all of the “what ifs” and fears that show up. In contemplating what nature does, I have come to see that nature follows an inherent rhythm. I have always felt that we as human beings are part of nature, not separate from it. That would indicate to me that we too have an inherent rhythm that is similar to what we see in nature. In nature, we can see the spring emerge with the light. New growth, new life, and new vibrancy emerge out of the depths of winter. What if the darkness we are experiencing now is simply preparing us to birth something new in the spring, or at least see it begin to sprout?
The idea that this time of darkness is temporary brings hope. The darkness helps us to see what needs to be faced and redeemed in order to birth what wants to come forth in service of the higher. It is difficult to face these things. They are often rather ugly, and bring us to feel worse rather than better at first. We live in a society that wants the quick fix or the pain numbing solution. Does the flower ask for anesthesia before wilting and dying in order to pour forth its seeds that will generate new flowers in the spring? Why do we as a culture tend to do this? We look for distractions, answers and solutions. We are unwilling to live in the unknown of what will be birthed within us. Is it possible for us to trust that as part of nature, we too have an inherent rhythm that allows a part of us to die in order to make room for higher aspects of ourselves to come forth? Can we bear the struggle of allowing this to happen with a bit more strength if we know that the light is indeed emerging?
At this time of Advent, perhaps we can reconnect with the magic of nature’s rhythm and harmony and find it in ourselves. Perhaps we can slow down enough each day to simply be with whatever we are experiencing, and know that we have the support of the cosmos to meet whatever we face. We could simply notice the emotions, the bodily sensations and the stories that come up for us through this time of darkness, and consider the messages inherent in them, without needing to know an answer. Those of us who are mothers have some experience of perseverance in relation to the knowing that a beautiful child would be birthed after the pain and struggle we endure. This knowing keeps us going. We could argue and say, “But we knew there would be a child. How do we know what’s coming in this situation?” I say in response to that, could we consider that whatever it is that wants to be birthed in us is indeed a child on its way, an aspect of our higher selves that wishes to help us realize another level of our potential as human beings, and that deserves the same degree of hopeful anticipation as the birth of our children do?
Perhaps it is these contemplations that have made “this” time of darkness feel different for me. I am seeing that it‘s not just about me. I am part of a bigger picture of lifethat has a beautiful rhythm, and if I am to grow and continue to develop, I must be willing to endure the trials, while at the same time trusting that the light is to come. Additionally, given that we are all part of nature and connected with a bigger picture of life, we can know that we are not alone in the process. As we each individually choose to endure and persevere, as well as maintain hope for the light to come, we support the collective whole of humanity to bring forth its highest as well.
Blessings on this season of the coming of the light. May you find courage, strength, peace and love in the process of letting go of whatever needs to be released and bringing the light to birth.