“All great and beautiful work has come of first gazing without shrinking into the darkness.” – Helen Keller
I remember as a little kid being somewhat afraid of the dark. There was no need to be super afraid, as I slept on the second floor of our farmhouse in a room with my sister with three older brothers just around the corner in the next room. I always knew I was protected, but still, I remember it being somewhat creepy.
It’s odd to me, now as an adult, how much I love the dark. Now let’s be clear, I’m not talking about dark alleys in major cities. I’m talking about walking through my neighborhood, or really, my preference is to walk around out in the country in the dark. The woods are my favorite. I love the quiet, the stillness, the sounds of nothing but nature. The occasional animal rustles, but mostly, stillness. The world seems to sleep in the dark and I love the peacefulness. When Christian was an infant, my favorite time was to be up in the middle of the night nursing him on the living room sofa. Facing out to the street, sitting silently in the dark, I felt like we had these outsider’s views of the world. It was like I was some peaceful observer.
The dark reminds me to be still. To be quiet. To listen instead of speak. To go within, and just stay there.
There is so much in our world that drives us outside of ourselves; social media, constantly tied to our phones, advertising, consumerism, etc. These things are always demanding we have our attention on what’s happening outside of us, instead of inside of us.
Our tendency is to ignore the darkness, to power through the quiet and keep moving. Why? Because the messages of the darkness can be uncomfortable.
Winter Solstice reminds us to go inside. It is Spirit’s way of beckoning us to come into the deepest parts of ourselves. To touch what our heart and Soul is yearning for. Darkness signals our brain to slow down and stop the rushing so we can gain inner peace and stillness more easily. From that place of peace, we can connect to the truth of our Spirit and our Soul’s desires. Is it for more personal time? Is it asking us to rest and relax? To be more creative? To have relationships that honor our deepest vulnerabilities? Is it asking us to live with more fulfillment? Is it simply a signal that it’s ok for us to be a little uncomfortable in this inner darkness?
The “great and beautiful work” is us. The dark helps us know ourselves more deeply, more clearly, and to respond to our inner messenger more quickly. By going inside we develop a more true relationship to who we are and how we feel. We find our true selves in there.
As Helen Keller said,” We must move into that darkness without shrinking”. Our fear is normal, our courage tells us to face that fear and go deeper. The truth of what is most valuable to us in this life lies at the base of that dark, peaceful space, and so the journey towards it we must. Our soul begs us; we feel it is the lack of contentment we experience. The feelings of “is this all there is?”, “Is this all there will ever be?”. Our Soul knows when it’s our time to awaken from the slumber of the dark and move towards the light. We get the signals to emerge. Things that make us excited, interested, laugh, have fun, and be creative. These are all signals we’re on a good path. But we must go to the darkness to find our truth. Within that dark inner sanctum, we find our Light of Spirit. We find that which makes us, well, us. Special and unique. Being what has never been before, nor will be again. Each moment is so precious, never to be repeated.
Christmas may not be just about the birth of Christ, but with him, perhaps also our birth into the Light. From the quiet depths, we will emerge more fully ourselves, in tune with who and what matters most to us. More clear, perhaps, on our path of this life, or at least closer to what brings us great joy. Whether it’s what we do to make money or simply for the love of it, Spirit doesn’t care. Spirit only cares that we connect with what truly thrives inside of us, and asks that through the darkness, we deliver to this world our own greatest Light.
I ask you to cast yourselves to the depths of this darkness at Solstice time.
Write a list of all the things you are ready to release. The things, people, habits, fears that no longer serve you. Then, write a second list. On this second list, write what your Spirit is longing for, and what will you do to fulfill that longing. Make a commitment to bring your greatness forward.
It is all this world needs from you.
Blessings Galore, Anne