At this time of year darkness is pervasive. As we near the winter solstice we receive approximately 9 hours and some odd minutes of daylight each day, meaning there are approximately 14 hours and some odd minutes of darkness. The darkness enables us to see the physical lights of the season and provides more hours to view the stars and the moon in the absence of the sun. If we can welcome the darkness we can appreciate that it extends to us a time to draw more inward in order for personal renewal. The season of darkness is also a time for the land (and mind, body, and soul) to pause in preparation for the coming light and life. The earth needs the dark in order to replenish and begin anew.
Just as our world experiences the light and the dark in the seasons, with its benefits and drawbacks, so do we in our inner landscape. Our lives are filled with light and dark. Like other dichotomous pairs, light cannot exist without darkness and vice versa. Both are needed in order to have balance. But the darkness in the metaphorical sense of our lives is hard. It’s often painful. In the dark moments of our lives it can be difficult to identify how any part of our circumstance could be beneficial.
There is much pain and suffering in this world. There are many things of which we cannot make sense. We are bombarded with news that is unjust, unfair, and confusing, of which will never have the answers. The darkness will always be present, but there is solace in knowing light will always be present too. There is light to be found in the darkness- sometimes we just have to seek harder to see it. While much of life is out of our control, we have the gift of being able to choose to be surrounded by our darkness indefinitely, or we can choose to overcome our darkness and seek the light.
Personally, this fall has been a series of dark times, including death losses. While each occasion has brought deep sadness, dashed hopes, and has felt overwhelming, I have been comforted by the fact that the sting of darkness will not prevail. Through pausing, allowing my darkness to be present, and intentionally drawing inward and reflecting, I am slowly able to discern the light; the memories that provide comfort, and the positive impact these individuals have made on myself and others. The light I’m consciously seeking is overtaking the dark.
Our experiences, positive or negative, good or bad, light or dark, are our guides. There are lessons we can learn, kernels of wisdom to be found, and new perspectives to attain. Through acknowledging, partnering with, and accepting the darkness in our lives, we give it the space it needs to be recognized and felt. This leads us to open ourselves to the light we can glean rather than wallowing in the dark. Seeking the light in dark times is empowering and is what helps us heal and live more fully.
At this time of year, with the holidays upon us, there is much light to shine in the darkness around us, and many of us are filled with anticipation that helps to light the dark days. But when the holiday lights are taken down and we are left with continued darkness for a while, what will you do the seek and find the light?