Trust is something that we all need in order to risk, to grow, to open ourselves to life. In the returning of the light that we celebrate this December 21st, and every Winter Solstice, nature teaches us again through her flow and cycles, that we can trust her promise of light and life. Even in the darkest days, we know that the sun will return, and with it, new life.
“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus
I love the spiritual metaphor of the Winter Solstice. To accept the dark night of the soul – to surrender to it – is easier when we can trust that there will be light at the end of the tunnel. And there always is, if we can surrender fully to the experience of pain and darkness with our heart wide open, willing to flow with the season of darkness, willing to feel the feelings, willing to be still, willing to enter deeply into the mystery of life.
Journeying Through the Darkness
How do we journey through the darkness without getting swallowed up by it? By sitting down with it, acknowledging it’s presence, and welcoming it in! It seems counterintuitive, but the act of running away from darkness only serves to strengthen it. As soon as we name it, and allow it to be, it immediately loses some of it’s power. Our acknowledgement is like turning a light on in a dark room. We can look at the thing we fear instead of letting our imaginations run wild. As we face our darkness, there are a few things we can do to help us get through the scariest moments.
- The HeartMath Notice and Ease tool. The steps are a) notice your feeling b) name it c) as you slow and deepen your breathing, bring e-a-s-e into your heart with every breath. You can click on the link for a more detailed description of this tool.
- The Emotional Freedom Technique is an incredibly effective ‘Energy Psychology’ tool for restoring emotional equilibrium. It stimulates the flow of energy throughout our meridian system to prevent energy blockages. (Meridians are energy pathways commonly known/used in the West through the practice of acupuncture). The technique is very easy to learn, and you can follow the link above for a tutorial. There are many resources on the internet for learning EFT, or ‘tapping’.
- Simply sit with your emotions in inner and outer silence. In other words, feel your feelings in your body, but don’t add any mental chatter to them, trusting that they will follow their course and dissipate. I used this as a child without knowing what I was doing. When faced with incredible emotional turmoil, I didn’t know what else to do. So I just sat wordlessly with my pain. Incredibly, it shifted and then disappeared on it’s own, leaving me with a profound feeling of peace and tranquility. Our bodies and minds know what to do to heal – if we would just allow it to happen!
“It is precisely because we resist the darkness in ourselves that we miss the depths of the loveliness, beauty, brilliance, creativity, and joy that lie at our core.” – Thomas Moore
More than anything, it is our unwillingness to sit with emotional unease that causes our greatest suffering. Our uncomfortable feelings are keys to our inner peace. They point us to the places where we are blocking out the light. The Course in Miracles says “You retain thousands of little scraps of fear that prevent the Holy One from entering”. It’s fear that lies at the source of darkness in ourselves and in our world. The solution is simple (notice I didn’t say easy!) All we need to do is work on illuminating our fears – and we will have removed all our barriers to light, joy, love, inner peace. As Rumi states so beautifully: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
Bringing light to our darkness is a process. Many of our fears have been with us for a long time, and many have their beginnings in our earliest years. Often we do not understand our fears. That’s okay! Sometimes we just have to endure the process of letting the emotions that are triggered by our fears rise up, move through us, and then get released….. one, after another. No understanding is necessary. No words are necessary. In fact, words and logic often inhibit their release.
Trust the wisdom of your body. Trust the wisdom of nature. Celebrate the return of the light on this Winter Solstice by lighting a candle, and inviting the light of the Divine to transform your inner darkness. Free yourself of your fears so you emerge in the growing light of the New Year with your inner light shining stronger than ever.
Peace, joy and light to you on this Winter Solstice!