The Beauty of Darkness
We just passed the Winter Solstice. The day of the year where the night is the longest and the day is the shortest. It's a beautiful time of the year, physically, metaphorically and spiritiually. It is the time of midwinter - where conditions begin to become harshest. Where the long nights can affect productivity and emotions. I've read in stories that in many ancient cultures this was a time for big celebration - before the real hunkering down to make it through the famine times of deep winter. In these celebrations, they used to sow crops - preparing for the growing light and warmth to come after the day of the Solstice. They used to slaughter cattle, so as not to have to feed extra mouths during the winter's famine. And so, it was the time of year when the best and most abundant meat was available. Oh, they partied - big time.
As a metaphor to our mental activity the Solstice provides us a wonderful example of taking time to be introverted. To explore the rich inner world of our existence. To leave the social pressures for a bit, and dive into what is true for us internally. As the "darkness" is long and deep - so can be our self-exploration - without regret for entertaining, or expending our reserves for others. Darkness here does not imply depression, but rather a slowing down, a turning inward and a permission for self-care and attention payed. I have a yoga teacher who sometimes refers to the "fertile unknown" - this mental, emotional and spiritual ground within ourselves that remains a mystery even to our own minds. It is where ideas and creativity come from - it is where we go for renewal in times of difficulty. When you get on your mat, or sit in meditaiton. When you take a walk and zone out, or soak in a hot bath without ruminating - just soaking, and come out feeling better and refreshed. We visit this fertile unknown all the time - mostly without knowing it. This is what is so amazing about this time of long darkness and deep introspection. We get to sow seeds in the fertile unknown ground of our minds and our hearts. We get to shape our lives and silently voice our dreams.
So I encourage you to take this time, of midwinter, of long, deep darkness, and look inside. Dream your dreams. Plant the seeds of what you'd like to foster and grow with your intention in the fertile unknown ground within yourself. Nourish and feed those seeds with your attention, your mindfulness and practice. Get on your mat and just move. Move because it feels good. Because every moment spent mindfully helps these seeds of intention grow into your life. Because, inevitably, what is to come are longer days and more hectic acitivity. The summer is wild and free - like wild flowers - those seeds have grown by then. They grow anyway, because our thoughts and fears are also planted in the fertile unknown ground. So lets take this opportunity to plant something intentionally, and grow our lives in a way that feeds us rather than diminishes. Lets have a reason for a big time party!
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As a student of yoga, massage, meditation , poetry and other such introversions, I figured some of my inspirations might also touch the hearts of others. Read, ruminate, digest, create...always returning to this well of deep love inside to renew ourselves and rediscover what we are. Enjoy!