This year in addition to our advent calendar, I am marking the days with an email offering from this writer (courtesy of another kindred writer/friend). I usually don't do all that well with the discipline of opening and reading lengthy emails, especially when the bulk of my email time is spent deleting the surge of advertising emails I really ought to unsubscribe to, but the power of delete is rather a heady one for me and about all the energy I can muster these days. Nevertheless, I have been enjoying the coziness of this offering, usually coming to yea olde laptop (it's true! my lap top is OLDE) with a cuppa something warm and nourishing. I love the musings and the tasty tidbits offered.
One post has inspired me to ponder the gifts of darkness. Add to the seasonal challenges, I strained my back right before Thanksgiving and have had to buckle down when it comes to self care. (I had been joking that self care in menopause is no longer an option, but a necessity. Well, go figure my body would call me on this by DEMANDING I honor my words.) It dawned on me today that in our modern 24/7 world with lights galore, we have become incapacitated when it comes to living in darkness. The same is true in regards to silence and stillness.
Yet the cycles of Nature offer many opportunities to move into the dark. The moon each month goes dark when she is beginning a new cycle. From the Autumn Equinox to the Winter Solstice the days grow shorter, the period of sunlight lessens. The angle of the sun in the sky is softened as well. Our human lights block out the light of the stars, isolating us further from the experience of connection and an enhanced perspective upon our place in creation.
So I hurt my back. And the hardest part of my day? Nighttime. It was impossible to find a comfortable sleeping position. I would finally fall asleep only to wake up whenever I shifted my body in the bed. The only relief I could experience was lying on my yoga mat, breathing and stretching my body gently and mindfully. The pain would subside. Heaven, right? Well, for one week solid I would cry the entire time I stretched. Not movie tears that soften a face with a gentle dew. No, my crying was body convulsing sobs and geysers where my eyes should be. Red faced and snotty, I moved through the stretches.
|Anna K Tarot - The lesson of the Hanged Man for me has been finding within the bright light of The Star
I have lots of ideas as to why the overdue emotional release. Yes, I have blamed current events and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. But staying in the depths of the emotional pool, I discovered vast pockets of sorrow, loss, grief and fear. Nothing all that unexpected at this stage of my life. I've said goodbye to many loved ones and watched our world change drastically (from my perspective as a "Nineteener" - what Cowgirl calls me in reference to my having lived a chunk of my life in the previous century). There is a lot to process. Making the time to do so, that's another matter.
Darkness, like my back pain, forces me to look inward for my own source of light and relief. The shorter days (or time of day with daylight) remind me to lighten my load, to pare down the to-do list to that which sustains and enlivens me. My bottom line is my practices - yoga, meditation, drawing and painting - time in nature and family time. All of these pieces nurture connection and rootedness. They ease me out of fear and pain (funny, when I draw or paint, my back no longer hurts), and bring me back to a place of Hope. There is much to worry about but there is also much to celebrate. Drawing upon the bounty within me - my heart and my life - I am strengthening myself for the new year and the new challenges ahead.
I have chosen my intention for the coming year: Simplicity and Devotion.