Into the Dark Again
by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
Dark and getting darker—
nothing to do but to make of the body
a home for darkness,
to open every secret drawer
where we hide our private darknesses.
Who knows what might happen then?
How immeasurable we are. It is only
terrifying until it becomes freedom.
Grace comes in the strangest costumes.
Did you really think you didn’t need help?
This night, stay awake.
Some things we can see no other way.
It’s that time of year again, when the darkness settles in and prepares to stay. Does this fill you with peace and contentment or do you dread the darkness and its companions: cold temperatures, gray skies and precipitation that keeps you inside for days at a time? What sensations do you feel in your body when you think about “dark and getting darker?”
Years ago, my friend Ann led a small group of us through Sunday afternoon stories of what this time of year has meant through the ages, and I found a new appreciation for the darkness. Stories of going inward, literally and figuratively, of having completed the hard work of harvest and now allowing for rest. Her stories gave meaning to a time of year I’d always approached with a sense of dread in the pit of my stomach.
Our culture places little value on slowing down and just being. To be successful, we are supposed to DO.
But the energy of summer is not meant to last all year long.
Like earth that needs to lie fallow to thrive in the springtime, we also need space for restoration. Our revved up systems thank us when we pause and relieve ourselves of the nonstop pressure to perform. Mother Nature is handing us a gift: time to slow down and sit by the fire. Time to stare into the dancing flames and ask ourselves what it is we are meant to see.
Will you allow space for self-reflection? I know life doesn’t just stop when it’s cold and dark outside, but there are ways to downshift during this season. Take a few things off your to-do list. Spend less time on your devices. Sleep a little more. Be brave enough to just be. Gaze into the fire. Allow what has been seeking awareness within you to receive the nourishment it needs. What can you let go of? What needs more attention?
I would love to hear from you: what are some ways you slow down and find meaning in this time of year? What feels restorative for you?
I know it is sometimes frightening and confusing to take honest inventory of our lives, to give attention to the emotions and nudges we’ve been plowing right past. Sometimes we need thoughtful and honest support from a friend, a therapist or a coach. If you’d like support, please contact me.