Christmas in October

One morning last week, as the darkness unfurled into first light and the night’s dreams still lingered at the edges of psyche, my younger son asked, “Why are there Christmas decorations in the stores already?”

Without thinking I responded, “Because people are afraid of the sadness and darkness that arise this time of year so they focus on the next holiday and the season of lights.”

“Why does this time of year make people sad? I don’t feel sad!”

A lover of winter and snow, our younger son celebrates the change of seasons. But as the minutes of light decrease daily I can see the melancholy descend on the other members of our household, as well as in many of my clients. As the twilight hour approaches, I sometimes see the loss embodied on my older son’s face, as if a cloud has crossed over his normally sunny disposition. When … Click here to continue reading...

The Grief Place

There is a room in your heart where sadness dwells. Each story of sadness lives there like a stagnant, frozen particle of light waiting for you to see it, to hold it, to wrap it in a blanket and bring it tea. When you visit your grief place with love, the particles of light start to shimmer and move – dance, even – for all things, even our pain, especially our pain, only want to be seen and loved.

We can live our lives ignoring this grief place, until we can no longer ignore it; until anxiety or intrusive thoughts or physical health jut up with such force that we must pay attention. The frozen particles start to move now with a new desire for attention, and hopefully, if we’re guided skillfully, we see that the anxiety is a messenger that can bring us into direct contact with our pain, … Click here to continue reading...

Loss of Light

Light fading, time passing, big boy is ten, baby isn’t a baby and the time for having babies is over. The pregnant woman in the check-out line and it’s eleven years ago, pregnant with my own belly of hope and love, on the threshold of everything new and exciting. There was pain then, too, but it’s the joy and anticipation that come flying from past to present now, another layer of recognition that a stage of life is over. Oh, this life. Oh, the highly sensitive soul with the acute awareness of the passage of time and how it just keeps on marching on.

Light fading, time passing, my birthday week. When the years are filled with more wisdom and equanimity, why does a birthday bring grief? It’s not the birthday itself; it’s the transition, that a new age can only happen by letting go of the old. There’s a … Click here to continue reading...

The Richness of Winter

It’s not here yet, but for the highly sensitive among us we feel winter’s imminent descent with each minute of daylight that joins the tribe of night. The days are shorter; the leaves have almost completed their arabesques and twirls of their final dance. Soon the branches will lay stark against early twilight skies, the cerulean blue now articulating the crisp line of bough that was shrouded inside summer’s leaves.

What crisp lines of soul will be revealed during the internal time that winter invites? 

Many of my clients share that they dread winter. It often holds memories of anxious times, or times when the sheets and blankets of bed felt too heavy to remove. They fear that they’re not far enough into their growth and they’ll fall prey to the underside of winter, the long black fingers that creep into the crack between sleep and wake and pull them … Click here to continue reading...

February: Listen for the Seed

Winter is often an emotionally challenging time. In the darker months with shorter days, psyche invites us to slow down and dip into her underworld where we find unshed tears, unexplored fears, and latent dreams. We can avoid our shadow during the long days of summer with endless fun-filled distractions, but when winter settles in, past the rush and glitter of presents and parties, when the long, long month of January unfolds into February’s silence, there’s no place else to turn but inside. And if we don’t have a steady relationship to our emotional life, what our culture calls depression can easily ensue.

Depression has many meanings, and from a Jungian perspective depression is the soul’s call to sit still and become comfortable with the waiting and nothingness that defines the liminal – or in-between – zone. From the perspective of transitions, just as a newlywed often experiences post-wedding blues … Click here to continue reading...