The news. World pain. The suffering of humans. Earth’s pain. The descent into the darkest time of year. Darkness is everywhere.
How do we stay afloat when the darkness edges in?
There are many ways.
We re-commit to our practices so that we make of ourselves an island of light amidst the darkness.
When we shut the screens and walk in silence we can return to our true home, the shelter within that creates a shelter without.
We light candles and sing and dance with and through the dark, remembering that our bodies are infinite vessels of light and that song elevates the soul.
Winter is for song.
One voice or many, lifted on stillness,
so clear against dark night sky.
The trees that give and give in the other three seasons
now receive our song.
Notes burrow like warm heart pockets,
held in reserve for the nights when sap freezes.
Do not forsake us, beseech the trees.
And we respond with song.
We learn how to befriend the dark, stirring fear into the cauldron of night until it alchemizes into trust. From this dark, comes light. Not the light of denial, but the light that is born from luminous dark. The light that knows fear, carries it like a beam in the belly.
There is no other way but this: to hold, to hold, not to bury, but to lay bare all that lives in the heart for those we love and place the bowl of our loving into a lap bigger than our own.
We open to the energy of these months, which invite us into deeper layers of clarity, grace, and joy.
It is said that the holidays are the most joyful time of year. Setting aside the obvious challenges that accompany the holidays, I’d like to invite in the idea that, on a spiritual level, there is an influx of joy available to us during these darker weeks and months, especially the month of December. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that many traditions celebrate light within the darkness and encourage us to look for miracles right now.
The question often arises in my work: How can I feel joy when there is so much suffering in the world?
Imagine this: when we experience joy and pleasure, we are sending sparks of light into the unseen field around us. It’s as if our joy is a supercharger that sends a circuit of joy around the world. Our joy, then, becomes a gift, and is one way that we can contribute during dark times. Joy is light, and light protects.
There are, of course, more outer, actionable steps we can – and must – take to contribute during dark times, but I think we all know what those are. It’s the inner actions that we tend to forget about, or minimize, falling into the Western mindset that it’s only what we can see that matters.
Your joy matters. Your light matters. Your love matters. So much more than you think.