I light a candle.
I light a stick of Palo Santo.
I breathe deep and settle into my center.
And I write – to myself, to God, to you.
The Winter Solstice is the longest dark night of the year. As it passes, the earth and our hearts turn toward the coming of the light. It is no coincidence that nearly every culture in the northern hemisphere has a celebration of light during this time of the year. We are afraid of the darkness, especially the darkness that lies inside each of us as an inherent part of our being human. We mostly equate darkness with suffering and/or evil. We are just beginning to learn how to honor what darkness offers us in healing and wisdom when we willingly illuminate it rather than run from it.
We could learn a lesson from our festivals of light. We need to illuminate our emotional darkness – as individuals, as communities, and as cultures – the same way we illuminate our rooms, homes, and streets with the beauty of light in a million different sparkling shapes and forms.
Candle light. Menorahs. Kinaras. Strings of lights. Glowing Santas. Shining snowflakes. Brilliant angels. We use whatever it takes to light up our world when the night is its longest and blackest. We make the dark someplace safe and comfortable rather than unknown and scary. We tell each other stories about kindness, generosity and love. We settle in cozy with one another as Winter’s darkness embraces us and the light we try to surround ourselves with, as if we could ever chase the darkness away.
My social networking walls are full of news about violence. So much so right now that I struggle with being able to witness it all. I am reminded of how many people are going without – without walls, without food, without safety, without belonging, without love. I simultaneously feel enormous gratitude for the fullness of my own life and heartbroken for all the hurting that I have no power to alleviate.
As Glennon says, “Life is brutiful.” It’s brutal and it’s beautiful. We can bear the brutality because of the beauty. We can bear the darkness because there is always a light, even if only a faraway pin prick in the blackness, like a star. There is always a light.
Please remember when you imagine that darkness is all that exists, all that will ever exist, there is always a light. You just have to turn your eyes and your heart to it.
Perhaps this is why I never really lose faith. In my darkest moments there is always a light keeping me connected to goodness and love.
I have known darkness. When I was in my darkest night as a crazy young mom doing it all on my own, sometimes the only lights I could see were my children. No matter how dark the loneliness, depression, or rage, my heart was always alight for my children. Mama love can be smoldering embers of warmth or savage flames of protection. I am always connected to life and love because of I am a Mama. I feel blessed in this, especially when I originally believed I wasn’t made to be a mother. Now I understand that I needed my children in order to stay connected to living when the years of chaos in my mind and raging storms in my heart were destroying my will to carry on.
Now, the lights in my life are closer and shine brighter than ever before. Also because of a child, and the choice I made to share him.
These lights in my life – my partner, the Mamas, our child, our tribe – they help me shine my light brighter. They love me so much they will shine their lights into my bits of darkness and help me heal the triggery wounds that can get in the way of our connection. They help illuminate (and forgive) the parts of me that can lack grace and be careless or mean. Most importantly, our lights never go out because we hold them up for each other when needed.
There is always a light. I know that someone, somewhere is holding a light for you. You may not know it because the darkness tricked you into thinking they are no longer there through distance and/or silence. But I truly believe that there someone is holding a light for everyone in this world. It is the nature of living in a Universe based on duality. Darkness cannot exist without a light. You just have to open your eyes and your heart to it.
I wish you a Happy Solstice and that you will see the Light shining in Your Life during this longest night.