As the light dims, and the hours of darkness expand, the temperature lowers, and the desire to spend less time outdoors increases, we are moved by nature’s guidance indoors and inwards.
The rhythm of this season is slower. It inspires contemplation. It invokes meditation. It ignites the fire in the cave of our dreams. The spirit of the season guides us into a space of less doing, and more being, where we can enliven our creativity by releasing and listening, and envision the next phase of life from this receptive and vulnerable place.
Of course, we live in a time that disregards and disrespects the natural world. We don’t really live by the pace that Mother Nature dictates (I know that there are “benefits” to that, but there’s a loss of wisdom and a dangerous disconnect that is damaging to the planet and to the health of all life on it).
So what if we do actually allow some of the teachings of Mother Earth to speak to us from our bones, and usher us into the somatic experience of the season?
How does your body respond when you give it permission to feel the shrinkage of light? What is it telling you about the growing night? Where do you feel a shift in your body in relationship to the changing weather? What are the physical sensations you notice when you actually give yourself time and space to feel the messages of the season running through your system?
There is something about this time of year that probes you to forage for integration.
Maybe it’s the colder air and the short hours of sunlight. Maybe for some of us, it’s the pulling together that needs to happen in order to handle the stress of the holidays. Maybe it’s because the year is ending, and we naturally lean into self inquiry, so that we may step into the next year more empowered and inspired. Maybe it’s because the longer nights move us deeper into our relationship to our shadow, as the outcasted parts of ourselves spring up like mushrooms after the rain.
It’s not that we will no longer be fragmented. After all, breaking apart is what creates who we are. Like the universe – we keep on banging. We don’t need to put ourselves back together. We make more of ourselves not by reducing ourselves to one thing. We expand our capacities, and grow our understanding, and broaden our horizons by entering more conversations, opening more doors, and viewing life from multiple perspectives.
But t’is the season to (perhaps) say fuck it to the goal of being jolly, and to say fuck yeah to integrating our shadow.
This is the time of year when we must call home all of our parts.
The exiled, banished, pushed aside, and neglected children within our own psyche need us to pick them up, pull them in, cradle them, and set them near the fire-place to warm up.
If we are to forge a self that is whole, we need to let it be an expression of our many facets. That requires the willingness to abandon the mission of oneness, and allow the reality of complexity.
It’s this season of darkness that invites us to lean into the discomfort of what we don’t want to see. Instead of rising above a feeling or an experience, we are being called to descend – down, deep and into it – to the places inside ourselves that have been buried beneath defense mechanisms and dysfunctional functions.
And here, in the evolutionary complexity of a trip to the underworld, as we familiarize ourselves with the ghosts, the goblins, and the demons, right here, is where the whole becomes holy.