December 6, 2023
Why don't we listen to the darkness? It's like we just want it to go away; pretend it isn't happening. Where does that get us? Think of feelings (or the parts of you) as children: we should not let them drive our emotional bus, but we deifinitely should not put them in the trunk.
This time of year is full of tension: it's both the season of lights and darkness. You cannot escape it. The Solstice is coming. No amount of holiday lights and cards will allow you to ignore it. Well, you might ignore it, but putting it in the trunk has consequesnes too.
So what to do?
After years of running from it, I now turn towards it.
This past Sunday at my meditation group we listened to this Sitting with Sadness meditation. To be honest, I want to do my own. version with a bit more pausing and silence, but it is a fabulous thing on which to meditate.
It's like we treat sadness as if it's COVID - never wanting to get near it - creating social distance. Recently I've had several people talk about not wanting to cry in therapy sessions because they have to __________________ after session. (fill in the blank with "live"). Feelings don't have to grab the wheel of our emotional bus and drive it over a bridge.
Feelings arise, platau, and end.
Here is proof: think about a really difficult thing in your life from a year or so ago.
I'll go first: I found my beautiful 28 year old newhew dead on my birthday in 2018.
My heart still aches when I think of that day, but it isn't at all like it was in 2018.
What would it mean to never allow my sadness over this and countless other things to ever arise?
It would mean I never felt deeply about anyone or anything.
Poor sadness never gets allowed to just be.
This time of year with the darkness getting deeper and deeper with each passing day seems a perfect time to simply set aside time to be sad.
I've made a sad (and hopeful) playlist to wrap around me today. I hope you'll allow yourself to just be with it and all the complicated feelings that are sure to come this time of year.
Hurry up and appreciate the darkness while it is still here, because on December 22nd the light will begin to grow again. Take advantage of this darkness. Settle into it. Feel it in your bones. Give yourself a chance to be with sadness. Share it with someone else if that helps (I foten do)
You will come out the other side and be the better for it.
Listen. Notice. It's getting dark.