Today driving into work I could really tell that we are creeping toward the darkest part of the year. There was no sign of the sun the entire way in, and even now as I sit at my desk I still don’t see any signs of the sun peeping out yet.
I used to think of the dark as a scary place. Often during this time of the year I suffered with seasonal depression, and struggled to just get simple tasks done. In those days I would much rather crawl into bed and hide under the covers until yule was over. Then at least I could recognize the fact that the days would start to get longer, and allow that fact to get me through my daily tasks. I recognized back then that for me the sun was a guiding force, maybe not metaphysically, but its presence was calming, reassuring and gave me a time frame to go by in order to get tasks done. But when the days were so short that I ended up waking to darkness, working, and going home in darkness, it was a significant struggle because I didn’t see that guide in my life.
Now however, things have changed. I recognize that darkness is not something to be feared. But it is something that is different and must be explored.
We cannot have light without the darkness. And while darkness brings a time to rest, it also brings a time where we must change our patterns. The sun serves as a guide to the day, so since we don’t have the sun, we must strive to look within ourselves to find the guidance to carry us through. Since the darkness also brings cold, we must seek warmth, whether it be the warmth within ourselves, the warmth that comes from being kind or just the warmth of extra blankets on the bed. Darkness is meant to be a struggle. It’s meant to be a time where you have to reach deep within your resolve to get through the daily duties of the day.
Darkness is also an excellent time to look within ourselves and let go of the things that no longer serve us. To continue to carry those things around simply means that you exert more energy. Why not cast out that which you no longer need? The thought of changing patterns and recognizing unhealthy truths is scary in itself. Yet holding onto those things may be stopping you from figuring out what it is you really want, or it may be dragging you down so that you cannot reach the goal that you have for yourself. At the very least, accepting those pieces of you that you aren’t as comfortable with will go a long way in allowing you to move forward.
For me, this year I am learning to embrace the darkness itself. I want to learn to live within the darkness just as comfortably as I live within the daylight. To me, that means I need to recognize I am more human than I allow myself to think I am. I am not the perfect shape, by any means. I have what society classifies as ‘negative’ feelings, and I’m allowed to have them. And I recognize that I need to accept what society may classify as my shortcomings as they are. And although some of those things may need to change in the future, for now just accepting them as a piece of me is enough.
Photo from Deviant Art