"Going all the way into the dark."
Today is the Winter’s Solstice. The shortest and darkest day of the year. Tomorrow the days start to get longer and we begin to move into the light. The Winter Solstice marks a time to go all the way in and touch the gifts of darkness so that we can remember them and honor them as we move back out into the light.
This is a vulnerable email, and I share only because I know you can relate. I have found that when one woman shares her story, it empowers us all to bring our voices and experiences into the light. This feels like what we need right now. This is how we heal.
I have been sick for almost five months. Without going into the details, my body gave in to the Epstein Barr virus, which knocked me down. It’s a chronic sickness that takes the wind out of you, shows you all your vulnerabilities, humbles you, and takes you right into the dark underbelly of your life.
I went there in these last few months. All the way into the dark. Rather than fighting it, which wouldn’t have worked anyway, I allowed myself to go all the way in because a part of me knows that if I want to live a fully expressed life, then I have to embrace both the light and the dark.
One of the effects of the virus is that it disturbed my sleep. I had many sleepless nights, in which I came to a reckoning with the way I have treated my body over the years – pushing, sacrificing, overgiving… Our culture asks way more of us than we can give. As women, we play too many roles. For the past few years, I have just been running and running. Faster and faster. Trying to keep up with life… technology, traffic, kids, work, politics, marriage, friendships…
And finally, my body told me to stop. She told me to sit down. For a while. To pause, and reflect. To feel the darkness and remember it. In the darkness she showed me that I am not supposed to run through life. She showed me that if I want to be healthy, then I have to slow down. She showed me that I don’t have to work so hard. She taught me to understand that we are not here to do it all. She showed me simplicity. She taught me how to surrender.
So here I am, reflecting on this darkest day of winter, ready to emerge into the growing light of the new year.
We are vulnerable. We live our lives as if we are immune to our culture’s quickening pace, but our bodies give us signals to slow down. The greatest gift we can give ourselves is space to be slow. Space to connect. To reflect. To have real conversations. To listen to our inner wisdom and our bodies messages.
So as we move into the light of the new year ahead, I invite you to slow down with me. To listen deeply, to soften, and let life cradle you. On this solstice night, look for the messages and the gifts the dark may have to give you. What have you learned? How have you grown? What light has been born from the dark?
I’d love to hear from you. If you feel called, hit comment below and let me know.
We at The Practice wish you the very best solstice eve, holiday season, and new year.
Sending you big hugs and holiday wishes…