December is here and as we make our way toward the Winter Solstice it is a powerful time to remember that we must know the shadow in order to know the light. It is our natural inclination to reach for the warm, life-giving energy of the light, especially if we have been immersed in a period of darkness.
I have always had, at best, an under appreciation for this time of year, at worst, a visceral sense of dread as the cold months and shorter days move in. This is mirrored in my struggle to welcome night and the journey toward sleep. I just love the day time and have a preference for the new light first thing in the morning, and all the possibility and energy of starting a new day.
I have recently been using yoga nidra as a way to help me embrace the closing of the day and enter into a more restful sleep. It has made a huge difference and is teaching me so much about the healing energy of darkness. Clearly such a microcosm for the macrocosm. As within so without.
There is a whole network of intelligence waiting to come alive in the quiet space of darkness that is often obscured by the light. Our nervous system and the whole ecosystem require natural darkness in order to turn on the quieting and healing responses available to us, yet we live in a culture that celebrates activity, the unnatural light of screens, and undervalues rest and stillness.
Perhaps this winter is the perfect opportunity to develop night vision and cultivate a deep and abiding sense of inner refuge.
I hope you will join me in finding new ways to embrace this time of year and utilize it as an opportunity to shift into a deeper state of sensing, feeling, and being.