In the northern hemisphere we are heading towards the darkest day of the year. No wonder there is so much societal focus on parties, food and gifts; darkness is scary and it feels so much more palatable to go through it in the context of community and celebration. (That, and the sun is in Sagittarius!) But, before we go too far down the rabbit hole of external focus, I want to remind you the importance of using the darkness to your advantage.
Recently, I’ve seen an epidemic amongst my clients. There seems to be a case of “outrun your blues” floating in the air. It’s symptomatic of the belief that if we just stay busy enough, diligently focused on our goals, we’ll successfully bypass any feelings of sadness that may be percolating beneath the surface. The unfortunate by product of this behavior is that sometimes by “keeping busy,” we perpetuate a fear that stopping will lead us into a backwards slide into the belly of our blues: a place many of us spend a majority of time trying to avoid.
I know feeling sadness seems counter intuitive in our hyper-productive, happiness-obsessed world, but the truth is that it takes far more energy to outrun our truth than it does to temporarily surrender to it. The more we practice presence with darkness, the less we have to fear it. Ultimately this can save oodles of hours of time. (Lifetimes, in fact.) You’d be amazed at how much time we waste as a culture trying to avoid our uncomfortable feelings.
So, rather than throwing yourself into a tailspin of activity as a way to avoid the discomfort of darkness, take some time to become present with yourself and where we are seasonally. That way when the solstice happens on December 21st and the days begin to last a little longer, you’ll have a deeper sense of wisdom with regards to how you want to use the waxing light.
Here’s a list of 10 ideas for you…
- Give yourself unstructured time to do whatever you want, even if that means doing absolutely nothing.
- Turn off your cell phone, unplug your computer and take a temporary technology vacation.
- Go to a yin, restorative or slow flow yoga class, and feel what’s happening for you internally.
- Watch a tear-jerker movie and give yourself permission to cry.
- Bust out your journal and ask yourself this question, “If I weren’t afraid I would?” Free write a few answers and then find one that really speaks to you. Give yourself twenty minutes to dive deep into inquiry around what would be different if you faced this fear head on and took bold action despite feeling afraid.
- Eat something incredibly sensuous, in silence, mindfully. With so much focus on food between now and the end of the year, it’s important to take some time to get present with eating. Sit down at a set table and eat some delicious food slowly. Put your fork down between bites and thoroughly chew eat morsel that passes your lips. Indulge every aspect of what you choose to eat- touch, color, texture, taste, and scent. Most importantly, take your time, and stay present with each moment of your meal. Be sure to stop eating once you feel satiated.
- Take a long candle lit bath while soaking in sea salts.
- Sleep more. In general most of us are sleep deprived because we need more sleep than we realize. If it’s possible, allow yourself some extra snooze time.
- If you are like me and tend to be out often, consciously spend a night or two in.
- Ask yourself what you are most meant to learn right now as we head into the darkest night of the year. What is your wisdom guiding you toward? Try to feel your answer come through your body instead of your head. What’s your body guiding you to learn? Access your intuition and see what’s she’s directing you to.
Here in the northern hemisphere we have a precious opportunity to slow down our rhythm and tune into our wisdom. It’s important to note that that’s precisely what we need the most right now.
What are the ways you can make the best use of your time as we head towards the solstice? Please share your ideas and your results below.
(For those of you who live in the southern hemisphere I apologize for the post.)
As always, I send you my love…