Sunday, November 18, 2018

Dancing with Shadows


We are descending into the darkest time of the year, made even more challenging by Daylight Savings Time’s end, which jolted us into sudden darkness at dinnertime.

We are hard-wired to the light, and our inner clocks struggle to reconcile the difference. We can feel a bit fuzzy-headed and sluggish till our bodies make the shift. I feel like this years’ time change was a doozy and hard to come out of.

As the shadows of sunset come earlier each day, we are drawn inwards. We feel sleepy by dinnertime, caused by the rising of melatonin in our bodies in response to the diminishing light. We long for comfort and warmth, and desire to linger in our jammies and cuddle on the couch. The world seems cold and harsh at times, and we reach for the sanctity of our caves, so to speak.

November brings us to a place of transition. The sweetness of summer is gone, the fall is being replaced by bluster and starkness, and the holiday brightness is not quite yet upon is. Our bodies, being attuned to the light, are asking us to slow down and prepare for winter, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally.

We are being drawn back into our centers. . . our essence . . .our roots. 

As the final leaves fall, there’s an inner calling - an invitation to reflect. Our deepest self longs to pause and take stock of the past year: what we’ve planted and reaped, what was helpful and harmful, and how we can make the next year better. 

We need closure.

We tend to resist this inner reflection and deep work. It’s hard to take an honest look at our lives and determine what’s working, what needs forgiven, and what needs to be let go. We live in a culture that tells us to suck it up, keep going, and don’t ask questions. We’re encouraged to fight this natural instinct to do our inner maintenance. Resistance to this work will lead us into the winter with unresolved conflict, a kind of sickness that seeps into the soul, then creeps into the body. We will suffer on many levels from our lack of inner self-care.

This annual pause-and-review, if we allow it, gives us the chance to acknowledge our accomplishments and growth, which are often hard to see in the moment they’re occurring. We can give ourselves the needed pats-on-the-back that we don’t often get from others. It also allows us to see which relationships and beliefs are nourishing and which are harmful, so that we can prune away the dead branches. We get a chance to sit in gratitude for the blessings, and grieve for the losses. An honest assessment brings us to a place of peace, even if we choose to do nothing but acknowledge where we stand.

It’s easier to face our inner worries and demons than suppress them and pretend they’re not there. Ignoring them means that we don’t accept the full truth of who we are. We all have light and shadow.

And if we won’t dance with our shadows, someone else will.

Personally, I’d prefer not to be publicly triggered by ghosts of the past that I didn’t lay to rest properly. If I’ve taken the time to reflect on mistakes and forgiven them, I’ll be able to behave with more grace when those kinds of issues show up in life. I’ll be able to act instead of re-act. If I’m able to acknowledge what my weaknesses are and accept them as a part of the truth of who I am, there is much growth to be had there. 

No one is perfect, and we’ll all be wrestling with our shadows for our whole lives. It’s easier to get to know them well so we recognize them when they make an appearance. Those shadow aspects help us to attain balance in our lives and offer us perspective that we may not otherwise consider. They remind us to be present and to be honest about what we need so we can make the best choices possible.

I invite you to hear the calling of your heart and step into the energy of the season. Make some time to listen to your most beautiful inner-self. Discover what you need. Honor what you’ve gained, grieve what you’ve lost. Open up and accept where you are and love yourself for it – every last bit. It prepares the way for the dreamtime of winter – the season of restoration, nourishing our roots, and visioning.

May the sunsets be bold, our days be brilliant, and our nights be filled with warmth and comfort as we tend our hearts and souls. Above all, may we remember that forgiveness is our friend and love is a part of who we are. 

Love & Light,
Sue

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