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  • Resilient Practice

Embracing the Darkness

The dark and the light, they exist side by side, Sometimes overlapping, one explaining the other. The darkened path is as illuminated as the lightened, Only the fear of the dark keeps us from seeing our way.

- Raven Davies

During the cold winter months, the Earth becomes still and quiet. Animals hibernate. Plants pull their life force inward, sink below the soil, and wait for Spring. We too can draw inspiration and take the journey towards our own centre. The holidays can be busy and stressful with each of us eager to meet our own expectations and those of others. With the added stress of managing our social and family lives at a time when we may risk the health and happiness of those around us, there is a lot of pressure to get things right and a lot of fear of getting them wrong.

Winter is a time for rest, recuperation, and renewal of the spirit. It is also a time for reflection.

As the holidays and festivities begin, why not set the intention to take some quiet time for yourself?

To sit in stillness and be totally present, surrendering to what is and letting go of all your expectations. If you need inspiration, you can listen to one of our guided meditations by adding your email to this website or read the following article on achieving mindfulness:

The shortest day will soon be upon us. As the solstice approaches, festivities and rituals to light up the darkness have been underway across the world. Such celebrations often focus upon celebrating and welcoming the return of the light.

We use candles and bonfires to illuminate our lives. We draw nearer to the hearth and the loved ones around it, and we give thanks for the bounty of the old year and voice our hopes for the new one. We know that, without the return of the light, we cannot be sustained.

Before we celebrate the light, however, we can take some time to sit in darkness.

What does darkness do for us?

Darkness is often associated with adversity, pain and sorrow. It can be synonymous with low mood. Periods of hardship can be described with talk of dark clouds and stormy skies, and we hail the return of the light as the ultimate extinguisher of the negative. We speak of darkness as the enemy when we see ‘the light at the end of the tunnel.’ When our way is illuminated, we have clarity and direction. When we are enlightened, we finally see the whole truth. We offer love and light, but we never wish for anyone the gift of darkness.

But it is a gift.

We have written so many times about the lessons that we learn through adversity. We advocate invoking gratitude for every life experience, not just the ones that we enjoy. This is because, those experiences that hurt us, are often the ones from which we learn the most useful lessons. They put our wellbeing at stake and so the lesson is about preservation of Self. These are the lessons that are key to remaining alive and whole for the full distance. In addition, when we adopt a grateful mindset that does not discriminate, we positively affect our body chemistry which means that we feel better.

We can also invoke gratitude for a deep relationship with our Shadow. We can learn to approve of those unloved parts of us from which we have become estranged or divorced. When we do this, we are closer to the Self that we were when we arrived here before we were sculpted by our surroundings – the Self that the Universe intended. This sets us free from the need to maintain the illusion Self that we have created to please others and allows us to gain approval from within rather than without.

Read more about Shadow here:

The truth is that the darkness provides incredibly fertile ground for growth. If we turn away from it, we do not receive its gifts.

The Universe is made of darkness and light in equal parts. One cannot exist without the other.

The Earth will continue to orbit the sun. The ground will thaw. Shoots will eventually peek above the soil, and we will see the return of the light. Until then let us sit in darkness and invoke gratitude for that all it has to teach us. For the deeply personal lessons borne out of hardship and adversity and for the opportunity to press pause in quiet stillness, to reset, to recuperate and to restore ourselves ready for the coming of Spring.

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