A dear friend has an eight-week-old baby and she recently described nighttime as the time she feels most connected to her role as mother. She lies in bed between her husband and her child, who sleeps somewhat noisily in the bassinette next to her, and feels their three hearts beating together. She has a constellation of nightlights that illuminate her nocturnal pathways and I imagine her creeping through the rooms trying not to disturb the slumbering of her loved ones, the dim glow of her house a warmth in the cold night… her soft movements a dance of motherhood… Although not lonely, she finds herself sole witness to the dark, and in this solitude she feels more fully all that she is to her child, to her partner, and to the world.
And here we are, in the season of darkness, when the hours of the night surpass the hours of day. It can be tempting to close our eyes to it, to wait it out and numb ourselves to any discomfort or pain. Alternatively, we may find ourselves overwhelmed by it, despairing in the sense of being stuck in the dark, that the daylight hours of warmth and sun will never return.
How is it that we may be able to witness it? How do we stay awake and observe? Experience the nighttime of the year? Embrace it even.
It seems now, amidst political, environmental, and social conflicts, that we have an opportunity to be present in the darkness… to see it, to find glimmers of light along the way, to move through it, embracing the solitude as a time to perhaps see ourselves, or our roles in relationship to our community, more clearly.
As you move into winter, and through it, I invite you to follow in the example of my dear friend with the following two intentions:
Identify your constellations of light that help you hold onto hope.
Open your eyes and ears to whatever it is the darkness, silence, and solitude will allow you to experience about yourself, your role, and your gifts to the world.
Wishing you a joyous Winter Solstice and Holiday Season!