• Entering The Darkness of December

    Posted on December 5, 2015 by in Psychotherapist Rockville MD

    Heading Into The Darkness

     (Dear readers South of the Equator, Save this post for June, when you will be approaching your winter solstice. Happy days of light to you now! And for everyone else, the hours below are for the approximate latitude of Washington, DC. Those of you to the north will have more minutes of dark and those to the south more light.)

    Imagine what the darkening days of December were like hundreds of years ago before electricity was harnessed into light. With just the flickers of firelight, candles, and gas lanterns, our awareness of the seasonal changes was heightened. We were intimate with the cycles of light and dark. As we approach the winter solstice, December 21, let’s note that we have 14.5 hours between sunset and sunrise and just 9.5 hours of light between sunrise and sunset (12/04/2015)? What did our ancestors do in those long nights? What might we be missing by living with so much light?

    I’ve been reading Waking Up To The Dark, Ancient Wisdom For A Sleepless Age by Clark Strand. Mr. Strand is a former Buddhist monk who gets up in the night and walks through his rural neighborhood in upstate NY. His answer to that question about what we are missing, is that in the dark of night we find our souls. He suggests that the ambient light and light filled distractions keep us from knowing our deepest selves.

    Now I’m not about to go walking around my urban paradise in the middle of the night! However, I am drawn to getting to know darkness and myself in a new way this solstice season. So I’m trying an experiment. Each evening when I arrive home or sunset arrives, I turn off the lights, TV, radio, and computers, and only use my phone if something urgent happens (it hasn’t). I don’t know how this will go, but so far I find myself welcoming the stillness of the dark.

    What might it be like for you to experience more stillness and somewhere in the quietness of the dark, find a little more of your soul? As we approach the shortest day of the year, I invite you to acknowledge the lengthening nights, welcome the increasing dark, and in your own personal way encounter more of your deepest self.

    With warm wishes that we treasure both light and dark,

    Cathy

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