Pilgrimage in the Dark
The quietude of this winter solstice season calls for a restorative frame of mind as we conserve our energy and prepare to yield into the silence of the dark nights ahead. In these moments there is the potential to discover your true nature, including a shadow side that can wreak havoc from time to time!
I am remembering a winter solstice not too long ago, I heard the news, the kind that makes your legs go limp and spins your head into the ethers. Even though I had plenty of practice with family crises and as mother to a child with a long-term life-threatening illness, this time I was the one being told a tale of rogue cells, and thus my healing journey from cancer began.
Funny thing, it wasn’t until much later, after being cured, while I was at a silent retreat at a hermitage I found myself circling back to dread and face demons again. These were dark December nights with “too-long” silence and along with it doubts, not being able to remember what was real, and landing in a limbo where none of my usual sources of comfort brought comfort. Every time I have done a silent retreat I have hoped to bring it home with me: that fresh perspective of understanding the interior anew from rich digging, resisting those ready-made answers from others and from ourselves. But all I felt was a void and nothing was going to make a difference.
The sun rose on the last day, I was not feeling refreshed, but did feel some assurance as that morning light temporarily sustained me during that final contemplative hour. Once home, that shadow became visible, only after I was completely honest about my fears of the unknown. Circling back with courage, I let that fear move through me. It dawned on me that I did bring something home with me, a shadow I can count on as steady companion, part of my true nature.
Yin time, a moving inwards where I learn from the "not knowing" and yield to a deeper trust where my dreams can be nourished, is also part of my true nature. And this winter I surrender to the evenings ahead where more lessons will come from the darkness, where I can whole-heartedly try to be more enchanted by its delights. While trusting with all of your heart is not always for the faint of heart, I can show up exactly where I am to allow a little magic to happen and for destiny to begin to unfold.