This season has been difficult for me, many years now. The darkness seems to reflect the inner workings of my moods and transitions. This season highlights loss.
I don't know if it was the death of my mother, or the death of relationships and trust that started this turning inward, this movement with the winter rhythm. I seem to pull back as the trees lose summer vibrance, going dormant as cold folds itself into hills.
The feelings of loss, of sadness come and go. Mostly I'm too busy with life and children to pay it much heed. But it sits, waiting for a moment to surface.
It surfaced yesterday. It surfaced after two days of feeling on edge. It surfaced in tears and hopeless feelings and anger. Facing yourself in that state is difficult. Facing yourself with compassion is even harder....being given compassion during that darkness is a gift. Keith knows how to give that gift and for that I am deeply grateful. Ever have I walked this path alone, until now.
I've been dreaming about Mom and old houses. Old houses come and go from my nights since I can remember. There is something about the convergence of past and future in those dreams, though I can't quite grasp what they are telling me.
Christmas brings a lot of the dark to the surface. I'm sure it has to do with all those Norman Rockwell celebrations we had as children and the reminder that it will never exist again. Loss.
I turn inward, toward reflection and even in this dark, in this night, I sense another awakening. There are so many magnificent events unfolding in our lives, so much gratitude and beauty. And that's really what this post is about. How the dark must exist to make room for the light. How embracing loss, embracing the terribly difficult seasons of night are part of the beauty. How hurt and shadow and sad are not something to be avoided.
I'm not talking about wallowing or ignoring symptoms of depression. I'm talking about opening ourselves to all of the experiences we face, even when it's hard. I'm talking about facing them and learning from them. I'm talking about not glossing over the hurt or sad or night with fake joy, platitudes or new age hoo-ha.
There is a Zen peace I get from being with the grief rather than denying it. I am at one with my winter world, void of brilliant colors with growth silently, gently urging itself from the deep.
Found a journal entry from November of last year where I wrote: "Sunshine, wind and Appalachian hills bordering this day....children in transition, my spirit torn--never sure if there is a home for me here. I watch the trees dropping leaves, feel the freeze coming and I dread the season of dark, of turning inward. Spiraling inward seems like too much of a risk now. I want to run, to hide, to go where nobody knows me and there are no responsibilities. Children, money, the life I chose keep me here--but there are days I dream of my cabin in the woods....."
There was my "aha" moment, that clarity that only looking back can give. This is the season of dark, of dormant, of quiet growth and of facing loss. But it is only a season. It's importance to my artist spirit can not be denied. I welcome the dormant, the quiet, yes even the cold. For within it is the key to awakening for me. Awakening and awakening and awakening......again and yet again.
This time I am not alone. This time I have not only a mirror but someone to walk the dark with me, without getting sucked into it's insatiable hunger. This time I know it is only a season and we are not defined by the seasons of our lives as much as grown by them.
Seeds will be purchased soon, garden plans made. The house is facing some changes too.....for too long it has been dormant as well.
Awaken, awaken and awaken. Once again.
I am happy, I am grateful, I am not alone. But I never really was after all.