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Holiday Lights| Explore the Darkness

We are approaching some of the darkest days of the year. There are literally more dark hours than there are hours of sunlight. Around this time, especially in light of current world events, we may experience feelings of being down, gloominess, or even depression. In many respects, this aligns with the “As without, so within” principle which suggests that there is a sun inside of us (soul) just like there is a sun outside of us (El Sol in Spanish/ solis Latin).

Many cultures before ours understood this correlation and had "celebrations of lights" and other festivals to illuminate us externally in hopes that it would have an effect internally. This is a large part of the reason why there are so many lights used during the Christmas season.

However, the more I think about darkness and its place in this existence, the more I realize that we run away from the darkness. We are afraid of the darkness. We think something is wrong with us when we experience dark and depressing times.

If we think about nature, light is not shining all of the time. There is day AND night. There is being awake (light) and being sleep (darkness). We even blink approximately 20 times per minute, giving us moments of darkness in our waking hours.

I am starting to wonder-- have we gotten darkness wrong? And if we've gotten darkness wrong, have we gotten the light wrong? Are they opposites? Enemies? Why does society teach that we are supposed to be happy and smiling all of the time—and any time we feel blah or like we don’t want to put on the mask, we think something is wrong with us? OK, I may just be speaking for myself, but I don't think I'm alone in this thinking...

Currently, I think we are being led to a place where we must accept ALL of ourselves: our good and our bad; our happy and our sad; our light and our darkness. It's the only way we can really know ourselves.

I always take everything back to nature. The trees outside have a part of themselves in the sun, but the other part is underground. Trees are the only beings that live simultaneously in the world of above and below... and I think since human beings walk as tall as we do, there is potential for us to do the same-- and benefit from both worlds. It’s said of most trees, that as high as they go up, they are equally or greater in reach below—as the roots anchor the tree—giving it the foundation necessary to stand up in the first place. The roots grow before the tree. It develops in the darkness before it ever sees the light of day.

As there are seasons in nature, are are there not be seasons in life. And since Mother Earth doesn't take a pill every time the winter comes to keep the sun out longer, or go to the doctor every time it rains, perhaps we should expand our paradigm to accept our dark days as a part of the journey. What do you think you will find if you explore the darkness, the loneliness, the gloom? Observe the way it makes you feel. Observe how you feel when you come out of it. Note any lessons you learned from it. Appreciate it. But don’t punish yourself for being natural. Don’t medicate yourself for having a few rainy days. The sun will shine again.

Heart Refuge's Ayesha Ali shed some light on darkness (pun intended) during the Virtual Christmas Production: Christmas Magic with Tim Lee and Friends. Perhaps it's not the opposite of darkness after all. Listen to these insights given as we contemplate why lights is so universal at during the Christmas Season.

To learn more about the show, visit:

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