An Embodiment Practice for Winter: Embracing the Dark

We are 19 days from the shortest day of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere). The darkness is literally growing day by day, a sign that winter is here.  

Yet when you think of December, darkness is rarely the first thing that comes to mind. It’s parties, and gatherings, and many festivities, sprinkled with beautifully colored lights.

It’s almost as if the religious holidays and cultural festivals of the season have taught us to bypass the dark.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the tree lights reflecting in the nighttime window, and feel the romance as I walk through the beauty of winter wonderlands.

I’m also aware that the comfort I feel from these things, is the same thing I crave whenever faced with the dark times of life. The uncertain and the unknown rarely feel good.

We’ve grown up avoiding the dark. Scared of the monsters that might creep out from under the bed, and avoid bumping into things we can’t see that might bruise us.

Winter is a time to strengthen our ability to face the darkness. Instead of running away from it, or bypassing it with light, it’s a time to learn how to stay centered and navigate, even when we can’t see the whole picture or don’t have all the information.

It’s an invitation to love the place of unknown, and let it be a fertile ground for strengthening your ability to trust the process, lean into the mystery, listen with your whole self, and let life unfold before you.

Reflection

1. What part of life feels uncertain right now? Where am I wanting answers, or it all figured out, before moving forward?

My Personal Answer: It’s in my work. I want to have all clients for 2020 in place, the content and timing of newsletters neatly laid out in a grid, all key dates set.

2. If you had all the answers and the certainty right now, what would that give you?

My Personal Answer: Peace. And permission to not work so hard.

Embodiment Practices to Play with:

Greeting the Day in the Dark

  • When you first wake up, before turning the light on, take ‘child’s pose’. (Kneel on the ground and fold forward so your forehead meets the ground. Arms can extend out in front of you or along your side.)
  • (Alternatively, light a candle if that feels better for you.)
  • Take 5 minutes to stay in stillness, silence, and darkness.
  • Notice where your mind wanders to at first.
  • Notice after some time how you feel after just being in the dark.
  • If it feels right, bring the uncertainty and darkness of life to your awareness, and be with it for a few moments.
  • When you feel complete, move on with your day.

Moving in the Dark (adapted from The Moon Deck http://www.themoondeck.com)

This ritual will help you face your fears, awaken trust, and build confidence in moving through the unknown. You can do this in silence, or to music that brings you inward. Try this for 11 minutes or more.

  • Either in the dark, or blindfolded, let yourself move around your room.
  • Notice what happens to your senses of sound, smell, touch and taste, as you are no longer relying on sight to guide you.
  • Notice what part of your body leads your movement.
  • Return to your breath if you start to feel shaky, have the urge to turn on the light or remove the blindfold. 
  • After 11 minutes, take some time to reflect on your experience.
  • If after reflection you feel inspired to try this a second time, do so. Notice what might feel different this time.

Photo by Liset Verhaar on Unsplash

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