Friday, November 19, 2010

Dark Days

"Our bodies live off of LIGHT. Now (winter) is not the time to take on big projects. Now is the time to let things die."

I have a confession to make.  I have always hated this time of year.

It is dark. It is cold. The holidays are coming.....

Another confession. I hate the holidays. Or at least I did.....

For me, this time of year is very uncomfortable. The darkness makes time, always a precious commodity in my life these days, even scarcer. The weather means I am always cold and I hate being cold. And the holidays....the holidays mean pressure and stress and spending too much money and way too much time trying really hard to make everyone happy while seemingly making no one happy.....

No wonder everyone is depressed.

Are you noticing this too?

Nearly everyone I know is feeling down or sick or depressed. Things are coming up big for people around me right now and many are feeling overwhelmed.

And I am beginning to wonder if that isn't as it should be. As nature intended.

As this quote says, " is the time to die." All around us nature is dormant, sleeping, dying, waiting for spring to come when it will once again "spring" to life.

Perhaps it is the same for us humans. Perhaps we are meant to die, along with the flowers and the leaves and the mosquitoes, to that which no longer serves us.

Every year we start fresh with new resolutions, new plans, a clean slate. We acknowledge this and celebrate it with lists and diets and champagne and fireworks. But what about the death that, according to all the laws of nature, must precede this new life?

Do we acknowledge it at all or are we too busy shopping and baking and stressing to fully experience it? Maybe that is why so many people find themselves feeling sad and depressed at this time of year. A part of them, a part of their life, is dying and there is no room, no ritual, to acknowledge and to celebrate this death.

For me this always manifests itself in my body's desire to be lazy, to gain weight, to sleep in, and to do basically nothing. All of my good habits seem to go by the wayside this time of year: I have stopped doing my morning yoga, I am running much less than I did this summer (and more often than not inside on my treadmill), and I feel like I could eat my body weight in carbs and not be satisfied.

I also feel an underlying sadness that I cannot quite understand. While all around me it feels like everyone is excited and happy and looking forward to the holidays I am full of sadness and dread. 

But as I talk to people I realize that I am not the only one and that perhaps we are all looking at each other through red and green colored glasses, but not really seeing each other.

We are all dying. To who we used to be, to who we thought we'd become in 2010, to the things that no longer serve who we will be in 2011.

So let's take some time this pre-holiday season to mourn and to grieve for what we are leaving behind before we start to plan and anticipate what will come next.

Here's what I am letting go of as 2010 comes to a close:

1) Shifting relationships. Our relationships with others (and with ourselves for that matter) are always shifting and changing; sometimes this is difficult to accept. I need to let go of the relationship that I would like to have with the people in my life, so as to have the relationship that is meant to be.

2) My ideas about what I "should" be doing. I am going to try and stay in the moment with myself and do what feels right in that moment, regardless of what I have "planned" to do or "would like" to get done.

3) Other people's opinions about my life. Whether stated or implied or presumed (by me!).

4) My tendency to "escape" into books, TV, even my own thoughts, when I get overwhelmed. I am going to try and stay with my feelings as they arise, not replace them with manufactured feelings from someone else or my own crazy mind.

5) The idea that the holidays are going to be "perfect" or that anyone in my family or my life is going to act or behave in a certain way that will make it more enjoyable for me. Everyone is going to show up with their "crap" and it is my job as their friend, co-worker, or family member to lovingly accept them for who they are in that moment (without, of course, letting them impose that on me in a way that is unfair or slimy).

That's a start. What are you letting go of this winter? And how do you feel about it?

(NB. This quote is a repeat from last year - 12/30/09. My plan was never to repeat a quote on this blog, however, this quote just seemed to nail what is going on for a lot of people I know right now so I am making an exception. It may not be the last time. There are a lot of great quotes that I did not comment on the first time that I used them so I may be doing this again. Soon. Stay tuned....) 

1 comment:

  1. Winter, a necessary part of the "Sequence of all things"; Summer following Spring, Day (appearance) following Night (of disappearance), etc... I love that there's so much going on underneath everything - unseen... No one sees the 'lord of the manor' doing all the work and saving to put on that lavish banquet that eventually arrives...
    So, for me nothing is "meant to be" and i choose to let go of... winter itself... and embrace all that comes anyway...
    'Were it not for the cold, how would the heat of Thy words prevail, O Expounder of the worlds?'