Don't be afraid of the dark
The darkness is squeezing us at both ends of the day now as we move deeper into winter, though December skies can still offer brilliantly crisp golden days - something to relish at this time of year.
But as the days grow shorter some will be feeling the weight of another darkness, not caused by the movement of the earth, but instead by a shift inside; a descent into something much more sorrowful. Such a phase can be brief and can pass as soon as the sun shines again, but for some it may go on for a while. In this darkness the Christmas season can be a painful one. It can be a time for feeling the loss of loved ones; perhaps the feeling of aloneness in the world; even financial pressures and obligations beyond that which can be comfortably managed. At the sharper end there can be a sense of "frozenness" or disconnection from the world, a kind of hell.
Such an experience can make us want to pull away from life, avoid others, retreat into ourselves - and, of course, this may be exactly what is needed for a time. Like Jonah from the fable, we may need time to be alone, to sit in the belly of the whale to contemplate our fate. Those who are fiercely independent may find it hard to reach out for help; the most vital step is to take care of yourself, keeping warm, taking exercise, eating well, breathing fresh air, going out into nature, and soothing yourself in any way you can. Oh yes - and avoiding alcohol. Place your hand on your heart with a feeling of kindness and self-appreciation. Notice how this can comfort.
What we often call depression can be a sign that something is wrong with our lives, or that we need to heal from some old wound. It might simply be that we need permission to have difficult feelings. Whatever it is, it is also an invitation to explore more closely the darkness that returns time and time again. Finding the right people to talk to and be with can be crucial. With time and internal work it is possible to feel easier, be able to take stock, reflect on life, make necessary changes, end some things, begin others, and be ready for your new found wisdom.
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