Hello Fellow Embodied Souls –
Solstice blessings to you! Here in the northern hemisphere we are in the darkest time of the year when the earth invites us to tuck in, settle down and slow into roots and quiet and unknown possibility. At the same time it is a time of welcoming light and fresh burgeoning warmth. In our society, that doesn’t tend to acknowledge the need for slow or quiet we tend to focus on the light exclusively; and hot, fast and raging light at that. What gets forgotten is that we can’t have light and warmth without the darkness and the cold. The winter is a necessary precursor to summer, the dark night sky reveals the stars, the grief and loss remind us of the precious, precarious beauty surrounding us.
I don’t know about you, but my body remembers the need for rest at this time of year. I love the early darkness and the resulting invitation to withdraw and settle in by the fire; to relish the darkness that comes at 4pm and to honor this hibernation time. Yet, sometimes there is this inner voice that echoes the outer western world which says “nope, don’t listen to your body… keep going, keep pushing, there’s another thing to do or attend or produce.”. But we need this downtime, this hibernation, this offering of withdrawal…it is a key component of our rhythm as embedded beings in this ecosystem of seasons and life and death.
It can feel challenging to listen to my body sometimes when my brain seems to know exactly what it ‘should’ do. In so many ways we have been taught to distrust the darkness; to demonize it. But the dark and quiet are the container for us to sit with the challenges, the hard stuff, the mess so we can have more capacity for all of life, not just the easy and pleasant. There is a kindness in this offering to hold us in our bareness.
I have learned over the years that my body has a wisdom beyond my brain and often has things to teach me. So I drop in and feel the texture of the sweater, the hum of the tea kettle and the weight of my body in the chair. I allow myself to take breaks as needed and am learning to trust that all that needs to get done will get done in its time. Even writing this feels a little like moving through molasses as my bones crave being horizontal. So I write in small bursts and slow thoughts.
I deeply encourage you to find ways to honor this season of darkness even as you might celebrate the light. To know that both are necessary and trust that the darkness can hold you and the emerging light.
Here are some guides for the wisdom of the darkness and rest…
The Fruitful Darkness: A Journey Through Buddhist Practice and Tribal Wisdom by Joan Halifax
Incantations For Rest: Poems, Meditations and Other Magic by Atena O. Danner
Wintering:The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May
Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal and Delight in Our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller
Upcoming events and offerings…
New Years Day Practice: January 1, 2023, 10a-12p PT. Join a community of practitioners in welcoming the new year with attention and intention. Tending thresholds has long been a powerful practice and is even more potent when done with the collective. We will gather to move, breathe and meditate with the express purpose of honoring this transition. All bodies, abilities and levels of experience are welcome. Register Here
Seattle Yoga Arts Gathering/Celebration: January 28, 3-6pm PT at Om Culture in Wallingford and via Zoom. This time is to honor the many years of life sustaining practice and community anchoring the studio has offered us. I plan to be there IN PERSON and hope I can hug as many of you as can come.
SAVE THE DATE: I will be offering a Part II; Tending Our Nervous System; Resourcing Ourselves Amidst Tumult on Monday, January 30, 5:30-7:30pm PT. We had such a deep time at the workshop earlier in November that we decided a second evening was desired. You are welcome to join us whether you attended the first workshop or not. Register Here
Yoga for Resilience: Mondays 10-11:30am PT. This is an ongoing 90-minute virtual weekly class offered for all bodies and abilities to encourage and support you in finding more resilience and capacity for life. Drop in and 10-class cards available. Register Here
May we rest into the embrace of the darkness which caresses our light
May we listen to the wisdom of the season and our body
May we trust that light can be soft and warm and kind
May we bring blessings and presence to all we encounter
- Take a moment and close your eyes…allow yourself to sink into the darkness there…invite your eyeballs to soften into the sockets and rest in the quiet waves of fluid. What happens in the rest of you being as you do this for 30 seconds or 10 minutes? If sight is not a sense available to you, can you still take the time to tend the darkness and soften the eyeballs and notice if something, anything, new and possible resides there?
- Take a nap…lie down and listen to soothing music…stare out the window…dance as if you were underwater…meander down the lane…snuggle with your four legged friends…snuggle with your two legged friends…light a candle in the dark…spend the evening in candle light…do your awareness practices with kindness, slowly.
- Pause and take the elevator of your attention down into your body and inquire…what would YOU like to do now? What is it YOU are yearning for this afternoon/this evening? And be willing to listen and respond with compassion and understanding and even the possibly of granting this wish. See what arises from this.
- I offer one to one sessions in person in Bend, Oregon and virtually all over the world. If you would like to learn more about my offerings please email me or schedule a free 20 minute Exploratory Session.
Upcoming Live Streaming Practice Opportunities:
- New Years Day Practice, Sunday, January 1, 10am-12pm PT, livestream through Body of Insight
- Yoga for Resilience, Mondays, 10-11:30am PT, livestream through Body of Insight
- Continuum Inquiry Playshop, Monday, January 16, 5:30-7:30pm PT, livestream through Body of Insight
- All Levels Yoga, Sundays, January 22, 10-11:30am PT, livestream through Two Dog Yoga
- Tending the Nervous System Workshop Part II, January 30, 5:30-7:30pm, livestream through Two Dog Yoga
- On Demand Yoga Practices…All Levels… through Two Dog Yoga (practice with me anytime, anywhere!)
IN DARKNESS, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE
Realize that we were taught
To fear the dark.
Consider the seed that splits and unfurls
Unseen within the Earth…
Consider the inside of the egg;
Consider the place where
the Big Bang exploded…
Unknown and generative,
Darkness is unpredictable;
We are in the habit
Of learning to fear our potential,
But imagine embracing rest and dreams…
We learned early to believe in
The whiteness of certain magic and light
And blackness of certain arts and hearts;
Confronted with the sky and its stars, I must reject
This entire premise.
Remind me, siblings
To unlearn these bad habits
And accept the gifts I’ve been given.
Darkness is free and abundant;
There is joy in unfurling
From the shadows we were made in.
We need only close our eyes to go home.
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