{I talk, God listens}.

It’s 2:30 a.m., God.  And I am awake – silence, darkness, my pen and notepad, and my warm covers.  Without the distractions of the day, the darkness provides a holy opportunity to listen and connect.

Keith is dead {*Keith is a dear friend of mine}.  It hasn’t sunk in.  It doesn’t compute.  It’s like waking up from surgery and you are aware you are awake now but something is different and you are still figuring out how the “different” feels.

What calls to me right now, God, is both the darkness and the light.

Darkness – God, you have held my hand and guided me in these last few weeks as Keith was dying.  I don’t override the impulse to cry.  I’m quiet when I need to be.  I reach out when I need to hear someone’s soothing voice, to see their kind eyes, or to just be around their aliveness.  I don’t hurry along my husband’s hugs.

And what I’m noticing in all this, my dear Beloved, is that as I honor the darkness, organically Life begins to call me into the Light.  I am called to tend to the light – within me and around me.

So I’ve been turning on the soft lights of the Christmas tree, opening the shades in the morning, lighting candles in the kitchen, and turning on the lights on the front porch and the string of lights on our fence in the backyard.  I bought a new soft sweater – it reminds me of the sweaters one would wear in Ireland – hearty, warm and cozy.  Blankets are draped on our couches.  I bought a few new pillows with soft, golden hues that bring a smile to my heart. I play the piano each day – Silent Night and Little Drummer Boy.  I’m working on “Lord, I Need You.”  I get choked up as I play and sing the poetic lines of surrender.

I’m letting my heart lead me – both into the darkness and into the light.

I bring candlelight with me – literally and figuratively. I’m thinking now of the Celtic poet, John O’Donohue.  He describes the kind of lighting the soul prefers. It’s not the blaring light of a spotlight, but rather candlelight.  The soul prefers and slowly reveals itself in candlelight.

This is why, God, I don’t mind that you wake me at 2:30.   know I’ll fall back to sleep soon.  But for a little while, the darkness is nice.  The soft light of my lamp is like candlelight in the darkness.  And both the darkness and light can mingle, harmoniously coexist, compliment one another, and reveal to me what You want to show me in my own heart.  The veils are thinner at this hour between the world and the mystical.  I’m listening, breathing.  I am here.

I hear you calling me during the day to tend to the light – to wrap myself in warmth, to exercise, and cook warm soups, and to reach out to dear ones.  And when sadness, darkness, tears or sorrow arrive – unexpected, unannounced, at the grocery store standing in the produce section or meeting the eyes of someone who is kind and soft – you call to me to gently pause and hold that “darkness” like I would a tender new infant.

You call me to let my light shine – in my everyday expressions of love, delight, and connection through my presence and my writings.

You call me to share from the vulnerability of my darkness – to be tender and let the tears fall on the treadmill at the gym or with a friend – and to reveal myself more to others.

And when I wake in the night like this, I’ll lay in the silence or turn on the small soft light by my bed to be quiet, to write, to sense you in both the darkness and the light – beside me, before me, beneath me, above me, within me, and around me with warmth, light, spaciousness, and tenderness.

***
Dear Ones, Maybe you have recently moved and still settling into your new place and community.  Maybe this is your first holiday without your beloved.  Maybe old sorrows are poignantly present right now.  Maybe this is the first year you’ve really noticed how your mom or dad is aging. Maybe you are just cold and want some warmth!

Here are 13 Winter Practices to Honor the Darkness and Tend to the Light Within You and Around You

1. Wear comfy, warm clothing.  Select fabrics that are soft and lush.  Remember to cover your feet and neck.

2. Eat warm, nourishing foods.  Our favorite “go to” cookbook is Oh She Glows.  My favorite plant-based chef is Julie Ackerman.

3. Schedule time with a soul-nourishing friend.  I wish it were different, but these days, we don’t just “bump into” our neighbors. I’ve started to getting into the habit of scheduling times with friends and getting it on the calendar so it really happens.

4. Explore hygge, the Danish way of embracing winter.

5. Notice beauty.  Cultivate the practice of noticing beauty in your everyday life.  This is one of my favorite prints that reminds us that we are walking the path of beauty:

6. Have soft surroundings.  Put warm sheets, soft pillows, and fuzzy blankets on your bed.

7. Soften the lighting.  As the sun sets, dim the lights and light candles.

8. Move your body.  Though we slumber more in winter (and this so so needed!), it’s also helpful to kindle the fire in us with a bit of vigorous exercise.

9. Read poetry. Poetry evokes imagery, emotion and warmth. It speaks to, warms and softens the heart. I’m loving Santosha Spark’s first book of poetry, Heart Wanderings. Santosha takes us on a journey through love, loss, and finding light in everyday life.  This is beautiful poetry for yoga classes.

 

10. Don’t override the sorrow or sadness that arises. We have a tendency to hold back our tears. This causes “stuckness” within our nervous system. Give yourself space to allow the expression of love to move through you.

11. Befriend the darkness. I could write several posts about this! We often try to keep our sorrow, anger, and shame at bay. Learn to see them as the medicine we need. Learn to skillfully abide with the darkness. See it as Holy, too. It’s often helpful to have a soulful presence alongside us. You can find out more about the Compassion Coaching I offer to support you and nourish you.

12. Notice the relationship between light and darkness. Watch the sunrise and sunset. Notice how light and dark play with each other, complement each other, and reveal each other.

13. Cultivate delight.  If you’ve been around this blog for awhile, you know that I’m about delight. The soft, gentle, quiet delight that doesn’t dismiss the darkness but rather, it is through being with whatever we are experiencing that a Holy Clearing within us happens, and a tenacious and playful delight arises.

Also, dear readers,  I want to share with you that I’m beginning to share “conversations” I have with the Divine.  Sometimes I talk and God listens. Sometimes God talks and I listen. Sometimes it’s a conversation.  It’s an everyday way of letting my life be prayer.  And when I happened to share with a few close people this “everyday way” of encountering the Divine, they said, “You need to share your prayers!”  So I am.  I hope that in sharing, you are inspired to connect to the sacred in your own life.

You can find some of these prayers and conversations with the Divine in my book, Gems of Delight. 

*I have just a few poetic wrist wraps left and two days before I close the shop until the new year.  You can find poetic wrist wraps, prints, cards and meditations in my shop.  And if you’d like to start the new year off with nourishing accompaniment, please check out my Compassion Coaching. 

 

Blessings,
Lisa

%d bloggers like this: