December 2014: Winter Solstice
WINTER, a sharp bitter day
the robin turns plump against the cold
the sun is week
silver faded from gold
he is late in his coming and short in his stay
Man, beast, bird and air all purging, all cleansing,
earth already purified awaits the rite of spring
Her bridal gown a virgin snow and frosts in her hair
A snowdrop by the road today bowed gracefully
and high upon the wing up in the sparkling nothingness,
a lone bird began to sing
Can gentle spring be far away?
~ Winter by Tommy Makem
I am always glad for the turning point in the year when the daylight returns. Even though these are considered the shortest days of the year, they feel like the longest–especially when the skies are overcast; and what daylight we do have is dim. This is a time to celebrate the changing of the seasons with brightly coloured lights strung upon evergreens. Life and Light continues even in the midst of bleak darkness.
This is also a season to clean out the darkest corners of our minds. This concept is sparked by a conversation yesterday about the reasons we have to face addictions (behaviour and chemical). We seldom do that for ourselves, but rather are motivated for some other reason—usually another living being or the risk of losing said being. We generally don’t have the self-worth to embark on such a hazardous journey for our Self.
The addictive behaviour or substance is what is for our own benefit—letting go of that coping strategy is for someone else. We weigh the risk of losing someone important to us, as heavier than the risk of losing what we think is holding us together, in order to salvage a relationship or lifestyle.
We might be about to lose a job or home—but that loss is tempered by what it will mean to others such as our families. It is one thing to create a homeless, jobless life for ourselves. It’s quite another to do that “to” people we truly care about. And sometimes we push away the people who care about us as we patch together some sort of life that supports our addiction of choice.
For me, I didn’t come face-to-face with the patches of my life until my dog, Gracie, died in March 2012. And I didn’t find the courage to face some of my many anxieties (especially social ones) until Elsa came along three months later. It quickly became apparent that to help Elsa with her anxieties, I’d have to face and deal with my own.
And as we have a few successes along the way of dealing with our patches, our coping strategies, we build the self-worth to tackle the hazards on our healing journey for our Self—when we finally get that we are worth the effort and want to make our own lives better.
Reminds me of Winter Solstice—we have to get through the darkest days in order to appreciate the new life Spring brings. May you find your own reasons to get through these darkest of days (and clean out the darkest corners) until we can awaken in the Spring.
“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.
Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
~ Albert Schweitzer