Monday, November 28, 2011

darkness settling down

The dark time of year is settling upon us.   Whether we light it up because of our fear of the cold starkness or because of our culture's consumer expectations we most often deny our body's basic need for more rest and looking inward.  I wrote about our use of artificial light two years ago, but this week I was reminded again of the importance of the dark.
Our bodies need to listen to these rhythms, work into them and let them sink into our consciousness.  Pushing harder at this time most often results in illness and makes getting through the busy celebrations more taxing on us.  Getting more sleep should be a priority.  Sharon Astyk wrote a compelling piece on sleep's merits.  Being as sleep deprived as I am I certainly understand the importance of sleep for our health.  I wish I could listen to my body and sleep more.  Part of why I haven't been sleeping more recently is parenthood and the other part is a silly insistence in being distracted from the really important things.  So I watch t.v rather than sleep or surf the know what I mean?
Along with not letting your body rest comes the inevitable tornado of holiday "stuff" that seems to creep upon us faster each year.  I enjoyed Sparrow's perspective on this in episode 91 of The Wigglian Way Podcast.  She wanted to remind us all that in the span of the wheel of the year not letting the dark have it's proper place in our spirit is detrimental.  Samhain comes and then we immediately put up our Yule lights and fill our days until the light is born again on Solstice.  But what about that time of looking inward, having reflections of quiet and silence that the dark ushers in?  I am making an effort to not let this coming month whiz by without some quiet time.  That will be a challenge since there are many events, even more than we usually have to celebrate.  And the joy that a very close to four year old exudes as his Christmas birthday approaches is not something I can tell to be patient for that much longer.  But I hope to schedule lots of down time for the boys, early bedtimes,  relaxing time at home, and as many walks outside as we can fit in.
It is important to remember also that the dark time lasts until Spring Equinox and so we can honour those rhythms after the busy holiday season is over as well.

1 comment:

Lydia said...

Agreed! I'll never forget taking a "midnight hike" with my 8th grade class on a retreat in Maine - we hiked out, linked by our hands, trusting the person in front of us, then lay in a field and stared up at the stars for an hour. In total darkness except for the stars - it was magical.