The challenges of dark days

Today is the winter solstice-the shortest day, and in some latitudes a time when there is  more darkness than light. Often this can feel like a challenging time. In New Zealand I often hear it referred to as “hump day” as we pass the high point on the hill of the challenge of getting through winter. Here where I live in the mountains, winter brings play and skiing but in the absence of carefully groomed ski runs or mountains covered with white, and  or course precious time to play, winter can be quite hard for many.

I found myself wondering recently why when I’m asked about my work at a social functions and I mention emotional health, it’s easy for eyes to glaze over, for people to gently move away from me or suggest that perhaps they have a friend who maybe should talk to me. I’ve noticed that somehow we’re prepared to welcome the light emotions -joy, love, excitement, but yet somehow we resist the more challenging ones. Even in myself I can admit this can be true. This humbles me on this journey of how we create safety and openness- perhaps some help could be the knowing that so often the emotions that are seen as the darker ones- grief, anger or pain- when not given expression, lodge themselves in our bodies, and can cause ongoing physical or emotional pain.

I too recall being scared of the dark when I was a child. I too have felt fear on low days that feel stuck. I’ve also come to realise how understanding that any pain I hold is the result of losing something I valued, or having some need unseen, unmet or unvalued. This was not the intention of those around me but may have been how I made sense of it all.

Learning how to release this and acknowledge it has been a huge  and ongoing part in my journey. I’ve had the honour to work with many clients struggling with sometimes debilitating physical symptoms yet when we have touched on and released anger, grief or pain, many or all of these symptoms have resolved.

I recognise we will have a fear of darkness. Its human. We want to see. Perhaps it may help to recall that we also need darkness to rest to sleep.  The solstice in ancient Celtic tradition was a time for reflection and rest. There is a gift if we can support ourselves to be in this space or find someone who can help us do this.

I know this to be true and have seen so much evidence in so many I work with. I love working in this way to help my clients find safety to explore and release in this space.

Sending my love on this candlelit long night to you whether you are sitting in light or dark right now.