Laura Calabrese, LCSW, LICSW
The winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, took place on December 21st. Since then, the days have grown longer with more light and less darkness. In grief, it is important to hold space for both dark and light, recognizing the darkness isn't wrong. The darkness reminds us of the light we have been given on other days. That reminder is both painful and beautiful because it is our love persevering.
You are not required to replace your darkness with light. Instead, meet yourself where you are now, and hold a tender space for what is present for you without trying to fix it. Sit with your grief with curiosity, grace and empathy rather than judgement and shame. There is information there for you about your needs; trust that you can rebuild and integrate your loved one's presence as you learn to meet your needs in new ways. Your thoughts and emotions can also serve as a valuable teacher, bringing more self awareness and self-compassion. For example, your anger may signal a boundary has been crossed, and it is important for you to take action and set clear boundaries.
Today we enter a new year. We may hold hope for less pain and more joy. We may commit to shedding what no longer serves us and focus on healing and rebuilding.
This is also a time to rest; be enough for yourself first. If it feels overwhelming to reflect on the last year or to set intentions for the new year, then rest where you are in this moment. Give yourself the attention and care you deserve. Put your energy into things that matter most to you.
Rather than resolving to "do better," I invite you to to set intentions. What do you hope to manifest or cultivate in the coming weeks or months? If you'd like a creative project to go along with this, please see the Creative Practice forum for the "Planting Seeds of Intention" paper crafting project. There are also quotes below that may serve as a writing prompt for you or might land in just the right way for an art journal entry.
Wishing you peace and comfort in this new year,
“The wound is the place where the light enters you.” – Rumi
"What makes night within us may leave stars." – Victor Hugo
“The place where light and dark begin to touch is where miracles arise.” – Robert A. Johnson
“The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.” – Brené Brown
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” – Plato
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
“Instead of fighting the darkness, you bring in the light.” – Eckhart Tolle
“Light is to darkness what love is to fear; in the presence of one the other disappears.”
– Marianne Williamson
“The dark and the light, they exist side by side. Sometimes overlapping, one explaining the other. The darkened path is as illuminated as the lightened…” – Raven Davies
“Light attracts light. But sometimes your light attracts moths, and your warmth attracts parasites. Protect you space and energy.” – Warsan Shire
“It doesn’t matter if a cave has been in darkness for 10,000 years or half an hour. Once you light a match it is illuminated.” – Paramahansa Yogananda
“It is better to light one small candle of gratitude than to curse the darkness.”
“In your light I learn how to love.” – Rumi
“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.” – Og Mandino
““The truth is revealed by removing things that stand in its light, an art not unlike sculpture, in which the artist creates, not by building, but by hacking away.” – Alan Watts
“To love beauty is to see light.” – Victor Hugo
“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” – Carl Jung
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” – Desmond Tutu
“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.” – Anne Frank
“A visionary is one who can find his way by moonlight and see the dawn before the rest of the world.” – Oscar Wilde