“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” -Albert Camus
In this dark time of year, I want to send a message to your hearts from mine. Over that last few years it has become a custom for me to send out a Solstice greeting. Part of this custom has been for me to share some of my own journey. And while all the marketing advice says that it is taboo to share my own process, I’m always delighted to be flooded with your stories, experiences and feedback. (More so, in fact, than any other email I send throughout the year.)
So with this spirit of Sacred Service and shared vulnerability, I am breaking my radio silence that’s gone on for most of 2013. I’m shining a light into the darkness of this last year in hopes of reconnecting with you all, that we may journey together through these confusing times.
Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year, the epitome (in the northern hemisphere) of this season of darkness. It is the essence of Yin energy, of inward reflection, of quiet and stillness.
Well, it’s meant to be.
When we look at the forests, the plants and animals, we see their harmony with this seasonal energy (for the most part). And if you’re like me, you crave it also.
Now when I speak of darkness, I want to be clear that this is not a judgment. It’s the darkness that calls me, the reflection that I crave. At this time of year, I want to dwell in the Shadow.
There is a tendency in new age-y philosophy to ‘bright side’ everything. “Focus on the positive not the negative…you get what you draw to you.”. Ultimately, this tends to be used as a way to avoid uncomfortable feelings more than anything because there are no negative feelings. There are only our feelings and how we respond to them.
In the theory of the 5 Phases/Elements, Winter is associated with Fear. It makes sense when you think about it. Darkness is one of two innate fears for us humans. And it even makes sense that people trying to support you by offer coping mechanisms that veer you away from this very uncomfortable and exposed emotion.
But I want to make a Stand for Darkness, for sitting with fear.
It has always been darkness that has birthed my greatest transformations and fear that has shone the brightest light allowing me to see myself.
It’s now been a year since the prophesied 2012 Solstice. Do you remember that charge that the world held on this day a year ago? What did you do with that charge?
I went into my darkness, my yin. And I thought I’d be able to do that and stay in contact with my expressive self (ie. my yang). For those of you who have been on this list for a while, you’ll have noticed that I sent very few emails and wrote very few blog posts in 2013.
I have been busy (if you can call it that) in self reflection. I have been asking myself hard questions like what is it I do? what’s in my heart to do? how can I further align my heart’s calling with my work in the world?
Like a duck preparing to take flight from the water, I have been busy under the surface and it probably looked like not much was happening.
A lot’s been happening.
In 2014 you’re going to see many of these changes. The Urban Herb School is going to be swallowed up by the Living Medicine Project. Teaching herbalism was always meant to be a portion of my work and a few years ago became the focus as I struggled to make this business work. It was always intended to be balanced with my clinical herbal practice and more free community clinics.
Knowing the plants and making the medicines, for my heart to feel complete, needs to be balanced with healing with the plants, both individual people and the community.
So, along with launching my clinical practice, there is a new website coming over the next couple of months.
Also, I’ll be making some changes to this list also. You’ll be hearing from me on a weekly basis instead of my scattered communications of recent years. I want my work with herbs to be something that this community can rely on, learn from and grow with.
So, to tie this back in with the Solstice theme… tonight is the rebirth of the Sun, of expressive Yang energy. Simultaneously, it is the rebirth of my expressive yang energy after a year swimming in the glorious darkness.
My wish for you during these dark days, is that you’re able to hold the hand of a beloved and swim in your darkness, befriend your shadow and face your fears.
I believe there is truth in the prophesies of these times. I believe the pendulum is swinging back toward connection with Spirit. And I believe that sitting with our fear is what will most effectively prepare us to be the agents of change that Earth requires.
May you have both Strength and Wisdom as you walk your heart’s path. May the Divine Fire warm your heart and burn away all stories that you are alone in this world.
PS. Here’s a message from an Indigenous Elders Council about Fukushima. I know it’s on many of our minds these days.
PPS. Here’s a short Solstice video … The Longest Night
PPPS. I know I’ve shared this before, but it still makes me laugh…