My Four Point Plan for Dispelling the Darkness – thoughts on the longest night of the year

Posted by on Dec 20, 2016 in Mindfulness, Winter Solstice | 4 Comments


Winter solstice always carries the symbolism of light overtaking the darkness.  That image seems particularly comforting right now as we have entered a truly dark period in which people full of hate and mean intentions have captured the castle.  After weeks of mucking around in the darkness, I am ready to embrace the light.  I’ve written a plan for myself, which I’m sharing in the hopes it is helpful to others.

Step 1.   Get rooted in my own strength.  Find the place inside myself of tenacity and resilience and then nourish it.   It’s hard to feel tenacious and resilient if I’m exhausted.  I will be intentional about self care: get enough sleep, drink enough water, eat well, exercise, have fun, play with my dog, and meditate. This will fortify me.  I will create a safe zone and limit media intake, striving to know and understand what is going on without diving into the 24 hour news feed tsunami.  I can’t help others until I put on my own oxygen mask.   I will remember that self care is not optional.

Step 2     Connect with allies and friends – and do it often.  This expands my safe zone.  As an introvert it is easy to just come home after work and hang out with my sweet dog, but connecting with allies (in person, by phone, or on line) will keep me strong and more hopeful.  If feeling overwhelmed I will reach out and get support.  This will help me remember that there are many people of good will in this country and on this planet.  There are actually more of us.

Step 3      Speak Truth. Call things what they are, and don’t cave. (This will be easier if I observe #1 and #2 above.)   The world I want to live in is one of human kindness, dignity, generosity, and respect, where we see our commonality as humans and work to create a better world for everyone.    I’m holding that vision – which I realize may not happen in my lifetime – but I’m holding in anyway.     Hate is hate – bigotry is bigotry – lies are lies.   Allowing others to suggest they don’t matter is a distortion of reality and a cruelty to every victim of those aggressions.  I will, with kindness, challenge that thinking.

Step 4   Take a stand.  I can’t do everything, but I can do something.  I will pick, with intention, the things that feel most important or urgent and commit myself to working on that cause.   My actions and energies count more if I align myself with effective organizations that are working to counteract the damage. I will contribute what I can in time, energy, and/or money.  I will remember that small actions lead to change.  Drops of water wear away the stone and light drives away the dark.



  1. Debra MacKillop
    December 20, 2016

    I love the plan. Thank you for it. I have come to some of this also for myself. I must care for me, and that means limiting the input. I saw a cartoon and the jist was: I want to stay informed but I don’t want to go insane. I must do the things that nourish me, and keep trying to live a meaningful life, going forward, enjoying the people and things that give meaning, fun, even joy. It’s OK to still feel joy, happiness, and to escape sometimes too. Bring more into my life that leads me to a good place and good feelings. Then I need to take some piece of my life and time and devote it to resisting the tyrannical movement and working with others to do that, not try to do it alone. That is not about social media but about really getting involved in some way, with others, face to face contact and really trying to be heard and help others be heard. The connections from doing that with others will be important to surviving and thriving as much as possible. It will help me have hope. We must have hope. Hopelessness will drain us. Hopefully, the plan will sustain us.

    • Joann Calabrese
      December 21, 2016

      Thanks Deb! As simple as it is, I needed to get this in writing for myself!

  2. Amanda
    December 23, 2016

    This is simple and perfect Joann, thank you for leading the way!

    • Joann Calabrese
      December 23, 2016

      My attempt to calm the “overwhelm” – it is four simple points! I’ve posted them at home!


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