Arguing With Winter
I am not a fan of winter or the darkness that accompanies it. The sun sets in Denver just after 4:30 PM this week, making for a very long night. And although the weather can be balmy here when the sun is up, temperatures can plummet twenty degrees after sundown. Darkness feels cold, uninviting, and sometimes unsafe.
Part of me wants to argue or bargain with winter to not be so dark and cold. I find myself hoping it will pass quickly. But I also know there is a way to move beyond grudging acceptance to intentionally lean into the darkness. After all, dark is what we have right now. In this present moment it is winter. What might it look like to lean into the darkness?
Gifts of Darkness
Paying attention to the gifts of darkness is a starting point. My friend Cheryl embraces winter. She loves the extra hours of reading time that darkness provides. Winter gives us a perfect time for not only reading, but writing, meditation, and introspection. Winter allows the garden time to slow down, rest, and recoup. We could use the time in that way as well.
Many years ago, my circle of friends in Erie PA created “Dark Times” punch cards. The idea was to challenge ourselves during the dark times of winter to get together and do fun things in spite of the cold and dark. I don’t remember if cards actually got punched, but we did get together often to share a meal, laugh, and support each other through winter. Being deliberate about spending time with friends is another way to lean into the darkness.
Mindfully Leaning Into Darkness
Simply paying attention to darkness and the feelings and thoughts that arise can be a mindfulness practice as well. Rather than resisting the dark, we can cultivate curiosity about it. On many summer nights I am on my patio with Luna, my corgi, enjoying my garden. There is nothing to stop me (except my aversion) from bundling up and sitting on my winter patio for just a little while to be present with the darkness. I can let my eyes adjust to the dark and be immersed in the beauty of the garden in shadows, observe the night sky and familiar constellations, and listen mindfully to the sounds of the night. Curiosity about darkness can include paying attention to why I have resistance to the dark in the first place.
The mindfulness focus this week is leaning into darkness. Can I move beyond intellectually knowing the balance of light and dark are necessary to finding ways to lean in and befriend darkness?
For more information on mindfulness focus words click here.