Monthly Archives: December 2009

From Dark to Light & Back Again

This season never fails to bring with it a little confusion for me. The source this year is no longer my Holiday Shopping List or the cacophony of ads and events vying for my attention. It’s just that the dark and cold naturally draws me to quietness, and yet Christmas lights are starting to beckon. When I think back, I realize my own version of seasonal mania in years past came got worse when I denied my real need for a Long Winter’s Nap.

So I’m trying out an experiment this year. I’m follow my inclination for sleep and dreaming. I’m allowing myself more time for dream journals and meditation in the early mornings, and I’m planning small field trips to the shops and lights of the holidays.

My strategy is this: by routinely allowing time to go within, I’ll be able to notice the subtle beliefs that would keep me off-center during a holiday when I’d like to experience more peace. I’m anchoring myself in the mystery of darkness so that I’ll replace stresses of holidays past with joy and excitement of a third-grader on a field trip. A non-sugar-driven, non-hyper holiday field trip. Then I can come home to savor some quiet, some warmth, and visions of sugar plums.

I’ll keep checking in. Let me know what you’re dreaming and how you’re keeping seasonal perspective.

Making the Darkness Conscious

“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious.”  Carl Jung

Since I’ve returned to the Northern Hemisphere, the cold nights have drawn my imagination.   I’ve been sleeping, dreaming, and journaling up a regular winter storm.

As I sit in the early evening darkness, there are plenty of figures of light that come to mind, especially vivid having just completed a brightening , enlightening journey. One image keeps coming to mind in the darkness and richness of my unconscious, image-laden mind.

I notice an urge to drape myself in black and white. One of the first visual cues that one is in Bali and not tropical color of the gardens or green of the rice fields.   It’s black and white.  Whether you’re a sculpture of a god or demon, a temple pillar, a director of traffic, or the corners of intersections, it’s likely that this will be your costume:  poleng fabric of large black and white checks, and, in hand woven, versions, blocks of grey where the two come together.

This serves as a constant reminder to the Balinese about the importance of balance between the forces of light and those of darkness, which are seen as opposing forces.   While I was there, I was told more than once that “there’s good in both. Same same.”  White (good) contains evil (black), and vice-versa.  Much of Balinese ceremony and ritual is devoted to keeping the two opposing but complimentary forces in balance.

And so I sit with figures of light and dark, black and white, embracing the darkness and honoring its teaching as I await the return of the light.

A special “heads up” for blog readers.  There’s a strong chance I’ll be working with the Balinese Institute for Global to offer a small group experience in Bali during the week of March 10-16th, during the Balinese lunar new year. This would focus on balance between the outer and inner worlds,  and would culminate with Nyepi, a national “day of silence,” the traditional new year’s beginning. Stay tuned for further announcements.

From Full Sun to Full Moon

This last month I disappeared from life as I typically know it to celebrate a big anniversary with my husband across the planet and South a little.  We just returned from Bali, Indonesia, a couple of days ago, and I’m still waiting for all my brain cells to arrive.

I spent Thanksgiving feasting on babek (Balinese duck, which takes 24 hours to prepare) and American-style turkey with Balinese and American friends.  I missed Black Friday, but Saturday was pretty blacked out on planes airports.  This year holiday mania hasn’t seized me yet, and I hope to keep it that way.

I’ll be sharing more about my ongoing involvements in Bali in the coming days, but now I feel compelled to notice this dramatic transition.  From full sun and saturating warmth to full moon and winter chill.

There’s beauty in both. As much as I love summer, the dramatic change from fall to winter nurtures my inner oasis and the longing of my introvert to be finally heard. So moving from vivid color and full sun to the nuanced shadows of full moon reflects perfectly my soul’s longing.

As much as I savored the magic of Bali (and I do mean magic.), it feels right to return to this deepening season of moving within.  More than right.  As the days shorten and the nights lengthen, there is such deep peace in finding the whisperings of inner direction during this season of preparation and longing.

How about you?  What is your longing?  What are your hopes?  This is the season to go deep and discover what you find. Let it incubate or share it with others, right here or elsewhere in your world.