Out of work, away from family and friends, and off our usual routines: this is not where most of us were expecting to be in December 2020. A year ago, no one knew that we were on the verge of a global pandemic. In the wake of cancelled plans, social distancing, and financial turbulence, as well as the tens of millions of cases and 1.6 million deaths due to COVID-19, we are nearing the end of a year that has changed the face of the world. The upheaval has affected my life with vanished tour plans, 16 months away from my husband, and pauses on my work in the music studio to lead several major pivots for MAPS (the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary) with Parvati Foundation.
When plans are thwarted by circumstance, we may feel like roadkill at the side of our life’s path. This year, we likely all have felt thwarted in some way. Though we may like our lives to return to “normal”, we cannot will our way out of our current situation. Whether we protest or deny it or sink into despair, we are where we are. And we have the freedom to choose one of the most deceptively powerful responses to it, one that Nature itself encourages at this time of year: to practice patience and discover the riches hidden in the dark.
In the Northern Hemisphere, next week on December 21 is the winter solstice: the longest night and shortest day of the year. It marks the return of the light, as days gradually lengthen. While Nature is at its darkest and most introverted during this holiday season, we usually, and even unnaturally, find ourselves at our busiest. But this year, those patterns have changed. More than ever, we are called to harmonize with Nature and go within. There, we can discover and bear witness to the return of the light. We can be inspired by Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights that began last Thursday and concludes on Friday, and light a candle daily to reignite our inner light and belief in miracles. We can look to the Advent calendar as we move towards Christmas, and welcome the birth of eternal light in our lives through humility, peacefulness and trust.
On Monday, December 14, a total solar eclipse shadows the skies over the Southern Hemisphere. Any eclipse is a profoundly powerful time to go within, but this one particularly so. Just as the sun is the center of our universe, our ego and will are the center of our own personal universe. However, during the dimming light of an eclipse, we can access a deeper, eternal light: the light of pure consciousness that animates all things. As such, an eclipse offers an opportunity for insight into our true nature, and lasting release of the tendencies that obstruct our inner peace.
Instead of resisting the situation we face today, what about welcoming change? What if in these dark times, we are being called through patience and wisdom, to see ourselves and all life in a new light? If we follow Nature’s summons to go within, we will heal the ways in which we have been out of harmony with ourselves, each other and the natural world upon which we depend for our survival.
As you go within, you will gain new insights. With them comes greater balance. You may see that you have been buying too much and straining not only your bank account, but your relationships with yourself, your loved ones and the Earth. Maybe you were driving more than you needed and were contributing to pollution and carbon emissions. Maybe for years you have been running away from feelings of personal discomfort, uneasiness, even a dislike of yourself, and are now more ready than ever to heal that fundamental relationship.
Unless we are in absolute harmony with the universe at all times, we inevitably take from ourselves, others and Nature in our thoughts, words and actions. Because we are connected to all life, we must learn to live in greater balance. With patience, we will find the jewels of kindness, compassion, humility and love awaiting us at the heart of the pandemic, in the light of the darkest time of the year.
In the coming weeks, we will continue to explore patience and how to find peace as we look at ourselves and the world in a new light. For now, here is a practice you can use to take advantage of the varied events this week offers, from the solar eclipse, to Hanukkah, to Advent, so that you may be inspired to redirect your awareness and discover deeper truths, greater light and richer love.
Find a relaxed place where you can sit quietly. Allow your eyes to close, and your breath to deepen.
Then consider that you are in the dark. Imagine a world where there is temporarily no sun. There you sit in a somber temple with lamps burnt out, or in the quiet dark of an unvisited stable. Though your body casts an obvious shadow, your mind too has shadows: rumbling, unfulfilled desires, nagging feelings of lack, and lingering, painful emotions.
Consider the ways in which wanting, the restlessness of dissatisfaction, is driving your life. Take a moment here and be gently honest with yourself, as though you were turning on a light in the shadows of your psyche. Breathe deeply and allow yourself to be patient with the darkness.
Suffering ceases when you let go of seeing yourself as disconnected from the whole. So, allow yourself to feel now that you are part of a much greater picture. As you do, feel the light within you grow. Though you may be isolating physically, you are connected to all life, everywhere. Consider this in relation to yourself, your place with those closest to you, then your place on the planet, then and your place within the universe. Through it all, infinite light is carrying you right now. Welcome that light.
Allow yourself to expand beyond limiting perceptions, be they of yourself or of the world. Allow any feelings of rage, despair or thwartedness to dissipate. Surrender them to the light.
Expand more, and then even more. Stay rooted and vital in your body. Feel your body. Allow the light of pure consciousness to fill you up. This is who you are. There is no need to try to go “out there” to find it. There is no “making” it happen. You are not the doer. The infinite field of light is. All you have to do is allow this lightness of being to unfold. It is the radiance in your inner temple. It is the eternal luminosity in the humble manger of your life.
Allow yourself to feel the possibility of something much bigger than your usual perceptions, something so vast it is beyond reason, something so full of love and possibility that you know you are always loved and received. In this quiet place of patient, luminous presence, allow the seed of your soul to germinate. Revel in the gift of being alive.
From my heart to yours,