It is that time of year in St Louis when patience wears thin and everyone is looking forward to the warmth and sunshine of Spring. The darkest day may be the Winter Solstice on December 21st, but emotionally, February seems like the darkest time to me.
One cause for the weariness may be those resolutions we made back in January. Losing weight usually tops the list, but studies show that our will to stay the course starts to wane about six weeks in, which leads many to depression, dissatisfaction and hopelessness.
In the past, I have followed these rituals of resolution setting. But for several years now, I have resisted the urge to write out all the things I want to change about myself. Instead, I use this time to make friends with my dark side.
Symbolically (and literally for many animals, plants, etc.), late winter is about hibernation. Taking time to pause, reflect, and really listen to what would like to be heard if we gave ourselves the space. Learning to sit in the dark and witnessing what comes up.
Many of the resolutions that we set come from a place of not wanting to accept the parts of ourselves that aren’t ‘perfect’. Instead of sitting with these parts and the accompanying emotions, we tend to put a glossy wrapping over them in the form of New Year’s resolutions, thus pushing away any true exploration.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not bashing on self-improvement and list making. I’m in those trenches every day. But I do have a problem with most of our societal rituals around this subject which tend to leave out exploring all the reasons why we feel that we need ‘fixing’ in the first place. And, also, I dislike the labels we tend to put on certain ways of being, and the assumptions that we are messed up if we don’t fall into a specified way of looking, acting, living.
In other words, we define a good life by stiflingly narrow terms.
Which leads me back to the point of this post. What if our messy parts are just as valuable as our cleaned up, shiny parts? What if there is gold in embracing the aching parts of us, the parts that need to be seen, heard and held?
What if we took time to really sit with the parts of ourselves that we don’t like so much, and what if we sat with them long enough that we see that those parts are no worse than any other, that they actually serve a purpose in our life?
What if our dark parts are what make us truly human, help us to be compassionate, humble, and real? What if we all accepted these parts as ok and decided there is nothing that needs to be ‘fixed’ after all?
What if you got comfortable with ALL of yourself?
P.S. – This post was inspired by the book The Dark Side of the Light Chasers: Reclaiming your power, creativity, brilliance and dreams by Debbie Ford which I highly recommend.