it’s 10:30 pm and i am barely gonna squeeze in this second sunday in advent’s post before the day is over. and even though i’m exhausted, i just couldn’t let this day end without doing this post. and the night, the atmosphere, the mood seems just perfect for what i have to say. so, i listened to my inner self, went to turn off the christmas tree lights, and lo and behold, as i stood at the window for just a moment, just breathing in the silence of the night, a shooting star blazed through the sky right where i was gazing. it took my breath away. and i just knew that ending this weekend by writing this post was the perfect bookend for me.
so, i turned around, filled with awe and inspiration, crawled into bed, and opened my computer. and here i am. all is completely quiet and dark. the only lights are tiny little twinkle lights above my head and the glow from my computer’s keyboard. the only noises are the clicking of those keyboard keys as i type and my love’s off and on deep breathing beside me.
other than that i hear nothing. if i stop typing for a moment… pure, magical silence (i just stopped for a minute or two).
as of today, we may find ourselves starting to get used to the dark, if we are taking some time to just be in it. last sunday, i explained a little about my plan to use the season of advent as an opportunity for me to reclaim december. to slow down. to allow the darkness and waiting that is associated with this time of the year to inspire and transform me. in other words, i hope to not just go through the motions this advent/christmas/holiday season, but to really, intentionally let it sink into me. to look at how the natural world reminds me of the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. to find the magic and mystery in the every day moments that make up my life.
and i invited you all to journey along with me.
so far, during this past/first week, during my morning meditation time, i have really embraced the dark. usually i light a candle or two and then let that soft glow warm + comfort me as i sit in stillness. but, this past week, i decided to go with the flow. to really dwell in my cave. even though i totally wanted to light a candle. but, instead, i kept all lights off. no candles lit. nothing. complete darkness.
the first day it was really, really weird and unsettling. even with my eyes closed, i still knew that there were no lights on. no candles. that i was alone in the dark. but now… now, i crave it. now i yearn for my morning meditation in the dark. now, i love it. the darkness settles me. and it only took me one day of insecurity before i felt comfortable. wonder if i’ll ever be able to meditate in the light again?! hehe.
this coming week, instead of just observing and being aware of the darkness, though, i want to focus on the silence that is found in the dark. the silence that comes with the hibernation of winter. the beautiful stillness and quiet that is pervasive during the night and early in the morning.
but like the dark, i believe that silence also takes some getting used to. that’s right. i want us to deal with that uncomfortable feeling again, just after we settled into being ok in our caves.
i think that one of the reasons that silence is so unnerving is because things are not really silent. life is not silent. when i quiet my mind and sit in the darkness (literal or the good darkness that i feel when i turn within), then i immediately pick up on other noises. most notably, the voices in my head. my thoughts. my wonderings. my worries. the chit chat that exists within me. and then, i even move past all of that annoying inside chatter, and i notice a leaf blower outside, or a dog barking, or the water running in my neighbor’s apartment, or the cozy purr of my cat.
the point is, when i slow down just enough to dwell in the silence, i realize that it ain’t that silent. and i am thinking that this is exactly why people don’t like meditation. because they think that we are all suppose to be gurus who can shut off everything, ignore everything, and bask in the glow of our amazing ability to just make it silent.
well, my friends, that totally isn’t how i function. and it is not at all what i believe that meditation is (but that’s a whole other blog post). but, you can get a little idea of what i think meditation is by reading on…
you see, i notice the sounds, but i am not distracted by them. i’m like a tree.
this weekend i attended my third life coaching training weekend. one of the perks of this trainingg is that we meet out in the countryside at a camp. in the middle of nowhere. with nothing but beds, a couple of bathrooms, and a meeting room/kitchen. other than that, we are surrounded by some amazing nature.
since it’s almost winter here in sweden, it’s dark most of the time. both mornings and nights, on my way to and from the meeting house to my bed, i had to walk outside. each time i did, i wandered out into the field a little bit and just stood there. in the dark. in the silence.
only it was not silent at all. the wind howled. the reeds and grass hummed in the background as they swayed in the december wind. i heard others passing between the buildings back behind me, the doors slamming shut from the force of the wind, every time someone went in or out. so the silence was not silent at all. but it didn’t matter.
i slowed down enough to get quiet so i could observe and feel and be present. and, in that moment as i silenced my soul, i stood just as tall and strong and grounded as those trees bending and blowing in the harsh wind.
this is what the silence teaches me: it is never really silent. but, it’s not about all of the sounds and things happening outside of me and around me. it’s about what’s happening within me.
the mystery and solitude of darkness sets an atmosphere that encourages silence. the kind of silence that draws us within. that calms our soul. that slows down our hurried lives. that helps us to live in the moment. and, it is in that silence, if we practice it and cultivate it and create more space for it, that we become study, strong, grounded trees. able to withstand any storm and all of the seasons of the year.
in the silence we learn to just be. and to just breathe. and to allow and accept all the things swirling around us and in us. and when we thrive in the silence of the dark, then we will be able to carry that silence with us to the crazy, loud grocery store line or the busy train station or in the midst of insane christmas shoppers.
this week, not only will i continue to meditate in the dark. but i will do it in silence. no music. no guided meditation. no noises, except for my love bumping an moving around as she gets ready or a car horn down the street or the garbage man outside or the birds chirping. i will sit still. in silence. and breathe. and i will let whatever noise or sound come and go. i will remain in silence.
and, hopefully, the silence that i find in the dark of these december mornings, in my little cave on my living room floor, will inspire me and change me even more, helping me to become even more aware, more aligned, more patient, and filled with more love and peace.
so, with that said, i now bid you all goodnight. and i leave you here now, ready to soak up the silence and darkness of the night, sending you lots of love and wishing for you to find just a few moments every day to embrace a moment of silence. to recenter. refocus. renew.
advent blessings to you all. xoxo