Usually at this time of year, when the hours of daylight are few, I’m working with the notion of the Dark as a nurturing presence. The place where I can curl up, come to more quiet, listen deeply to my internal rhythms.
However, I recently had an experience that reminded me in no uncertain terms that the Dark also has, well, A Dark Side.
The long and short of it is that I received a message from someone that was utterly unexpected and not particularly pleasant. The content was aggressive and sharp, catching me completely off guard.
Until I looked a little deeper.
I quickly came to see how much fear was driving the tone of the note. That this person had chosen – consciously or unconsciously – to deal with that fear through strident language and a rigid posture.
Enter the Dark.
It makes complete sense, doesn’t it, that when we are in the time of year when we have the fewest hours of light, there might be a tendency for our shadow material to rise up, align with the Dark, take center stage?
This is the point at which we have a choice.
A choice to up our awareness of this tendency, keep our eyes peeled for material – our own material as well as material slung in our general direction by others – that is based in fear, doubt or anger. To watch for moments when we are on the verge of lashing out, blaming, operating from a place of imbalance or recklessness.
We then have another choice: To take it a step further.
To pause, look intentionally at what is getting stirred up and why, become aware of where we might end up doing damage if we let this dark material run wild.
This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t feel or experience our shadow. In fact, perhaps that is another gift of the season: Getting to know our shadow more fully.
That said, we don’t have to let those shadow elements take over, lead to abrupt, harsh or unkind behaviors. Behaviors that unravel trust or just plain hurt others.
And if you are met with someone else’s shadowy content, as I was, you’ll have to do the work to not get drawn into that spiral. To keep yourself clear of the territory that might just kick your own Shadow to the forefront.
This isn’t always easy. You might need to seek counsel. To have someone help you gain the necessary perspective.
Because ultimately, we all have shadow material. The Dark is always present, awaiting its five minutes of fame. And this time of year, it’s probably thrilled to be in parallel with Winter’s few hours of light.
So turn up your awareness – your Darkness radar.
Be willing to ride the waves of difficult, sticky material as they arise. The more you face it, bring it into the light, the more likely you are to work with your own Darkness skillfully and intentionally.