My Inner Mystic

reflections and insight into my healing, transformation, and journey of the heart <3

Discovering Light in the Dark

Today we stopped saving daylight.  We have set our clocks back.  We have officially entered the dark season.  We have surrendered, but have we embraced the dark?

The day we stop saving light and turn back our clocks is my least favorite day of the entire year.  My body and heart rebel against it.  I surrender because I have to, because the calendar, and well, the tilt and rotation of the earth compels me, requires me, to do so.  I am a lover of sun, of sunlight.  The sun wakes me up on the inside, it fills me with energy, it lifts my spirit.  When the sun comes out, my heart brightens, I brighten.  Each emergence of the sun is a hallelujah moment for me.  The bigger the emergence, like after days and days of cloudy, stormy weather, the bigger my hallelujah moment.

We are now in the dark season.  We have been creeping into this dark season for a while.  The sun has been leaving us earlier and earlier every day and for those of us in the Pacific Northwest (and no doubt many other places), this time of year is even darker because the thick grey clouds of fall roll in and obscure our sun and our light.

The lack of sunlight in our lives is an external experience with a very real internal impact.  When the earth rotates and tilts away from the sun, as we are now experiencing in the northern hemisphere, the light and warmth of the sun moves away from our external landscape.  When the sun moves farther away from us, our internal landscape is also depleted of this energizing light.  With the absence of the sun in our daily lives, many of us feel less light, less of that bright shining feeling, and more darkness on the inside.

During the shift from summer into fall, I began to feel darkness creep into my internal landscape.  My heart and my body felt heavier.  I felt a rise of sadness and hopelessness.  I felt frustrated with the trajectory of my life and the lack of development and movement forward in a place where I am so ready for new growth to emerge.  I wrestled with an “I give up” feeling.  A scary thought began to form in my mind along the lines of, “what’s the point?,” as in, “what is the point to living?”  Fortunately my awareness of my mental processes and emotional experiences is quite keen and I was able to put the brakes on the formation of this thought.

The rising thought, “what’s the point?,” was a “whoa” moment, a wake up moment.  I was quite aware that this thought can lead to some very scary places and I have no interest in visiting these frightening places.  I made an intentional choice to pause and redirect my thoughts and feelings.  I was motivated to do this first, because I recognized the scary nature of my thought and second, because I do not want to allow my brain and my emotions to wire themselves into chronic depressive thought patterns.  It took a bit of effort to redirect.  I had to search within myself for a spark to keep the hope alive, to not give up, but instead continue to believe that what I am wanting most in my life will unfold and grow.

Reflecting back on my inner search for a spark of hope, the image of light, of fire, grew inside of me.  The search I did within my inner landscape was much like looking for and gathering wood from the forest floor to make a campfire.  When faced with the “I give up” feeling, I needed renewed hope to keep my fire burning.  I found it by digging around within myself, turning over some leaves and discovering a piece of nice, dry wood.  I threw it on the waning fire and a big flame shot up.  Whew.  Crisis averted.  I kept the wolves, those scary thoughts and depressing feelings, at bay.   This time I was able to find fuel fairly quickly and “save” my fire.  Keeping one’s light bright and one’s fire burning is not always this easy.  This time I found my way out of the dark rather quickly.  This time…


My metaphorical search for fuel to keep my inner fire burning and radiating led me to contemplate light.  I pondered:  What is the fuel that keeps our light shining, our fire burning?  My fuel is drawn from hope, faith, optimism, devotion, insight, and my belief in love.  I re(source) my fuel, which is vital to sustaining my light, from nature, learning and discovery, my yoga practice and spiritual journey, inspiration, new experiences and adventures, connection with others, and giving of myself in ways that uplift and support those around me.  And I recognize that my strongest and deepest fuel source is an innate desire and will to not only survive, but to thrive.

I imagine each person fuels and (re)sources their light via different pathways.  However, I am going to guess that elements of our inner fuel and (re)sources are universal.   I suspect folks universally draw fuel from hope, love, faith, and devotion.  I also suspect most folks re(source) from nature, love, and spirituality, each of which are so vital to sustaining one’s inner light.  And not just unique to me, but to all of us, is an instinct to survive.  I believe this instinct, which resides within each of us, will always help us to discover the light in the dark.

After my initial “escape,” I decided to stay with the darkness for a while.  Adopting a mindset that Pema Chödrön speaks of so often, I became curious about the darkness that was permeating my inner landscape.  Instead of running away from the dark by trying to find light as quickly as possible, what would happen if I stayed and embraced the darkness?  Staying led me to contemplate my inner light.  Staying allowed me to become more intimate with how I fuel and (re)source my inner light.  I came away with this insight:  when we stay with the darkness and remain open to our experience, we will discover the light.

I was and remain inspired to stay present with the darkness by this quote, which came through a friend of a friend.  “When it gets really dark, you can see the stars.”


9 responses to “Discovering Light in the Dark

  1. Shelly November 5, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    thank you so much, I needed this today. The darkness has been closing in around me for the past 6 days both literally and figuratively. I try to be curious…it’s getting easier although still difficult. Your explanation of what you went through as well as the image you adopted and internal thought actions are so succinct. I will use that image as well. God bless.

    • myinnermystic November 5, 2012 at 4:11 pm

      Hi Shelly ~ thanks for the comments and the reblog (always an honor to be reblogged). I’m pleased to hear the imagery in this post is useful to you. Yes, I literally felt like I was digging around in my inner landscape to find some wood for my fire, which became a fun metaphor to work with for this post. part of my contemplation, I’ve been lighting a candle every night and have been studying the light and the flame, both intellectually and through my senses. Candles (and the light) have taken on a whole new meaning and purpose for me. I have to say…it’s been fun to play around with this idea of LIGHT.

  2. Shelly November 5, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Reblogged this on onbeingmindful and commented:
    spot. on. this is how it’s been for me the past few days. I will use the image presented in this writing.

  3. Basia November 5, 2012 at 7:47 pm


    The cycles of light and dark outside and within are a profound topic to mediate on! We need that contrast!

    I love the recycling of that beautiful quote 😉

    Much love to you!

    • myinnermystic November 5, 2012 at 11:08 pm

      Yes, thank you for that inspiration. It’s be very illuminating to mediate on light. Today everyone was commenting about how dark it was outside and I knew I had a bit of light tucked away inside me from my mediations on light.

      PS Fun to see I have a reader in Nepal. Before that it was Turkey and before that Israel. Thanks for keeping up no matter where you are!

  4. thoughtsontheatre November 6, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Love the ending you came to with this. It can be challenging to seek out the light when darkness surrounds us. Lovely reflection.

  5. myinnermystic November 6, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Thank you. As a writer, sometimes I like to save the gem or the “revelation” until the very end.

  6. Barbara Rodgers November 14, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    “When it gets really dark, you can see the stars.”

    I really like that bit of wisdom from your friend. I keep a little pocket book of Pema Chödrön’s words on hand to open when I need a little boost of light. For some reason I welcome the change of seasons and can’t seem to pick a favorite time of year. It seems like each one has its gifts. I enjoy turning inward as winter approaches, curling up with a good book, lighting candles, writing, watching the winter birds feed… it seems like a necessary part of the cycle of living well. I like the way you describe your method for sustaining your inner light.

    • myinnermystic November 17, 2012 at 11:16 pm

      Hi Barb.Thank you for reading and commenting. Yes, what a simple, yet profound statement. I find myself gazing at the stars on clear nights. There is so much sparkle up there! I love that you keep a little Pema pocket book with you. I have a pocket size book by Thich Naht Hahn. So much good heart wisdom from both of these spiritual teachers. On the subject of lighting candles, I just posted “Light Contemplation” which I think you’d enjoy. Thanks again for stopping by.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: