Entering darkness can be a daunting experience, especially if you are not accustomed to it. I grew up in the countryside where there was no street lights, so if I wanted to go somewhere in the evening I would go in darkness. I still always had an underlying fear of something I couldn't see, however I could definitely notice I was much more used to the dark than some of my friends that grew up in a town where there was never any real darkness because of streetlights, houses and cars.
Darkness has the ability to trigger our primal fears and cause us to feel uneasy.
However, it is important to remember that darkness also serves a purpose in our lives. For example, it allows us to rest and recharge after a long day. It also provides a canvas for the stars to shine bright and illuminate the night sky.
In addition, darkness can inspire creativity and introspection. Many artists and writers find that they are most inspired during the quiet and stillness of the night. In these moments, we can reflect on our thoughts and emotions without the distractions of the outside world.
When we think of darkness, we can also associate it with negative thoughts and emotions. How often have you heard someone say I'm in a dark place? It's a hard place to be. Imagine being in the middles if a dark forest that you have never been in before. It's scary because you don't know the way home, there is no one around, but constantly feel like something bad is going to happen because you are unable to judge your surroundings. You hear a rustling in the trees and immediately you think it's a dangerous wild animal or a murderer. All the while it's a tiny bird making adjustments to its nest!
It is important to remember that darkness is not always negative. Instead of fearing it, we can embrace it and find beauty in its simplicity.
Whether it's enjoying a peaceful evening at home or stargazing under a clear night sky, let us remember to reframe the darkness as a source of inspiration and peace. Darkness especially in the form of our emotions can be intimidating, but it is important to remember that darkness is a natural phenomenon and can be a time for rest and reflection.
So how do we embrace the darkness?
Just like I wouldn't suggest you walk down a dark alley you are totally unfamiliar with alone. I also wouldn't suggest that you venture into the depths of your dark emotions without knowing the territory or that you go alone! Gradual exposure, carrying a source of light or asking someone to walk with you into that dark space can help alleviate any fears and keep you safe.
How does that translate into real life?
Your source of light are things that make you feel good. If you have times where you feel dark, try to balance it with activities or people that bring light.
Yoga is a great source of light. If you can imagine your body/mind is like the dark woods and your emotions are like the bird making a rustling in the trees. Yoga can help you shine a light on the cause of the noise and show you it's nothing to worry about. Granted emotions can often feel like you are being attacked down a dark alley. And a lot of times especially in the beginning as you are starting to explore you may need reinforcements to help you face those emotions. But Yoga will make you stronger and more able to face them. And it will also help you get back on your feet when they knock you to the ground.
Every emotion can be felt somewhere in the body. Obvious ones like anger, often makes you feel sick to your stomach. Excitement give you butterfly's , Or loss feels like your heart is breaking. But emotions can often to be too big too intense that we don't allow our self to feel them.
So we push them down the dark alleyway or banish them to the dark forest and hope no-one ever talks about them. If we keep ignoring these emotions, they will eventually manifest as physical pain, simply trying to get our attention.
Yoga can bring you deep into your body and help you feel the emotions you have been avoiding. Introducing yourself to the emotion and allowing it to be expressed is like meeting that down and out in the alley and showing them respect and dignity.
What would happen if you showed that emotion kindness? compassion? What would happen if you simply acknowledged that emotion is there?
Okay so at first it might feel like the emotion is attacking you, but even if the down and out is undesirable, are they not capable of change? We need to ask why are they there? What happened they they ended up here, stuck on the outskirt of society, ignored or spat on every day?
Yoga has the tools to help you acknowledge those emotions, understand and feel them in your body. Once you feel them it's possible for them to transform them. Yoga has the power to train you to become strong enough to walk down a dark alley without fear and face anything that is there. Or it can give you the strength to ask for the help you may need.
It's not quick, its not easy, it's not always calm and peaceful. But it can help. It may be the case that you need other forms of support first such as talk therapy or in my case doing Yoga first helped give me the strength and the voice to go to talk therapy. Either way reach out for the support you deserve, talk to your GP or contact
Facing the darkness could be the beginning of something really beautiful.
As we enter into the darkness of November, it's important to embrace the beginning that it represents. Here are some reasons why the darkness of November can actually signify a new start:
Reflection: With the long nights and shorter days, November provides an opportunity to reflect on the past year and assess what changes we want to make going forward. Take some time to ponder on past experiences and how they have shaped you.
Rest: Just as the earth is taking a rest during this time, it's important to allow ourselves to rest and recharge. Use this time to catch up on some much-needed sleep or take up a hobby that brings you joy.
Gratitude: The final harvest of the year provides a chance to be grateful for all that we have. Take some time to appreciate the people and things that have brought you joy and support throughout the year.
New beginnings: As the Celtic calendar suggests, November is the start of the new year. Astrologically the festival of Samhain is November 7th (2023) But usually we celebrate on October 31st each year. Use this time to set intentions and goals for the upcoming year. What do you want to achieve? What changes do you want to make? Use the darkness to set your intentions and prepare for the light that will come with the spring.
Please consider sharing this blog if you found it interesting or useful.