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Holidays, Light and Dark

“Santa had the right idea: Visit people once a year.” 

(Victor Borge)

Holiday Lights

December is a month filled with holidays of all kinds. Some are religiously oriented, some culturally oriented, and some exist just because we want some fun! I’ve noticed that a whole lot of these celebrations tend to revolve around light.

  • Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday that commemorates the miracle of the one-day supply of oil that lasted for 8 days following the rededication of the Temple. There was light when there would have been darkness.

 

  • On each of the 7 nights of Kwanzaa, participants light a candle on the kinarah, with each candle illuminating a different one of the 7 principles that are designed to focus, celebrate and strengthen individuals, families and communities of color.
  • Hindus celebrate Diwali, which is a festival of lights. Homes are decorated with oil lamps, candles, and colorful lights symbolizing the victory of light over darkness.
  • Devout Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, deemed “the Light of the World,” at Christmas. Jesus is thought to illuminate the Divine path that eliminates the divide between God and people.

 

  • Holiday lights have historically celebrated Christmas, whether secular (Santa) or religious (Jesus.) In more recent years, the scope has broadened to include Hanukkah, or whatever else people feel like lighting their home exteriors with. People from all faiths and no faith can enjoy them together.

 

“Enjoy” is definitely a flexible term. Some people get caught up in the American tradition of über competitive “bigger, better, more.” If you’d like a hilarious example of holiday light celebration gone mad, you might want to watch the movie, Candy Cane Lane with Eddie Murphy and Tracee Ellis Ross.

 

Light, and Balance

The common thread between all of these things, however, is this desire for light light light at a time, and we are getting more natural, dark, dark dark in this hemisphere. We appear to be railing against the dark. What are we afraid of?

 

Solstice

One notable exception is the celebration of the Winter Solstice, referred to as Yule. The Solstice itself is simply a cyclical natural event. Because of the Earth’s tilted position as it orbits our Sun, December 21st is the longest night of the year. Yule celebrates that longest night as a time of going inward, sharpening our ability to trust ourselves and metaphorically see in the dark.

 

Yule also celebrates the coming light. From the Solstice forward, we get more and more sunlight every day. Yule is about embracing both the darkness and the light.

 

Darkness, and Balance

People who struggle with depression and grief, especially at the holidays, might be hesitant about embracing that deep inner dive. It can feel as though darkness is all there is. Light can feel like a distant memory or wish. This, too, is out of balance. (For more information on telling holiday grief and holiday depression apart, please click here.)

 

I advocate “nudging.” There will be times when you just can’t do this or that thing. Give yourself grace, and don’t. You will likely find, however, that you also have brief windows of energy. Sometimes you can do a thing, so do it. In other opportunity windows, it would be just as easy to do something as not do it. In those times, do the thing! This will help shift momentum toward balance.

 

In Case You Need it

If those windows of opportunity are not apparent to you, or if you have thoughts of ending your life, I strongly encourage you to do 3 things:

 

ONE:   Click here and follow the directions. (There is also a very helpful “Columbia Protocol” app I encourage EVERYONE to download, just in case you or someone you care about needs it.)
 
TWO:  Ask and answer – “Of the things over which I have control in my life, what needs to end that isn’t my life?” And,
 
THREE:  If your thoughts won’t settle or even if you just want to know you aren’t alone, please call or text 988. They are there 24/7/365.

 

You do not have to suffer alone.

 

Balance

Sunlight and Moonlight in balance are a rich and beautiful thing. They give definition to each other in similar fashion to how sound and silence join together to make music. Too much silence lacks music. Too much sound makes cacophony. Held in balance, they can be utterly magical.

 

All of the holidays listed above can be celebrated in balance, or out of balance. When we honor light more than darkness, we:

  • Can drink too much, (dulling our minds against the things we don’t want to think,)

 

 

It’s a mess. We can put tremendous effort into forcing “holiday joy” at the expense of our well being, family health, and community sanity. The very expectation that holidays will magically deliver us from all of our troubles is a set up for pain and disappointment.

 

Yes, there can be some very special things about the holidays. There can also be pain, boredom, frustration. You know, all of the stuff that happens on not-holidays? Let the contrast between the pleasurable and the challenging contribute to the value you put on the special things.

 

Balance could be the best holiday gift you give yourself and those around you.

 

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Are you feeling out of balance this holiday season? Contact Tiffany today. Let’s figure something out.

 

 

 

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