It is the nature of living systems to renew themselves, to refresh themselves over and over. The arc of the process of renewal takes us through gathering, germinating, emerging, quickening, rising, blossoming, and falling, destroying, disintegrating, dissolving, back into quietude and fertile darkness.
This place of darkness is a place of unknowables: the infinite mystery. It is a place of uncertainty. It is not necessarily comfortable. It is not visible, tangible, clear, and organized. It can be terrifying, unsettling, and confusing.
Over and over when I pass through a time of disintegration into darkness I find myself perplexed, confused, fearful. As the process of renewal moves into emergence I feel surprised, and then I remember the familiarity of these cycles. Much like the seasons our dear planet travels through, we ourselves pass through these stages in the process of psychological renewal. And the time of disintegration into quietude and darkness is an essential part of that process of renewal. There is no avoiding it, no skipping ahead to the refreshing time.
As we turn into the darkest days of the year, I encourage you to wrap yourself in kindness and sensory care. Spend time with what you do not know, with what is unclear, hang out with what is disintegrating and dissolving. This is like shedding an old skin that no longer fits. Hang out in the quietude of the unknown. Breathe. Feel into gravity in the groundlessness. Soften your joints. Light a fire. Be still awhile. Go out into the woods. Stand beneath a tree's branches. Rest against a tree trunk. Draw strength from your relationship to the fragrant and generous earth.
Renewal is inevitable. Attending to the darkening is a rich, ripe, fertile support for deepening into the gathering to come.