It is December 21, 2016. It is the first day of winter. Winter Solstice. The shortest day of the year. If 2016 were a book, this would be the climax. The struggle of light verses dark has been escalating all year, and it’s all been building to this one day of darkness. This one day where the darkness wins over the light. Where we have to fight harder to be warm, to see through the shadows. It is one day, and tomorrow the light will prove once again it cannot be contained by the darkness. To everything a season. The darkness gets its season, but so does the light. And in the end, the light always wins. Light creates the balance.
The days will gradually grow longer, as light shines into the dark corners and exposes the rot, the secrets, the lies. But the darkness serves a function. A purpose that cannot be ignored or denied. We need the darkness, not just as contrast for the light– though that’s important–but also for the moment to reflect. In darkness we are forced to face the monsters. We can no longer hide from the shadow self that lurks in us, in our country, in our world.
We’ve seen a lot of darkness this year. In hate crimes and tragedies and the deaths of so many beloved people both publicly and privately. In sickness and hopelessness. In racism and sexism and discrimination against our fellow humans whose lifestyles, race, sexuality, sex or ethnicity are offensive to someone somewhere because they are seen as the ‘other’. In a politically divided country for those living in the US. Even for those not in the US, what our country is going through right now creates ripples world-wide. In war. In tyranny. In pictures of children covered in blood and soot. We are a part of the global community. State and country lines are arbitrary. We are all part of humanity. We are all connected. What affects one affects all.
Many are scared for their future. Many are shocked at what has transpired this year. Many are grieving.
We are going through the dark night of the soul. As people. As a country. As a world.
And in this darkness, in this winter solstice of our lives, we now have the opportunity to look into the shadows. To see what has been lurking all along. The hate and fear and chaos and division–it was always there. Now the white-washed tombs have been blasted open. Now the rot can be faced with eyes open.
Tonight we have a chance to unflinchingly look at the shadows. To acknowledge them and no longer pretend they don’t exist.
And as our days grow longer once again, as we walk through the winter of our discontent, we have a chance to find the strength that lurks alongside the darkness. We have a chance to embrace our fire. To fan the flames of love and passion and unity. We might have become complacent. We might have settled into ‘good enough.’ But no longer is it good enough. No longer will complacency work. We need radical love. Extreme surrender of our fear. A bold embrace of unity.
But how? How do we fight what seems too huge to fight? How do we combat a darkness that feels all encompassing? How do we shake off the shackles of fear that grip us?
Legislation can be changed. Charities can be supported. But what makes the most difference on a global level, on a personal level, on every level, is what we do each day.
Are we bringing light into our world, or darkness? Are we soaking our world in love or in fear?
You are not impotent. You are not insignificant. We are each the hero of our own story. Every book we read that inspires us, is a story about us. We are the kid wizard, the chosen one, the divergent, the savior of our world. Each of us. All of us.
So today, and tomorrow, and every day you greet a new day with life, choose love. Choose light. Choose happiness. Choose joy.
And in choosing those things, you give them back to everyone you meet. Everyone you come in contact with. And that light, happiness, joy… it spreads like wildfire. It’s just as contagious as the hate and discord others are spreading. But it’s more powerful. Because while the darkness gets its moment, its day… light always wins.
Be the light.
Be the change.
So for this new year, for this new day, I wish for you all the things. Write all the words. Make all the art. Sing all the songs. Cry all the tears and let them wash away the dust and atrophy. Dance all the dances. Love fully. Give with joy. Laugh with abandon.
This is your day.
This is your year.
It always has been.
It always will be.
We see the shadows in the darkness. Now it’s time to turn on the light and purify that which no longer serves us.