I go dark in December. (My shadows come out to play.)
Even though true winter arrives in a few weeks, it feels like we’re there already. Cold, long nights make for easier sleep and set the stage for looking inward.
I used to go dark this time every year. I would sink into my seasonally induced slump. The holidays filled me with dread. I knew I would never live up to the expectations that our culture and society put on me.
I wouldn’t be the perfect daughter. I couldn’t spend the holidays with all the disparate factions of my fractured family, so I generally chose to be alone. Holed up, waiting ‘til the days became noticeably longer.
I’ve done a lot of work to get through the holiday blues. Some of it based in self-awareness, a lot of it in self-acceptance, and learning how to show myself mercy when there isn’t enough sunlight to keep my tank full.
Mindset Mastery work has allowed me to befriend the parts of me that want to hide during this season. And it has helped me to name, accept, and shift my beliefs around the myriad subterranean expectations December always brings. This means I no longer have to succumb to social anxiety, or feel guilty for not being able to please others.
When I used to be wracked with anxiety and depression, I now find myself in a state of curiosity and sweet anticipation for the opportunity to connect and share joy with those I love. However, I still spend a lot of time alone, because my inner world speaks so strongly to me in December.
For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, this season calls for something more from us. It beckons all of us to go within and examine our lives.
Who have we been this last year?
Did we accomplish what we wanted?
Did we have the experience that we wanted?
This is the best time of year to do shadow work, or to talk to our shadow – those darker parts of ourselves. It’s natural to shy away from our shadow because we don’t always like what we see. But it’s necessary to look at our dark places from time to time, to welcome those aspects of our personalities to the table, to share a meal, and to receive what they have to say.
I go dark in December. No longer because I am depressed, but because my shadow parts need to be witnessed. And when I resist them, they tend to make my life a lot less comfortable. (My ignored shadows show up as body pain, sleep disruption, moodiness, anxiety, and general discontent.)
My holiday wish for you is that you’ll spend your December in celebration with those you love. I hope you’ll focus more on your presence than on your presents. And I hope you’ll make a few moments to listen to what your shadow has to say.
I hope you’ll go dark, too.
Reach out! I’d love to hear what December brings to you!