Heavenly Peace in the Earthly Dark
The deep character of the beloved-and-dreaded December holiday season can be obscured by frenzied shopping, cookie making, cooking, and partying. It is that frenzy that is the dis-ease of the season, Advent, Yule, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa…none of these holidays demand frenetic activity. Nonetheless, the quality of this time of year tends to be frantic. We tend to feel the push and pull of conflicting obligations, like the desire to spend meaningful time with family, even as we find some of our family challenging.
These days, the biggest complaint I hear is how busy everyone is, how overscheduled, how exhausted. We are all stretching toward something, and we aren’t always sure what that something is. Are we celebrating for our families’ togetherness and joy, or for external validation of what it means to have the resources to give impressive gifts? Are we throwing parties out of delight and generosity, or so we can keep up with the pace our neighbors have set (which is really the pace those neighbors may feel has been set for them by others)?
Despite all these problems, this is a uniquely beautiful time of year!
These are the things–love, joy, hope, peace, light, communion with one another–our hearts require, aren’t they? Our hearts do not require the grasping, stretching, pressure, frenzy, and even panic this season can heap on us. This season calls for attention, for anticipation, for rest, and most of all, for peace.
There are deep Mysteries in this time of year.
The peace we yearn for in our hearts is available, even in the crush of the holidays. The joy we hear about and that we so hope to find within us and on children’s faces is available, even amidst the responsibilities of the time. The hope we need so keenly in these times, so fragile and so necessary for many of us, is available, even when the world around us seems to be crashing toward doom. The love we need to lean into is available, even here, even when we feel most alone.
I can help you find the rest, the perspective, the pause that allows these Mysteries to flow in.
Where Can You Find Some Peace?
There is no shortcut to finding lasting peace or quiet wonder. But there are ways to lay our burdens down for a little while. There are ways to share a special time without draining our interior resources. None of us wants stress in this season, as inevitable as it seems for many of us. We long for the joy the season is supposed to bring.
We can develop traditions that turn the volume down, slow our frantically beating hearts, invite contemplation, enhance our wonder at the miracles of one another, the turning Earth, and the Source of Life.
We need a moment to touch the quiet of the long night, to be present to the deepening dark, and to be still.
In a season filled with glitter, gaiety, songs, and eggnog, there is something deeply nourishing about pausing and being present with the darkness and the chill, especially when that chill is something we feel on the inside, as well as in the world around us.
Especially when we feel alone, grieving, frustrated, lost, and starving for genuine connection…
I invite you to a time of connection. I invite you to a tradition. I invite you to a pause that can bring some peace, some rest, some wonder.
I invite you to a virtual retreat in preparation for the depth of winter
Come into the Dark
This fifth year of my virtual retreat, Going into the Dark, will be a day set aside for renewal and for rest with the support and companionship of others seeking the same.
We’ll meet online together four times over the course of the day. During our calls, we’ll set intentions, listen to and meditate on poetry, listen to and share music, hear stories of the season, and delve deeply into the needs of our our own yearning hearts.
In between our calls, I encourage each of you to engage in quiet, renewing activities. Maybe that means having a big nap or curling up with tea and a novel. Maybe it means getting out your pencils and coloring. Maybe it means stringing popcorn and cranberries with little ones.
Together we will share the beauty and wisdom of the dark time of the year.
This year’s Going Into the Dark retreat is on Saturday, December 14th. We’ll meet four times during the day:
8am PT/11am ET
9:30 am PT/12:30pm ET
12:30 pm PT/3:30pm ET
3:00pm PT/6:00 pm ET
We’ll meet on Zoom, an online meeting platform. I’ll have my video on, and you can have your video on or off as you choose.
The cost for the whole day is $150.
Here are some questions folks have asked over the years:
How many people will be in attendance?
There are 18 spaces available this year. Few enough that there can be intimate and deep sharing, but large enough that not everyone has to verbally participate in every question, invitation to share, or time of wondering.
What if I can’t make all of the calls?
Come anyway! Any amount of getting in touch with yourself and the quiet of the world will be a balm to your soul. One of our retreatants in a previous year could only attend two calls, and yet he spoke of the richness of the day for months thereafter.
I won’t have access to my computer, but I’ll have a phone. Can I still call in?
Yes! In the email you’ll get a day before the retreat, you’ll get phone numbers you can use to dial in via telephone for any or all of the calls.
I really want to do this, but that’s a bad day for me. Can I sign up, get the recordings, and do it myself on a day when I’m free?
Based on feedback from past participants, Going into the Dark will not be recorded this year. This is to protect the sacredness of the retreat and to respect the privacy of what participants share.
Our time together creates a deep Mystery, and it is a Mystery that I do not believe can be evoked through a recording.
I encourage everyone to do what they need to do to take care of themselves over the course of the day. Whether that’s taking calls from bed, napping through one call and attending the other three, keeping your video off throughout the day, taking short breaks. You are the owner-operator of your body and of your experience of the day. I am merely here to help create and holy and sacred container we will share.
I’m so excited that you want to share this sacred time with me! Click the button below to sign up.