Over the last few weeks, the seasons have been turning. There is something comforting, familiar and of course repetitive about once more facing this part of the seasons of the earth.
With the turning comes a focus on letting go, dropping away, surrender. The leaves themselves are showing us how to let go – with grace and style. They seem to be shouting: “Let go! Let go!”
With the turning also comes an invitation: are you ready to look at the dark, the missing, the empty? In our society, most of us do what we can to numb out and not feel those more vulnerable feelings. Brene Brown has done an exceptional job of educating us to see vulnerability as strength. Yet the boycott of those more tender and painful feelings still exist even if we can understand intellectually that we want to feel more.
This time of year, just as we leave summer and are about to enter fall, is also a time of paradoxes. How did we feel so free and joyous in the summer? The light of the sun and the ease from the summer pace would have given most of us some replenishment and some pause. Now we can see that time just behind our shoulders even as we see darkness ahead.
I came across this quote from the Quaker, author and educator Parker Palmer, which captures this feeling, I think:
“Don’t be Afraid of the Dark
In the midst of depression, I once asked my spiritual director how I could be feeling such despair when not long before the depression hit I had been feeling so close to God?
‘Simple, she said. ‘ The closer you get to light, the closer you get to darkness.’
The deepest things in life come not singly but in paradoxical pairs, where the light and dark intermingle.”
I had an amazing summer. My daughter was in town. I had discovered a new love in my bass guitar and in being part of a band. The pace was one of slowness and connection. Today it is overcast and rainy. The fall is coming. I would like to hold both realities with equal embrace – to find as much joy in the letting go into darkness as I have in the creating in the light.
What about you?