Don’t let the sun go down on you.
When I was a little girl I was afraid of the dark, especially on Sunday nights when the weekend and time for play and rest came to an end.
The quick transition seemed too abrupt for me to assimilate and when the lights went out and it was time for bed, my heart would accelerate, my breath quicken and shorten, my mind swirled with images of shadows and sounds perceived as monsters and ghosts all within arm’s length, and I cried.
I would close my eyes shut and try to remain in my bed but the darkness got the best of me and I would quickly sneak into my sister’s bed where I felt comforted knowing I was protected and could finally exhale while the poor thing was squished in a twin bed with me in it. Bless her heart! She never turned me away.
When I grew older, as the days grew darker, they became more of a refuge: a time to slow down, take a break and rest. The shadows and sounds grew familiar to me and no longer took on the shapes of monsters. I began to breathe easier and needed less protection. I learned to lean in and embrace the warmth that comes with darkness and the feeling of safety within. A cocoon-like feeling that settled in as the sun went down and all became still by the light of the moon and stars.
In later years the shadows, ghosts and monsters ebbed and flowed and the night once again arrested me and my breath as I wept in darkness and silence, hoping that morning would quickly come.
The mind has a sense of humor and at different stages of our lives it can develop ways of tricking us into believing in the illusion of monsters and ghosts lurking in the shadows again if going unchecked.
On this Winter Solstice, when the Northern Hemisphere is tilted as far away from the sun as it can be, marking the shortest day and longest night, for some, becoming familiar with the dark is not so easy, and the monsters never seem to go away.
There are two known disorders associated with the dark: Sundowning and Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD), affecting different populations, which seem to worsen in the cold dark days of the long winter months and causal links remain unknown.
I speak more about these conditions in my clinical aromatherapy paper and will be sharing it with you in the New Year. In clinical studies, aromatherapy has been found to be a promising companion in helping soothe the distress caused by these afflictions. As I’ve mentioned in my previous posts, it has been helpful for me on my own journey.
At this stage of my life the darkness once again claims my attention, this time for introspection, reflection, clarity and direction.
I'm focusing on mindfulness—the awareness that comes from reflecting on any given situation and my reaction to it. Asking myself why do I react? What am I reacting to? Where and when had I experienced this before? Sitting still in silence, reflecting, writing/journaling, meditating and above all—breathing deeply. Creating the space for exploring the question: how it could play out differently?
The breath is with us every day and its ability to calm or uplift us at any given moment is underrated.
Go ahead give it a try 1—2—3:
Slowly inhale deeply for a 1—2—3 count, inflating your belly.
Taking all that fresh air high into your chest, holding it there for 1—2—3 seconds.
Slowly and completely exhale for a 1—2—3 count letting go of all the air and what you're holding on to, feeling your mind, body and spirit beginning to reset, getting centered and balanced. Rinse and repeat.
Taking stock of all I’ve accomplished this year: I am grateful for my health, family and intimate circle of friends, continuing to nurture a new business, learning and growing as a person, developing new relationships, and offering more to support your breath, mind, body and soul. I’m also reflecting on what’s no longer serving me, what I’ll be buttoning up then leaving behind and what will come with me into the New Year. I am thankful and grateful for all the opportunities presented, chances taken, lessons learned and continuing my aromatic journey with you as we continue learning to breathe deeper, exhale fully and rediscover our center of joy together!
The solstice is an event, a shift, in a moment in time, that takes place this year at 10:59 AM on 12/21/21. From there, the days will once again gradually grow lighter and brighter towards the Summer Solstice as we inch our way closer to summer.
Until then let’s be thankful for the darkness. Without it, there would be no moon or stars and the stillness of night to comfort us from the drowning noise of the day.
As we celebrate the holidays with family and friends, don’t let the sun go down on you. Check your holiday tool kit here and begin by being grateful, taking good care and rejoicing that brighter days are on the horizon for us all without monsters!
Awaken my dear. Be kind to your sleeping heart. Take it out into the field of light and let it breathe.—Hafiz
I’ve been sitting with Sweet Marjoram (Origanum majorana) essential oil. Its warm nutty scent feels like a big hug, calming my mind and fortifying my spirit, encouraging me to embrace the here and now, clearing a path for resting and restoring my body.
How are you clearing a path for resting, restoring and fortifying your mind, body and spirit?
Wishing you health, love, peace and light during the holidays and abundance, whatever that may be for you, in 2022.