Wishing You Warmth and Light This Winter Solstice 🕯️❄️
Here's one from the "Better Late Than Never" files
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
~ Robert Frost
Happy Winter Solstice, Friends! (I started writing this on the solstice, then got interrupted. This is how my December has been.)
I hope you have a safe and warm place to spend this long, dark night. I’m writing this from my couch, enjoying a Hershey’s mint chocolate candy cane with a dog on my lap, and surrounded by the subtle glow of holiday lights and fire from the wood stove.
But this time of year is tough for many. I’ve shared about my own mental health struggles this past year, and know I wasn’t the only one going through it. I also know some people never made it out the other side.
Even though I’m feeling much better now, I don’t want to forget a pivotal moment in my depression…
Sometime in August, I was sitting in my bathroom and thinking about suicide. I felt like I was trapped at the bottom of a deep mine shaft and couldn’t find my way out. But I knew a way out existed because I’d been in that dark place before.
I tilted my head back and looked at the ceiling, trying to see a literal light at the top of this metaphorical hole I found myself in. I remember two voices bickering in my mind. One was panicked, telling me there was no light. There was no way out. There was no hope. The other voice was soothing, telling me it was okay. The light was there, I just couldn’t see it. I had to believe that this feeling of hopelessness would pass.
I had to have faith that the light would return.
Maybe you can relate to this scene. Even without a history of mental illness, our ancestors from various cultures and all parts of the world have been fixated on the re-emergence of light that occurs this time of year. Countless religious holidays, myths, and ancient tales focus on enduring light and the birth of a Son/Sun.
One of the main themes in Game of Thrones circles around The Long Night—a winter that lasted an entire generation. And one of the many religions in this world created by George R.R. Martin is a ditheistic type that worships the Lord of Light (opposed by the Great Other, or Lord of Darkness).
Like all great works of fiction, these stories hit home because they’re rooted in very real emotions.
I’ve often described my experience with depression as a black hole. I can feel its gravity sucking me in, tearing away pieces of me, and swallowing my light.
This intrinsic contrast between light and darkness is something we all embody. It makes life spicy and interesting, though some of the more flavorful bites can make us sweat, cry, and even choke a little. My story is not your story. But if you’ve ever had the painful pleasure of boxing your own shadow, I know you know what I mean.
So, how do we hold onto the light when the night is dark and full of terrors?
That’s the question I’ve been pondering since September, when I finally pulled free from the clutches of that black hole and started reclaiming the lost pieces of myself.
What if I had some kind of totem? A physical, sacred object to serve as an anchor when the light within begins to flicker.
I need something like the light that Lady Galadriel gave to Frodo in Fellowship of the Ring.
“It will shine still brighter when night is about you. May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”
Or the deluminator from Dumbledore that Ron used to get back to Hermione and Harry after he angrily stormed off in The Deathly Hallows.
Something like that.
Until the magickal object presents itself, I’m dedicated to frontloading my life with as much joy, light, love, and gratitude as possible. Connecting with you through this newsletter is one of the ways in which I do that.
If you’re still with me, I want to extend to you my sincere thanks. Nothing is more valuable than your time and attention in this hustle-heavy world we share, and I truly appreciate you spending these precious moments with my words.
Sending lots of love and wishes for a happy, healthy holiday season and joyful New Year!
And if you want to give it a try, I encourage you to start your own Substack!
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