In the northern hemisphere, the nights are growing longer
and the cold is getting deeper and more biting. When we
wake up in darkness and arrive home in darkness, it’s easier
to remember why, in ancient times, the weeks leading up to
the winter solstice were fraught with feelings of angst and
On that longest night of the year, our ancestors wondered
whether the sun would return at all. So they kept fires lit
in sympathy with the heat of the sun and sang songs and told
stories to coax that life giving orb to return to the eastern
sky come solstice morning.
Every year, December and the holidays that accompany it
bring feelings of longing and sadness for some people, even
in modern times. This year is no exception.
Some people know that the sun is going to rise tomorrow,
but don’t anticipate it with any pleasure.
They might be living with unimaginable loss.
Or feeling that nothing has worked out out the way they’d hoped,
and they can’t see how it will ever get better.
Or the beliefs that gave their life hope and meaning
have been torn asunder.
If we live long enough, we all experience dark nights of
the soul eventually. And when they happen to occur during
the holidays, they can seem even more bleak.
We’re living through a time of great change right now,
and turmoil is a common experience.
Old ways of being, doing, living are falling away. Weather
patterns are shifting. Structures and roles are disintegrating,
and this sort of disintegration may reflected in your personal
life as well: relationships, careers, finances, home and
health are in disarray for many, many people.
Chaotic change can feel frightening and overwhelming.
And it’s important to remember that big shifts hold the
potential for creative, expansive possibilities we can
barely fathom. Precarious times are ripe for magic and miracles.
When you’re in the middle of a precarious time, though,
it can be hard to believe in the miraculous. Great uncertainty
can make you feel wholly inadequate to the task, even the task
So what can you do when the person you’ve been isn’t
up for navigating through a new reality?
You hold a space for conceiving someone new, someone
who has the wisdom you need to respond to situations
you can’t anticipate.
You surrender to uncertainty.
You trust that by releasing what you’ve known, you’ll
be given the grace you require.
I wrote a poem about that a few years ago, and I offer it
to you again now (below) in hopes that it inspires you
during these extraordinary times, to hold a space for the
person you came here to be.
I believe in your Essential Self.
And I’m praying for you and all beings during this time
The Wisdom of Mary
Say yes to
the Beckoner: that Terrible
Angel whose summons seems
to ask that you turn your back
on everything proper
Convention can take you only where
humanity has been before
and what good is that
to a Cosmos crying out
for something utterly
Conceiving divinity calls for
After all, what deity
ever sprung from known
Be quiet now.
Rest in the waiting.
Let infinity spark
and stretch into
Be willing to be the one
who fits in nowhere
who is unwelcome
whose treasure is unrecognized
by everyone but your Self.
And when the time comes
of everything you’ve known.
Be a portal to the possible:
a vessel through which
©2012, Kimberly V. Schneider
Happy winter holy days.
And if you’d like additional support during these times of great change (or you know someone who could use it), consider my spoken word CD: Terrible Beauty: Poetry and Reflections for Precarious Times. You can listen to a sample track and read about it at: www.kimberlyschneider.com/go/terrible-beauty/