Thursday, January 03, 2019

Embrace the darkness as well as the light

Read Nancy De Guerre's First Person contribution to The Globe and Mail, "How I learned to live in November’s darkness", published 21 November 2018. Although we're through Christmas and New Year festivities, and have celebrated the winter solstice, De Guerre's approach may still help us through January and February. She describes the darkness of November while referring to Thomas Moore's work:
"Author Thomas Moore, in his book Dark Nights of the Soul, suggests that we can both fight and embrace our dark periods. We can experience the sadness while tapping into our creativity and imagination. Moore uses examples of famous dark-night embracers, most of whom I don’t mind being lumped with: Glenn Gould, Anne Sexton, Henry David Thoreau, Frida Kahlo and Oscar Wilde, among others. Brilliant artists who learned – not without great struggle – to heal and create, to learn from the experience of their darkness, to use it to connect them ultimately with their humanity and with others. 'A dark night of the soul can heal,' Moore writes. In essence, light emerges from the darkness."
De Guerre continues, "There is comfort in the dark, in knowing I can manage it, be with it, and come out somehow transformed. Being in the dark allows me to see the glimpses of light. Cocooning is the prerequisite for moving into a new phase of life – the shedding of a skin in order to be renewed. 'To some degree, new life always requires the termination of the old,' Moore writes."

Moore touches on related themes in his more recent book, The Soul of Christmas (2016) published by Franciscan Media.