The Light and the Dark Will Heal You

The wisdom of the ancients understood the place for both light and darkness. Although we might like to have all light all the time, we live on the physical plane where without one, the other does not exist. Solstice is a celebration of equal measure light and dark. It comes on December 21, around the time when many festivals of light are celebrated around the world such as Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza, Yule, and St. Lucia Day.

I’m all for joy and good cheer, the more the better. However, I’ve often struggled with relentless holiday merriment when, as an adult, holidays bear a mixed bag of childhood memories and current reality, some delightful, some difficult.

Several years ago, it occurred to me that during the holiday festivities when everyone is reveling, I could quietly include the losses and the missings of my own heart, such as the death of my daughter or being away from loved ones, by lighting a commemorative candle and placing it on the dinner table or in the living room near the Christmas crèche my dad made when I was a little girl. Sometimes I share this simple ceremony with others present if they are open to it and want to include their own missings. Or maybe I just hold mine gently in my own heart and in the steady flicker of light.

You can do this too. Reflect on what you are grateful for this season. That is what the season is for. But also, acknowledge what is missing—the person you wish was here, a loved one who died, maybe your old sense of wonder. Whatever is there, it exists for you, and it only makes the ache worse to push it away.  Light your candle to acknowledge what’s in your heart, all of it, and know that the light and the dark, each given its place, will heal you.

Take out your journal and pen:

List the missings that you’d like to include in the middle of the festivities.

How will acknowledging those help you integrate and heal?

Extra credit:

Find a candle to place on your holiday table or in a special place this season.

During the festivities, light the candle to include the “dark” things that aren’t recognized openly.

Do you want to do this privately or share the ceremony with others?


Lynn Baskfield guides you through rites of passage* with storytelling, writing, creative expression, ritual, retreats, nature and very centrally, the wisdom of horses. A lifelong horsewoman, she partners with horses to evoke insights and learning that you cannot get by thinking, reading, or talk coaching only.  If you work with Lynn and her experiential coaching approach, confidence, joy and creative solutions will emerge naturally as you move forward.

Lynn holds an M.A in Human Development and is a certified life coach, transformational educator and the author of two books. As owner of SpiritDance Coaching, she has been coaching, training, and conducting retreats for individuals and groups since 1997. She also trains and mentors equine guided professionals around the world.

Adult Rites of Passage: Stepping into Your Big Dream, Career Change, Empty Nest, Moving, Conscious Aging, Facing Chronic or Life-Threatening Illness, Loss and Grief

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