Shadow Hunting : Winter Solstice

I have been shadow hunting.

2019 has been a dive into the dark. I honour this winter solstice, not for the return of the light, for wisdom of the unseen.

I have been vigilantly attentive to unconscious behaviours of how I show up in the world, uncovering shadows within myself that I haven’t been able to see, or afraid to touch.

My shadows include they ways I manipulate the world around me to get my needs and desires met… hey way I seduce, project, and protect. By shining a light of awareness on these shadows, I can take greater self-responsibility in knowing that I create my reality.

There is a movement away from a being a victim, rescuer, or perpetrator who blames others for her lack of owning her own feelings. There is a rise of giving voice to my inner moment to moment truth, along this journey of reclaiming my sovereignty.

Two weeks this year have been spent with my sisters of Women Who See in the Dark, sitting in nightly meditations in complete darkness with our eyes open, so that there is nothing for our senses to grasp onto… nothing externally stimulating to distract from our inner world. This has been a profound practice, re-wiring my nervous system to be more at ease with the unknown, to rest in non-doing, and to listen… really listen within… and become more sensitive to how life is moving through me.

This year, I lost my beloved grandmother who raised me, with whom I have the most precious, uncomplicated love with. I cherished 2 1/2 months of holding vigil, bedside with her as she transitioned onwards from this human life. I cared for, and witnessed her human body let go of the physical, the sensory, the relational, until she let go of her last breath. I watched her body lower into the earth, and felt the ache in my heart so deep, so raw.

I spent 11 days in solitude so that my grieving heart had a place to cry her oceans of tears, lay listless on the earth and could wail like a wounded, wild baby animal abandoned in the woods and cry her songs of sorrow.

There have been moments where the pain feels like it couldn’t possibly be any bigger, at the edge of unbearable.

Here, I connected with the part of my human self that doesn’t want to be here in this world. That’s done with this life. That doesn’t see the point. The one that questions everything. I connected with the one inside me that wants to hold hands with her grandma and leave this earth. That wants to die.

And so I let her die.
I had a death ceremony for myself.
I stopped resisting the darkness, and let her fully consume me.

For when I go so fully into the eye of the pain, be fully swallowed by the dark, there is a seemingly paradoxical feeling that arises…exquisite pleasure.

The pleasure of feeling.
The pleasure of being human.
The pleasure of love without boundaries.

Thank you, darkness, for these teachings. I celebrate the solstice now, entering into a ceremony in the ancient lands of which Israel is built upon. What will unfold tonight, in the darkest night of the year, is a mystery. There is a little flutter in my belly… a dash of anticipation, a spice of fear and a spoon of excitement… An alchemy of life force elixir bubbling.

Happy solstice everyone. May you bask in the teacher of darkness today.

Alice Hong

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