A New Perspective on the Dark Season

It's sunny (ish) on this November morning as I write this, but we all know the rains are coming! Those who know me will know I struggle when the days get dark and wet. So, I have come up with strategies to help myself cope with the dreariness of rainy season in Vancouver. I was going to call this post 5 Strategies to Survive the Rainy Season and I still plan to tell you my strategies, but first I want to share the magic bullet strategy that showed up in my in box a few days ago.

I subscribe to Natalie Rousseau’s news letter. I did an online meditation training series with her a couple of years ago and have been receiving her e-newsletter ever since. She is a beautiful human being and she always sends out thoughtful, thought provoking messages. But her most recent e-news letter was like receiving a precious gift. The gift of perspective.

I get a lot of email and I rarely have time to read these sorts of news letters very closely, so if the subject line doesn’t grab me, the news letter won’t get my full attention. But Natalie’s subject line reached out and pulled me in: Welcome to the Dark Season, the Season of Healing.

This title caught my attention because it is so different from my view of The Dark Season as a time of struggle against being swallowed by the unending grey of the Vancouver rains. I was curious and I was willing to welcome healing over struggle for once, so I read on.

The news letter starts with this paragraph from a blog post Natalie wrote last year about this season:

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“Ever since I was a child I have loved the magic of the dark season that exists between All Hallows Eve and the time of the Winter Solstice.  I love the way the autumn mist hangs low in the forest, obscuring the path ahead. I love the way that mushrooms sprout up overnight in silent groves, hinting at a magic I can’t quite understand, and I love the way that the abundant beauty of summer turns into the elegant decay of fall so that everywhere I look I am shown the most graceful examples of what it means to let go. But most of all I love this season for the insight it offers up....”  (click here to read the original blog post)

I now sit and wonder how I have been missing the beauty and healing potential of this season. The poetic imagery of Natalie’s prose stirred something deep inside of me. And this adage comes to mind: The eye sees what the mind is ready to understand. I have a masters degree in English Literature and I both studied and taught in some depth the poetry of the Romantics who had plenty to say about this fallow season. And yet, I was much more drawn to the poetry of the sea and the daffodils of spring. (I am a summer baby and Natalie is a fall baby, but we can speculate on that another time).

This year, in all areas of my life, I have been committed to cultivating more ease. So, I suppose I was finally ready for this perspective, one that has been there all along; but, in my determination to struggle, I couldn’t see it. Funny how we do that to ourselves.

I have collected strategies and techniques for coping with the darkness, and now I can add this new perspective to my arsenal and I am hopeful that I will experience more healing than struggle this year as I allow myself to take time for self care and self reflection.

Here are my self-care strategies for the (now magical) Dark Season:

1. Daily Yoga Practice. I have been doing Yoga with Adriene every day for 3 years. A 30 minute yoga practice makes every day better.

2. My Magic Happy Lamp. That's not the official name, but that's what I call it. Click here to see real name. I put it in front of my mat while I do yoga. It's like I'm in the spot light while I do sun salutations! 

3. Vitamin D. Research shows people in Northern climates don’t get enough Vit D.

4. My Flamingo Umbrella is just fun and makes me happy and that helps when it's grey and rainy! 

5. My Bullet Journal. You might find this one silly, or more silly than the Flamingo Umbrella, but it works for me. I track the weather on my bullet journal monthly page. At the end of each day, I draw a weather report. It gives me a 30 second creativity break and it helps me when I look back at it. When it has been raining for a few days in Vancouver, it can feel like it has been raining forever! So, looking back at proof that we saw the sun recently really helps me. And if I look at my bullet journal and see it has been raining for weeks, that also helps because I know I have a reason for the way I am feeling! 

6. Chocolate. When all else fails, chocolate always helps :)

Now I just need to find a solution to the rain induced frizzy hair! Can you relate? To any of this?

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Deb Stellingwerff