winter landscape

Winter, an Invitation to Go within and Be with the Dark

“Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” -Brene Brown

Though my name is Summer, I must confess that over the years I have come to really appreciate and welcome winter. The season speaks to me as in invitation and initiation of sorts. The natural world around me has become bare and goes “within.” The daylight becomes shorter and the darkness longer. I notice my body often wants to linger in the warm comfort of my bed in the mornings (though my husband would say that is his experience of me every morning).

The culture I have grown up in tends to want to focus on the “light.” My faith tradition certainly emphasized “be in the light,” “this little light of mine, I am going to let it shine,” and “the light cast out darkness.”  I am not throwing the baby out with the bath water! I am, however, stating the importance of nurturing the places within us that we tend to hold in contempt, judge, and keep locked away.

Being with our Darkness as Initiation to our Growth

 I have noticed over the years in my own growth journey, and in working with clients, the importance of being willing to be with our inner “darkness.” It can feel like an initiation of sorts. Initiations are often designed to create transformation for the person participating.

 Wisdom teachers and wisdom traditions point to an alchemical mystery that happens when we embrace the dark within. In the West, we are familiar with Jesus’ statements, “To live, you must be born again” and “To gain your life you must loose your life.”

I have found that embracing my inner dark can feel like death.

What does the path of self emptying and being with the dark places within have to do with real living?

What type of transformation does this invite us into?

I believe it invites us into a life of living from the wisdom of our heart.

I know for me, I can feel this internal pressure to live with fierce courage. I have this precious life and I really want to LIVE it. For me, this is about deeply trusting myself. Listening to what my heart really wants and not letting my inner critic voice and “practical mind” suffocate what it desires. I also know it means serving others through my gifts, speaking my voice, and not hiding my “light” for fear of my darkness (a lack of worthiness and, therefore, belonging).

The path can become confusing when my conditioning, habits, and inner critic emerge,  birthed from a fear of not belonging.

Having a practice of noticing and welcoming my inner darkness has been essential in my journey of unfolding into what mystic Thomas Merton coined, my “True Self,” or what Internal Family Systems theory would call the Self.

What might we experience if we notice what we brace against – and turn towards it? 

We can continue our lives staying stuck in our triggers and emotional reactivity (living from our ego-driven protective self), or we can pay attention to nature and see what wisdom it may have for us in its rhythms and cycles.

What does  it mean to have a season or rhythm to go deep within?

What might happen if I stop and listen to my triggers and not project them out into my environment?

If I practice courage and fiercely look within, what may I find?

I believe the poet Rainer Maria Rilke was on to something when he said:

“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”

What might happen if we turn our attention towards the darkness within?

What if we discover something larger within that can hold all of us….the dark and the light?

Join our monthly online group

I invite you to check this out for yourself in our upcoming monthly online group:

Tending to the Waters of Our Soul online monthly group: click here to learn about the group

In this group,  my colleague, Samatha DiRosa, and I will specifically focus on ways we contract around our grief, gratitude, and love. A part of our practice will be inquiry in what happens as we stay with what we brace against in the present moment.



If you’re Zoom tired

A NOTE TO THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE “ZOOM TIRED,” or whose narrative is “I just don’t like doing intimate groups on Zoom.” 

I hear you. In participating and facilitating in intimate groups online and in person, the power of physical proximity is palpable in ways that can get lost online.  

This said, through shared intention and sincerity of heart, a palpable container of connection can occur online and also allows for a greater diverse group and perspective.  

If you feel called to a season of monthly soul care work where you deep dive in like-hearted community, I encourage you to consider this online experience. Please also share with your friends whom you believe would resonate with this inner work.

Share your thoughts below or on Facebook at Embodied Intelligence @3CenteredExperiencing.

Scroll to Top