It’s been quite a year. It’s hard to find words to describe it. Yet we are likely to remember it as a year that changed our lives and changed the world.
During this season when many traditions celebrate the Light and its transformative power, I’ve been reflecting on the journey from darkness into Light. I’m filled with questions.
What have we learned about ourselves through this challenging year? What have we learned about each other and the world? What has shifted in our priorities—in what truly matters to us? How are we different as we step into 2021?
In my reflections, the familiar words first penned by the 17th-century English theologian and historian Thomas Fuller come to mind:
The darkest hour is just before the dawn.
At the same time, I come back to these words of early 20th-century Spanish poet Antonio Machado:
Wanderer, there is no path,
the path is made by walking.
In the coming months, there will surely be more than one dark hour and more than one dawn. Just as nature brings us cycles of darkness and light, so it is in our life journeys.
There will inevitably be dark nights (or seasons) of the soul. Yet each time the darkness comes, we have the learning of past dark nights to lean on. Each time the darkness comes, if we are willing to be with it, we find new awareness, new learning, new perspectives, new growth. And as in nature, the light does return.
We are in the midst of a long journey. There will continue to be twists and turns, highs and lows, victories and defeats. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the Great Breaking Open is a transitional era in history, not a transitional decade or year.
The Great Breaking Open, and 2020 in particular, has gifted us with enormous opportunities for learning at every level of society. Yet so far, at least on a systemic level, we have not fully said “Yes” to the learning. Will 2021 be the year?
Will we choose to return to the familiar path to recreate our past? Or will we learn from the breaking open and breaking down of nearly every structure and system we know and create a new path forward? Will we consciously choose to walk into our future with new awareness, new vision, new approaches?
We can choose to walk from darkness into Light. We can choose to create a new path by how we walk in the world. We can choose to take personal and collective response-ability for how we show up and what we create. We can choose to create a more equitable and sustainable world.
No single person or organization or government can do it alone. It will take many of us together. It will take showing up each day with an open and listening heart. It will require paying attention to what wants to happen around us in service of a world that works for all.
It will mean listening to the callings within us, sensing the roles we are here to play, and doing our part in support of a new path forward. It will mean saying “Yes” to the service we are being asked for.
As we leave 2020 behind, may we find gratitude for its gifts and challenges. May we be grateful that our capacities for “being with what is” have been stretched—that we have learned more about ourselves and about how life works—that we have discovered more about our own resilience and strength and the power of the human spirit.
As we cross over into 2021, may our guiding lights be mutual respect, care, and compassion. May we hold a vision and take conscious steps towards the health and wellbeing of all. May we recognize our own Light and call forth the Light in others. May we look for the Light in every situation and circumstance and let that Light guide our decisions and actions.
And in the moments when we can’t yet find the Light within what is happening, may we shine our own Light until the hidden spark within our circumstance can catch fire.
May you, those dear to you, and all of creation everywhere be held in love and blessings in this season of Light, in the New Year, and in the years to come.
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