This image was taken in 2018 at a makeshift refugee camp in a warehouse in Tijuana, Mexico. At the time, it was shocking to many that a border could be closed to shut out people wanting to seek refuge. As 2020 draws to a close, closed borders are the new normal, and it is not just refugees who no longer can move freely across borders, it is all of us. As I am writing this, I am on day 11 of a 14-day very strict quarantine. I am limited in my movement because I traveled to Germany for three weeks because my father had passed suddenly and I wanted to be with my very elderly mother at this time of shock, grief, and transition.
Our human reality is not always light-filled and merry, and at no time is this more obvious than at Christmas. At no other time of the year is the contrast between darkness and light more present (in the Northern hemisphere). The outer darkness of long nights resonates with and may even deepen the dark feelings we may feel inside. Pain and suffering can feel very inescapable at this time.
And yet, the magic and mystery of the indelible human spirit shine even then. Children will decorate a christmas tree in a warehouse shelter, a friend or kind neighbor may drop a present at our doorstep or say something that touches the heart, there may be a sense of being held or of some presence or light even at the darkest of moments. We may feel moved to reach out with kindness to others who are steeped in inner or outer darkness.
The reality of the human journey is marked by both darkness and light. The good news is that we are all on our way to discovering, ever deeper, ever more fully, and in ever new ways, the truth of our being, which is beyond darkness and light, but shines through us as light and love.
May you find that light, that love, in yourself, in others, and in all things.
May that be your sacred Christmas gift to yourself.
In love and gratitude,
PS: If you're having a hard time over the holidays (or any time) you may find heart meditation a good resource. You will find two guided heart meditations on the bottom of the meditation page, and you're welcome to join us for the next online meditation retreat on Saturday 9 January 2021.