Twice a year, our world comes into a perfect balance between darkness and light. It is on these equinoxes - on or around March 21st and September 21st each year - when we have equal amounts of day and night. For the spring equinox - at least for those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere - this day marks the beginning of longer days and is a time of rebirth, renewal, and new life beginning to spring forth. Today, on the autumn equinox, we enter the time of the year when we have longer nights. The darkness indicates the cooler weather that is upon us, the dying of the plants and crops, and the winter that is to come.
But beyond the effects that it has on the world around us, this day calls us to go inward, to reflect, to rest. As humans, our internal world is often a reflection of the external world, and the shifting of the seasons is no different. The cooler air may bring a new rejuvenated sense of energy, the changing colors of the trees may bring a renewed sense of creativity, and the harvest brings a sense of community and gratitude. Additionally, the increasing night offers an opportunity to go embrace the darker sides of ourselves.
The self-development and spiritual field of work often highlights this polarity. You have your ‘love and light’ crowd which focuses on the high vibe energy and feel good moments. On the other end, you have the ‘shadow workers’, who prefer the darker side of getting into the muck of the pain, the shadow self, and traumas. However, neither one of these groups is wrong in their approach, but neither approach is also fully correct. As nature shows us, it is more about the balance of the light and dark which provides a rich and fulfilling journey.
While we will go through seasons where one is more prevalent than the other, we need both the light and the dark. Without the dark, we cannot have light. Without light, there is no dark. They rely on each other for their very existence. In this way, what makes us whole is not just the light or the dark alone, but rather the beautiful interweaving of the two - the relationship between the light and the dark parts of ourselves and how they work together to make us who we are.
When we live too much in the light, we may find ourselves spiritually bypassing our life. We repress the emotions, the pains, the wounds that we have experienced within our life experience and rely too heavily on what becomes superficial to make us feel good. Ultimately, this leads to a life lived out of touch with the true self, constantly chasing that spiritual high and the next thing that we think may fulfill our spiritual needs. However, we stay stagnant because we are unwilling to go within - unwilling to explore the darkness.
On the other hand, when we live within the dark, we begin to feel heavy, weighed down by all that has harmed us, by the parts of ourselves we want to keep hidden, and by the shame that can form by staying in the dark too long. We find ourselves isolated, hurt, and depressed. The longer we sit in the pit of darkness, the harder it can be to get out. However, there are valuable discoveries to be made in the darkness, if we then take the steps to bring them into the light.
In order to become more present, authentic, and whole within our lives is to fully embrace both the light and the darker sides of ourselves. We can laugh with our friends and family, we can embrace our inner child and play, we can dance, sing, meditate, use our crystals. We can also go inward, meet the parts of ourselves that we have pushed down or hidden away. We can cry, scream, punch and kick (pillows are preferable please), meet and accept our shadow self. We can acknowledge past experiences that have wounded us deeply, that have shaped our worldview and negatively impacted our relationship with the self. And from there, we can learn, release, reframe, heal, and grow.
That is what I love about hypnotherapy and the work that I do - both with my clients and the work that I do myself. We can have fun, we can play around with the light and the joyful areas of life, but we can also dig deep, go into those scary dark pits together, and find what needs to be brought up and out into the light. This journey is difficult, but it is made easier when done with community and support.
As we make our step into the first day of autumn, I encourage you to accept the natural invitation to begin to go inward; to reevaluate your balance of light and dark, and to perhaps take action to dig a bit deeper. We all have areas of darkness, and within those pits are gems waiting to be discovered, dusted off, and brought out into the light to shine!