Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Light in the Darkness

Welcome to the December Mindful Mama Carnival: Staying Mindful During the Holiday Season
This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Carnival hosted by Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ. This month our participants
have shared how they stay mindful during the holiday season. Please read to
the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


Winter is usually a dark time for me. I am deeply affected by the shortage of sunlight and my body yearns for hibernation.  Blood meant for warmer climes retracts from the chilly surface. I become sluggish. My limbs recoil, aching for sanctuary.

Living in the Northern Hemisphere, my longing to withdraw is further complicated by the holidays. The season brings up a mix of both magical childhood memories and memories still too dark to fully retrieve. Adding  to the challenge is my son's birthday and the memories of his difficult entrance into the world. He was born in winter, even though he wasn't due until early spring. Keeping vigil in the NICU that year, I escaped my usual holiday anguish as I faced a new, utterly foreign reality. Coming home was even harder but we got through that, too. My new family survived that first dark winter.

When I look at my son now, two years later, I wonder how I got so lucky to have this being share the winter with me. I watch him run laughing, rosy-cheeked from the cold. I feel warm. I answer his litany of questions and listen to his endless discourse about the rocks, the barren trees, the dog's hardened poop. I feel elation. My arms unfold, extending outward. My feet move easily. I am awake.

When incomprehensible emotions creep up, when I feel disgust, distance, and discord over the madness of the holidays, I look at him. I remember his fight. I remember my own. I see the results of hope, commitment, and deep attachment. I see him grow and I see myself transform. I see the now and move beyond the past. I see the holidays as a time of joy, a time to celebrate that we are alive through the dark, cold winter. I see light.


Mindful Mama Carnival -- Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ Visit The Mindful Mama Homepage to find out how you can participate in the next Mindful Mama Carnival!

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Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:


  1. Oh, well, thanks for that! I'm exhausted, pregnant, homesick (being from the Southern Hemisphere and living in the Northern) and this made me cry! :) Actually, really, thanks for that. The release has given me the energy to get up off the sofa - after this comment - and get some stuff done. I empathise on a few of your emotions in this post, and think you've written them so beautifully. Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. Can I just say that I think this is possibly your best post ever? So raw and beautiful. I love it.
    And I love that you've been able to move beyond the past and embrace the present. We are not our experiences.

  3. Beautifully put and a strong reminder of the *light* returning in winter and the joy that wintertime with children can bring!

    -Kerry @ City Kids Homeschooling

  4. Children make it all so much better, so worth it, don't they? I hope your holidays are filled with light!

  5. This is absolutely beautiful. I find the darkness of winter affecting me more each year than I expect, and you have good reason to fear it. I'm so glad your son is there to remind you of joy! Thank you for sharing.

  6. What a gorgeously honest post! Thank you for sharing.

  7. Thank you for writing this for the Mindful Mama Carnival.

    I resonate with your words so deeply. Every time I lose myself in frustrations or anger or sadness or anything that's disconnected, really, I can look at my children and remember. I remember the intensity and truth of the love and joy that is possible!

    Your posts speaks to the heart of that indefinable place we meet when we become parents...All the complaining or wishing for something else...This. This surpasses it all. This makes it worth fighting the darkness for.

  8. It's so crazy how the holidays can stir up such a mix of memories and emotions, both good and bad. Thank you for the reminder that we need not worry about the past, but only be mindful of today, and all that we have to be thankful for.

    Terri Babin