The darkness has its purpose. You have suffered. Everybody has suffered. Use it well. Instead of being loyal to it, go through it and let it empower you to care for yourself and others in a deeper and more beautiful way. For its purpose, its true purpose, is to open the great heart of compassion in you.Jack Kornfield
As the year comes to a close, there is a natural looking back on what has passed and what has brought us here. This year was another one for the books with its fair share of ups and downs and moments in between.
New Year’s Eve is an opportune time to celebrate the good, to remember our joys, to count our blessings. Indeed, there is so so much to be grateful for and they need to be acknowledged and appreciated. What’s hard though is to look back on the year and remember the uphill climb we’ve had to make to get us where we are. Maybe we’re not even at the peak of the mountain, able to look across the vast horizon and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Maybe we’re still at that struggling stage, or the dip in the crevices between joy and the next joy. Or maybe we feel trapped in a cave somehow, feeling alone and abandoned while the rest of the outside world celebrates. If so, please know you are not alone. The details and timing of everyone’s journeys look different but the human ride is the same. And I am with you, smiling and breathing, wherever you are. You can trust this for I myself have been where you are too. And I know one day, I’ll find myself there again. But I also know it will pass. The light will always find you, just as the darkness too.
Whenever darkness descends upon you, know that it’s simply a time to scale back, close your eyes, and rest. It is like a canopy, that may sometimes be heavy, but it is also a refuge and a deep important reminder to look inwards once more. Yes, there is suffering, insecurity, and pain in these moments. There are uncertainties that cause much fear and anxiety. But there is also the cold silence that allows the truth to sharply pierce through the outside noise. It is the wisdom that is found in the fertile darkness, the remembrance that each moment has a purpose in our lives, the encouragement to transform our collective suffering into love, peace, and ultimately our joy. Thich Nhat Hanh famously said, “No mud, no lotus.” Our grief, pain, and darkness can be the compost and fertile soil from which our love grows, the love that is no longer selfish but all-encompassing, the love that recognizes our place in the world and the beautiful tapestry of life that we are a part of.
What a blessing it is to be able to recognize the good, the bad, the pauses, the rushes, the joys, the sorrows, the life, the death, the gaining, and the losing. Everything can be made sacred in our choice to see it all as blessings.
As this year ends, a new chapter in our lives begins. We move forward, carrying with us the treasures we’ve uncovered from our past experiences and the wider perspective they have brought us with which to welcome this new beginning.
I wish you all a wonderful, meaningful, safe, and loving New Year. See you in 2022!