December 17th, 2010


Earlier this week, I wrote about avoidance and anxiety. It happened that the next day, the ongoing Inner Work group of which I am a part had a conference call, which we have scheduled sometimes in addition to our two annual in-person weekend retreats.

A participant on the conference call talked about, as I interpreted it, a feeling she had been experiencing of “non-movement” lately. She said she didn’t see it as necessarily an egoic resistance or defense maneuver but just a slowing down or quietness of action. She wondered if there may ever be an energetic “pause” in the experience of Essence—that there might be a time in the authentic experience of ourselves in which there did not seem to be any particular movement seeming called for.

Immediately the internal response in me was, Of course there may. And that was when I realized it.

I had forgotten it was Winter.

As I’ve mentioned here before, Winter is the season in Five-Element Acupuncture that offers stillness, silence, immersion in the mystery, respect for unknowing/the unknown. In listening to my fellow participant’s question, I realized the entire season of Winter, as I understand it, represents and invites the very phenomenon of which she spoke. Winter itself could be one answer to the very question.

At that moment, this seemed obvious to me—and yet immediately preceding her inquiry, this awareness had been entirely blocked from my consciousness. The exposure to this conversation invited an entire reframing of the perception of my recent experience. The anxiety I have experienced recently may be specifically related to the call of Winter—or more pointedly, my own ignoring and forgetting of it—and the perception of and frustration with avoidance may not necessarily be with actual avoidance of things as much as—or at least as well as—a product of the resistance to, paradoxically, slowing down, surrendering to the authentic stillness deep within me as invited by this season. A part of me may in fact have been deliberately blocking the conscious awareness of and remembrance of the symbolism of Winter, finding the stillness, silence, and surrender to the unknown that Winter invites intimidating and unnerving. And of course the further I am from what is true in me, including connection with the flow of the Earth and its offerings, the more anxiety I am likely to feel.

Nothing I said in the post on Monday was wrong. It just wasn’t seeing everything (as probably my perspective now isn’t either; it has just expanded to encompass more than then). I was seeing something from a particular, and limited, perspective; others were, at the time, blocked from my consciousness. It was like looking at a rainbow but with such a narrow perception that all that is seen is blue. The gift of my colleague’s sharing invited the expansion of my awareness to include more than one color—which, of course, may change the whole perspective.

The anxiety is still there, and the reasons for it I expressed have not changed, in my perception. The reframing did not make the anxiety go away—it allowed for a different relationship to it, a new awareness of why it may be there and how to awaken more and hold within myself the invitation and response in me that feels truly called for. That might not be the one the culture surrounding me, or anyone with whom I’m interacting, or perhaps particularly a part of me that is made up of structures that formed in my past may seem interested in. But as I said at the end of the post earlier this week, anxiety may be an invitation.

The message I feel right now is, Slow Down; It Is Winter. Alas, I had forgotten. Thank you, Universe, for the reminder.

As I mentioned last year and the year before, today, December 17, is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. Organized events are planned today around the world to commemorate this designation and the sentiment behind its inception in 2003.

My red candle honoring such is lit and pictured above. From the mystery, stillness, and depth to and from which Winter calls us, I acknowledge and observe as love all who have been affected by violence in their professions as sex workers in the last year and ever, all who have felt directly impacted by such, and all who have committed it, as well as everyone everywhere. It is here especially, in the darkness, depth, and unknowing of this season, that the ultimate Oneness that we are may be so clearly seen.

May we so.


“If you touch the sacred quality of winter inside yourself—that quality of everything returning to its most essential form—you find yourself falling off the end of the mind and into openness.”

2 Responses “Illumination”

  1. Alana says:

    This is beautiful. Thank you. A

  2. Emerald says:

    Alana! Hi, and thank you so much. Lovely to see you as usual. Xoxoxo

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