On light and darkness – a guest post by Kathye

I asked my friend, Kathye, who is a cool, quirky gal and a professional writer to write a guest post for the winter solstice.

The other morning, I woke up when it was still dark out. I went downstairs, flipped on the light in the living room, and suddenly it seemed like Christmas morning. We had just decorated for the season the day before, and the lights on the window and the tree were plugged into the same outlet as the lamp in the living room. It made me smile, maybe even glow a little.

It also got me thinking. The tradition of Christmas lights started with putting candles on Christmas trees in Germany – a nation that experiences cold, dark winters. It is our nature as human beings to try to bring light to the darkness.

What we sometimes forget is that it’s the darkness that makes us seek ways to light it. If the days weren’t so short, if the winter wasn’t so long, we might not feel the need to celebrate in the middle of it. It’s hard to stand defiant against the darkness when the darkness is unremarkable.

earthriseThe same is just as true in a metaphorical sense. Sometimes it’s in hardship that we find our strength, our courage, our hope… our humanity in all its beauty. There are countless examples throughout history of people pulling together, standing up in the face of evil or hardship – and seeing the humanity in the enemy, as in the case of the Christmas Truce in the first World War.

When darkness looms, we have a choice. We can let it engulf us, bring us down, make us gloomy. Or we can chase it back and turn on the lights.

On the shortest day of the year when the night is so long, don’t curse the darkness – light a candle. Look at it as an opportunity to shine.

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Kathye has a blog too!  Check it out at http://kathyesguideto.wordpress.com/

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Face the monster in your mind, and ask him for a gift.

This is a saying that guides and inspires me. Let’s look at it a bit more closely.

First, fear is in your mind. What you fear is your monster and no one else’s. I’m not saying the things you fear aren’t real, but your reactions to the things you fear are uniquely your own.

Face your fear. Understand what makes you afraid and why. Poke at it. See what you can do about it. I used to be so afraid of heights I would get woozy standing on a chair to change a light bulb. Nonetheless, I managed to work up the courage to jump off a cliff into a lagoon in Mexico (there was no alcohol involved!). I’m never going to be a height-loving person, but I no longer let the fear manage me. I’ll get up that ladder or cross that suspension bridge and I carry on. Light bulbs get changed in my house now!

Ask the monster for a gift. When you face your fear, when you just do that thing that you dread – whether it’s facing a fear of heights or spiders or clowns, having an uncomfortable confrontation, giving a speech, saying I love you, changing jobs – that act itself is a gift, regardless of the results. You free yourself from fear’s shackles and become instantly more powerful.

Always ask the monster for your gift.

If I had a coat of arms and motto, this would be it. But I don’t, so instead, I made myself a dinner plate.

If I had a coat of arms and motto, this would be it. But I don’t, so instead I made myself a dinner plate.