Leah Farmer

Personal perspectives on faith, literature, and life.

Advent 2016: Solstice

Readings: 1 Samuel 2:1-10; Genesis 37:2-11; Matthew 11:1-17

Today is the shortest day of daylight all year long. That alone makes it special.

It is also the day when we begin the long ascent back into sunlight on our way to spring. That makes it extra special (especially to the people of the Pacific Northwest…cause it’s effing dark up here in the corner!)

For all the earth is the Lord’s,
and he has set the world in order. (1 Samuel 2:8b)

I will celebrate this day by abstaining from screen time (as soon as the work day is over) and from alcohol. I will also celebrate this day with a beautiful meal full of fresh vegetables and grains. I will celebrate this day with a session of extended meditation and reiki tonight in my meditation space. I will light candles and sage and will talk to God about the year behind us.

But most importantly I will celebrate this day by accepting and loving my shadow self…in al her imperfect glory.

5857673847_cd81427c8dThe shadow self is the side of yourself that you only show when you are alone. It can be a concealed fear, desire, or source of shame that you are unwilling to put out into the light for others to see and judge. It is the side of you that wants to behave in the ways other than polite, professional, or appropriate. It is the side of you that lives under the surface and that you sometimes just fight like hell to keep at bay…and other times that you use to enjoy moments of uncharacteristic behavior.

Only when you consider yourself without judgment will you know how to prepare for the coming season — and year. Hanekamp says to ask yourself, “What are you ready to let go of and leave behind, to essentially let die or leave in the dark? Are there parts of your hidden self that need to be given a voice?” These are the kinds of questions that can lead to truly positive changes in your life. (Deborah Hanekamp of Mama Medicine)

As I think of Hannah and her song, I wonder at her shadow self. The part of her that had to carry the hurt and baggage of the bullying she faced while barren and the part of her she had to keep in check when she wanted to brag about her new baby bump. I think we hear her shadow self slip in and out in this song.

‘Stop acting so proud and haughty!
Don’t speak with such arrogance!
For the Lord is a God who knows what you have done;
he will judge your actions.
The bow of the mighty is now broken,
and those who stumbled are now strong.
Those who were well fed are now starving,
and those who were starving are now full.
The childless woman now has seven children,
and the woman with many children wastes away.’

Today I will wrestle with my shadow self…and we will decide together what needs more light and what should stay hidden. But either way, by the time I close my eyes, I hope to have offered myself love and acceptance…all of myself.

 

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