It’s not like a walk in the park, this stepping through darkness from the known space of yesterday into the uncertain places of tomorrow. This moment between past and future is no open doorway with breezes flowing. This now is a tunnel, a constricting funnel, narrowing the horizon to a pinpoint, thinning the potent possibilities to this stretched limbo of waiting.
When I walk a labyrinth, I like to take my time in the center, to pause and rest, to give space in the holy hush between in-breath and out-breath for something new to enter. In this December labyrinth, we’ve walked through increasingly dark passages, exploring the shadows, examining our own little lights, reflecting on the interplay between darkness and light.
Today the planet begins her inward spin again, back toward equilibrium, away from the outer point of our elliptical whirl. And there’s a feeling–much more poetic than scientific–of pause here at the edges. Just the slightest sensation of being between.
Breathing, like labyrinth-walking, is a steady in and out process. And like the labyrinth, it isn’t necessarily a simple in-and-turn-and-out journey. Between each breath is a little doorway into a room between breaths, a space where something new may enter.
And so, in this moment on the planetary spin, this space between breaths, this pause, this doorway, this room, we sit and we wait for what is to come. Here we sit within Time out of Time. The wait for Sunreturn is over, but Advent continues.
In the Christian tradition, we are waiting for the Child of Light to appear, for the angels to shine forth and announce a Birth. We ask ourselves what this welcome means. Is it a mystical moment, only an inner dawning? Is it a psycho-socio-political moment when we consider what it means to welcome the ones who are caught on the margins without hope of help? Is it simply the re-telling of an ancient tale? What are we waiting for?
Here in this dark, quiet room in the space between breaths, we have time to consider what it is we are waiting for. It’s not about the urgency of a child’s breathless anticipation of presents and play. We prepare these inner rooms, watch our dreams and visions, notice the way the breath moves in and out, and pauses. We wait.
Gratitude List: 1. Oyster Stew at the Town Hall Restaurant, where my father used to take my grandmother. I felt like Grandma was there, too. Even Santa stopped by, and gave us all candy canes. 2. Watching my brother teach my son to play guitar. Watching my nephew painting with my son. Playing games together, eating together. I am so grateful to be raising my children in these circles of village. 3. The twinkle and sparkle of lights. 4. The space between breaths. 5. Walking and waiting with you.
On this Saturday between Good Friday and Easter, the poetry prompt is to write about darkness.
Ritual for Inhabiting the Darkness
I. Stand in the doorway. Let the light stream in over your shoulders. See your shadow. Breathe into the stillness that awaits you..
II. Leave the the lighted rooms behind you. Walk forward onto the trail which your own shadow has laid out before you, until you have left the light so far behind you that it is only a memory of light.
III. Listen to the breathing of the darkness. Become a seed in the waiting soil of the dark. Feel how the darkness holds the pulsing life within you.
V. Crack open. Expand into the darkness. Send your roots down. Send your twining tendrils upward. Grow.