October: Herald of Dark Nights

Happy Thanksgiving from Pacific Post Partum Support Society! Today a PPPSS staff member shares her love for Autumn and the healing promised by longer nights. Georgie articulates the deep meaning she finds in the literal and metaphorical turning of the seasons. She tells a story of the seasons that exist in parenthood, and in our constantly shifting lives in general. As we move deeper into Fall, Georgie looks at what it means to exist, with ease and without resistance, in the darkness.

Article by Georgie Hutchinson

I heard on the radio recently that Autumn is a favourite season for many people.   I wholeheartedly join in with the sentiment!  I celebrate Thanksgiving, my birthday, and Halloween all in the one month of October.  It’s impossible not to love those golden, shimmering moments that seem to quiver, suspended in time, before they fly, making way for the wetter, colder, darker days ahead.

We move through the Fall towards Winter–and the circle of the seasons offers unique gifts each time around.

There was a period in my life, as I became a mother to my three children,  when the celebration of Autumn was tinged more with fear  than with  an eager anticipation of the darkness to come.  At that time I was resisting the natural order of things.  Those days with my babies brought out the best and the worst in me.  The deep love and connection I felt for my children went hand in hand with a debilitating “not good enough” attitude.  Instead of discovering the gifts that can be found in the quiet of the dark season I mined a store of  unhelpful thinking  that kept me in a place of resistance instead of  acceptance and gratitude.  Those unhelpful thoughts locked me into a cycle of shame and guilt that prevented me from fully embracing my life.

When did the shift happen where I could accept that the ambiguity of motherhood was a gift in itself?  When did I  recognize the  gift of motherhood made up of light and dark- two sides making a whole?  I wish I could say it happened as an epiphany , as a sudden realization and POOF! I got it.  But it was a gradual process and a circular one- just like the shift of the seasons.  Learning and exploring the duality of myself, of my being made up  of light and dark, led me to the nourishing opportunity to  discover an ease and joy in my life that light up even the darkest nights.

When it comes to my learning style it takes more than  one lesson to leave  an imprint .  I may be a slow learner but I do learn.  The funny thing is that I also forget again.  That is why I now recognize that  the circular motion of the seasons, both literal and figurative,  is good for me.  I will constantly have the opportunity to learn again.

My shifts in anticipating the deep dark rich moments of the Winter to come happened when I allowed myself (with compassion) to fall on my knees; to turn to my family and friends for reassurance; to soften with rest and good food and to walk the steps that move me whether in the light or the dark.

Now I can embrace the thought of the darkness as with it will come the treasures that can happen when we slow down and just spend time with ourselves.

So – here is to October, the time that heralds the gifts of the darker quieter winter to come and the reminder that the light returns.