Between darkness and light

At first, we are children of the darkness. Your body and your face were formed first in the kind darkness of your mother’s womb. You lived the first nine months in there. Your birth was the first journey from darkness into light. All your life, your mind lives within the darkness of your body. Every thought you have is a flint moment, a spark of light from your inner darkness. The miracle of thought is its presence in the night side of your soul; the brilliance of thought is born of darkness. Each day is a journey. We come out of the night into the day. All creativity awakens at this primal threshold where light and darkness test and bless each other. You only discover the balance in your life when you learn to trust the flow of this ancient rhythm

John O’Donohue

The smallest bit of beauty

Nature teaches us that the moment when darkness is greatest is also the moment that light is about to return.

[In Iran] On the winter solstice families gather for a feast and surround themselves with candles, eat pomegranates and nuts, and recite poetry. “It is a beautiful way of assuring you that you have lived through long nights before. It is precisely at the point that the night is longest and darkest that you’ve actually turned a corner.”

Medieval Persian writings suggested that if one could not afford a feast, it is enough to bring a flower, “Look for the smallest bit of beauty around you. That very much resonates today, at a time where it seems like the mega-systems are all broken or falling apart, to return your gaze to the small.”

Omid Safi, professor of Iranian studies at Duke University, describing the 2,500 year old Iranian winter tradition of Yalda in the New York Times