The first week of Advent: HOPE
According to the Christian Church Advent means “coming” and in this season we prepare for the coming of Christ. One of the ways we prepare for the coming is by making the Advent wreath and lighting its candles to remind us of the gifts Christ brings to the world. (source)
In my experience, however, Advent is about walking through the darkness like a tunnel and coming out at the other end at Christ-mass. This is when we celebrate our rebirth in Christ-consciousness; in the Loving through the eyes of God.
As we are going into the darkest days, I am becoming more and more aware of my inner darkness that begs for healing and light. As part of my Masters in Theology course at HOLOS University, I was asked to write some reflections on my journey thought the first semester. (You can read my essays under studies category.) As I am looking at what I have written and the topics that caught my attention the most, I am surprised to see that all of them seem to be dark, morose, unhealed, and ‘negative’. From my recollections, I can only see how the past events damaged and deformed my budding self and created a monster of revenge inside of me.
I am convinced that it is essential to become aware of and investigate what crafted my shadow-self in order to see him/her in action and to know that this person is not who I truly am. This person is the shadow of my Great-Self. This self is holding onto the past trying to get revenge for all the wrong that was done onto me. This self wants a pardon for having been robbed of her innocence too soon and way too violently.
It is only fair. But the past is the past. All that happened in the past must eventually remain in the past. Psychology uses the term trauma-repetition which refers to recreating past traumas unconsciously because the wound of what happened is not healed. Unfortunately, the unhealed past that is stuck in the present blocks the view of what is possible in the present.
During these dark days, I recall the past and I look at the aching wounds of my childhood and allow myself to see the truth. I once again see the violence, the craze, the madness, the anxiety of a child in a lunatic asylum kind of home but this time I decided not to stay there. I use these dark hours to allow the pain, sadness, depression, suicidal tendencies, the shame, the blame … to emerge repeatedly. I am observing her in action as she recreates the past to get her revenge. I look at her with compassion as she tries to convince someone to help her because she feels she cannot deal with the burden and the pressure on her own. Sadly, she is faced with the same empty looks, confusion and disbelief in response. The past does not get resolved. The past must be let go of.
During the first week of advent I am walking in the first layer of the twilight zone. But I am not alone, any more. Advent’s first week’s tool in supporting us walking our shadows is HOPE. By hoping, I remember that God, who is my friend, is walking with me carrying a torch to show the way out. Sometimes, it is really hard to see the light in the pitch dark, but I know it is there somewhere even though I may not see it at times. I focus on finding my way out. I am looking for the light with all my might. I use the tools I was given.
Here are some of my tools. My darkness is depression and suicidal tendencies. Depression is caused by repeated negative thoughts of unresolved and unhealed past events. With HOPE in my heart, I start asking these questions to remind myself of the good in my life:
• CanI find anything positive about the way I was brought up?
• What is positive about the way I live right now?
• What does this life provides me with right now?
• What is fun about my life right now? What are the things I enjoy doing?
• What is positive about the Truth of who I am beyond the layers of fear and anger?
• Is there anything I am truly grateful for?
As I am searching for the Light in the dark with hope in my heart, I remind myself of what is good in my life. I bring the Light that God offers me in His Love for me into my own life by focusing out of the eclips into HOPE.
As you are walking into the depth of darkness over the period of Advent how do you support yourself? What tools do you use during the week of HOPE to remember God’s Love for you and to see the Light at the end of the ‘tunnel’?