Each year as the time of the fall equinox moves further into the past and the winter solstice
approaches, I fall into a contemplative, reflective place. After taking the time during the fall
equinox to welcome in a new intent for the coming year, I find the impending season of
darkness a sort of incubation period for the planting and germination of this intent. The
darkness brings me comfort and a desire to retreat deeply inward knowing this is the place
where the Divine resides.

This season of darkness used to ignite fear within my spirit. I held firmly to a belief that the
darkness brought isolation, loneliness, and danger. It was not a place where I felt safe. I would
simultaneously become attached to and terrified of this time of year on the medicine wheel,
falling into the fear instead of falling into the mystery. It was during this season of darkness
that I would sink into the illusion of separation which has been at the root of much angst in my
life, attaching to the lie that I am not worthy of connection with the Divine. I now understand
that it is in this season of darkness that my deepest fears and my most heartfelt desires are
intensified and illuminated. It is an opportunity to utilize this time to shine a spotlight on those
things that no longer serve me and are best allowed to fall away, allowing the love to flow in
and fill any residual areas of my heart that may have become hardened over time by my
conditioning and stories….. any nooks or crannies where love does not flow freely. It is a time
to allow the stories to fall away, to see them for what they are: history sifted through my filter
of conditioning. Entering this time of introspection, I pray for pure perception to fully harness
that spotlight of awareness that is the gift of this time of darkness.

This is not to say there is not fear. I still feel the seductive, enticing pull of the familiar. The
suffering, while uncomfortable, is like an old pair of jeans that doesn’t really flatter you
anymore and really needs to go, but you keep them because they are comfortable and almost a
part of you. And when this fear comes, I remember Gratitude. I have come to rely on Gratitude
as an antidote to suffering. Gratitude for this life. Gratitude for this breath. Gratitude for the
beauty of the earth. I open my eyes and am immersed in gratitude. Life is a beautiful mystery,
and in the depth of the darkness I choose to look out through my spiritual eyes and see the
beauty of life all around me, and I am overcome with Gratitude to the point of tears.
I have also found it is not enough to just BE grateful, but that Gratitude must be a verb.
Gratitude in action changes the world. It is expressed through random acts of kindness. Acts
of authentic, selfless charity. Divine compassion bestowed upon those that challenge us the
most. And perhaps, most importantly, divine compassion, love and grace bestowed upon

Communing with Creator, in that place of my own divinity, I am reminded that we are one
Creator and me. I am reminded that I need not seek connection with the Divine, because the
Divine is within me. I only need to get very quiet, very still, go within and really let go with complete abandon.

And that communion is nothing short of magical.

THAT is a gift I am
divinely grateful for!

In Love and Light,
Sari Fleischer