Sometimes, a year feels like a lifetime. Each passing moment somehow assumes its own solitary existence, its own urgency. 2019 was a year that felt particularly urgent. When I reflect, I find myself staring in the face of what feels like two different lifetimes in the space of a single year.
The first half of the year: January to August, felt like an endless span of waiting for the light to break through, until it did. Summer was kind. It was late to Philadelphia, as it has been for a while since the world has gotten increasingly warmer.
I light a candle, and pray for its return.
Then came September and all of its wind, simultaneously breathing anew and siphoning the color from the air. Anyone from the city or who’s lived here a while knows that winter here comes long before the solstice — that it starts to creep its way back in long before time is turned back. And so does its drain.
This is the place from which I write.
Winter is a time for rest, a time to sow the seeds of our futures based on what we’ve harvested in the past. As winter takes its toll on the body, mind, emotion, and spirit, I consider the things this year has given me. I write, dream, love from a place of lack, absent of summer-time abundance.
In (pan)African traditional, there exists no concept of opposites. This means, that nothing can be inherently good or bad — that there is only progress and regression, and the two cannot exist without each other. They are complements.
Among the many gifts this year gave me were pain (to call attention to a problem), discomfort (to challenge my fear and idleness), and emptiness (to provide space for new blessings to fill). This has been my regression.
Wintertime and periods of regression are soul sisters. With common ground, they both give us the gifts of reflection and sight, which we may use to identify those things in our lives that are working, as well as those that are not. If we honor our feelings, they offer us the clarity we need to learn from the past and set intentions for the future.
Pay attention to the darkness and chill, which draw you inward.
Inside, you’ll find the answers you need to take on this new year, this new decade, this lifetime. When the quiet comes, ask yourself: What has this year gifted me? What has been my progress? My regression? How have they both conspired to guide me into my future? What will I do?
All that you need rests there.