These past nine months have inflicted brutal losses throughout our world. For some of you, loss has pierced your lives, upended your homes and businesses, taken from you people and communities whom you love. Loss has opened raw ground under your feet.

All of us have been called to a deep excavation of what’s truly essential to us, individually and collectively. We are discovering what, in truth, hardly matters, what is utterly unsustainable and must be unraveled if we are to survive as a species, if our beloved Earth is to renew its own life.

We have been, collectively, in deep night, through which stars glimmer pinholes of light, some faint and far away, some jewel-bright, close enough to pulse in our bodies, in our cells.

These last couple of months, I’ve craved, with increasing urgency — with a desire that’s more like the need for air and breath — simplicity, quiet, spaciousness, tenderness. Softness. Beauty; both the stark beauty of the winter world, and the beauty of art, music, poetry, the fruits of presence.

Space to breathe, to be.

To walk through wintry woods and spongy soil. To absorb beauty and celebrate it as the source of illumination.

To face the essential questions that arise in my heart now, and give them room to breathe too, without pressing for answers. Trusting that revelation will follow rest.

As the year nears completion, I haven’t had much capacity for sustained thought, though my capacity for sustained feeling has grown exquisitely tender. So much of what once called me, I cannot bear to consider, for now.

Yes, feelings are fluid; they respond to the changing shape of the terrain through which they travel. I don’t hold onto them, or to much of anything at the moment; just follow as they move through, sometimes heavy as a platoon on the march, other times all rush and flow, a river, a thin, silver stream.

Today and for the rest of December, I’ve let go of the need to plan, to do, to make. I read, because that’s what I always do, because books wrap me in their worlds and open and change me in the deepest way. I write, because writing is how I make sense of all that looms and swirls through this sometimes-foggy night. I walk and walk, in my neighbourhood, by the sea, through woodland trails, grateful for the everyday miracle that is this world. And I practice playing the piano, which makes music despite my fumbling fingers.

Just to be is enough, to meet this day, this hour, this moment with the hand of grace steadily cradling my heart.

So, this month, I offer myself the mercy of not-doing, the mercy of being, grateful for the profound privilege of rest.

My wish for you is that you find your own way to embrace what you most desire; to receive the wisdom of this fecund dark; to move with the currents that are moving in you, whatever they may be and wherever they may lead.

Trust is key to this process — and trust is built on experience. Remind yourself of your own rhythms. How each moment fully embraced yields to the next, and beyond. In times of great uncertainty, we can still be the candle that illuminates the next step. We don’t need to know the entirety of the road ahead, because we know we have within ourselves, and within the love that connects us, the courage and strength, creativity and imagination to meet it with grace.

Creative flow will return. Discernment, clarity, necessary warriorship will return. These are not things we need to chase after; they are in us and will take their place in the forefront of our lives when we’re ready to move into the active forms of creation.

For now, I am surrendering to the truth of what is, while what will be wends its way homeward.

Here, in the Northern hemisphere, we are nearing the turning of the year, when the longest night brings a lightening dawn.

May peace fill your heart. May joy return on a running tide. May the wisdom of your body ring you, a sweet-voiced bell, into the new year.