The gray days of winter bring a feeling of melancholy for some and of inner solitude for others. As a photographer and an observer of nature, I find that the gray provides an excellent background as colors pop out from the landscape. In pondering this idea recently, I found myself discovering that this is a lovely metaphor for life. Many of us go through life with the intention of having only “sunny days”. We are searching endlessly for ways to make our lives “happy”.
Yet, the richest lives are experienced through the contrast of “rainy days” and “sunshine”. Without the darker hours in our lives, the brighter ones would become pale and ordinary, overexposed. Think about what it is like during drought conditions. What started out as a glorious celebration of warmth turns into the starkness of excess. The excess heat, dries everything out resulting in lack. Everything contracts and holds onto even the smallest bit of moisture.
When the winter rains finally arrive, there is a sigh of relief. The dry, packed soil expands to receive the rains when they arrive. At first, the soil drinks the rain in greedily, absorbing the water into its grains. As the downpour continues, though, the ground becomes full, and ultimately, overflows.
When we experience the deepest letting go, it can be like a flood that overtakes us. At first it feels overwhelming and frightening. To fully surrender we need to open and expand, so the old patterns are washed away and gradually calm returns. Then, we can put together the pieces that are left into a new way of being.
Surrender is a valuable place to be inside oneself. This mindset comes in our darkest moments, when the skies are so densely covered we are unable to see any light. In those moments, letting go of expectation and control, true surrender allows through the rays of hope and sunshine.
When we step from the “dark into the light” the glow of such brightness can blind us making it hard to see what is next. This is the second element of surrender that many don’t recognize. The first step is to let go of the current place. The second is to step forward without knowing that there is stable footing. Each of these steps requires courage and the willingness to be in the unknown.
Nature gives us inspiration for these moments. When our eyes open we can see the brightness of the contrasting colors of fall leaves against the misty, gray winter sky. The rushing flow of the water surging between the banks is empowering to behold. We are beings of contrast, a part of the natural world; all aspects to be fully embraced in honor of our true nature.