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As we enter into the darkest time of the year, we can rely on our traditions to give us sources of light. This light can range from big displays that tap into our childhood sense of wonderment to a single candle that, even in its simplicity, changes how we see our surroundings. Light doesn’t erase the darkness- it transforms and illuminates it- and there is a beauty in this coexistence.

For many of us, this season is marked not only by physical darkness, but also by the darkness of grief. Yet, in this experience, we might feel tempted to only operate in a binary- times of forced merriment separate from times of grief. But all of the feelings can coexist. Traditions can be bittersweet- grounding and a familiar path with rich memories AND a reminder of those we are missing. Moments can be full of wonderment and joy AND full of emptiness. And there can be a beauty and authenticity in noticing how we can hold all of these things together.

This season, may we show up for ourselves and our loved ones in a way that honors the totality of our experiences- the dark and the light- and may we find ourselves transformed.

Stacey Patterson, LCPC, MT-BC

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