This time of the soul’s year is Inner Advent. Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas (November 27th) and in Christian Churches each Sunday is a preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus.
Inner Advent is a preparation for the new birth of self, a renewal of creative innocence and the arrival of compassionate wisdom during the Twelve Holy Nights.
Looking back at the year can feel daunting and confusing. Participating in Inner Advent makes the whole process clear, creative and results in a beautiful and meaningful closure for the year. Even for me, the idea of doing this on my own seems too easy to ignore. I could imagine finding the demands of the season and daily life an excuse to not do this important inner work.
Yet I know the Inner Advent process really celebrates my soul’s year and prepares my soul for the very special time of Inner Christmas and the Twelve Holy Nights. My inner life becomes richer and my relationships to all the other aspects of my life in the course of the year have more vitality and beauty.
Inner Advent is the most popular course I offer. This year I am offering a 2nd Inner Advent.
A NEW Inner Advent – Your Shadows, Sorrows and Sufferings of the Year
2009 was the first year I offered Inner Advent. The focus of the program was to recollect the thoughts that led you to find your truth, the feelings that led you to know beauty, and the deeds that brought goodness into the world. This inner work would prepare the soul for the inspiration of the Holy Nights.
Soon I realized that I wanted to have another kind of Inner Advent, one that, with reverence, objectivity, and self-compassion, guided me to recollect my shadows, my sorrows and my sufferings. By going through a four stage/Sunday Advent process of recollecting, reviewing and releasing the darker aspects of my soul, I would arrive at Christmas and the Holy Nights prepared in a very courageous and humble way.
I truly wanted to create this darker Inner Advent and offer it to those who wanted to journey into the depths of their being and find their way to the gates of confession, absolution, redemption and, ultimately, wholeness… But I always hesitated. With all the Christmas festivities and celebrations, do we really want to go into the dark, cold, lonely shadows, sorrows and sufferings we experienced over the year?
Let me offer a brief description of these three dark experiences of our soul life…
Our shadows hide the times when our thoughts, feelings or deeds were motivated by ill will, egotism, and impulsivity.
Our sorrows reveal our losses and our failures to create or sustain our ideals and principles in our work, our relationships, our well-being and our moral development.
Our sufferings tell of the times we experienced being attacked, negated, misunderstood, neglected, sabotaged by life, others, illness, and ourselves.
Well, 2016 has given all of us a very dark, challenging set of life contexts. Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods in nature. The social/political life has been filled with polarization and hatred. Terror and violence have been paralyzing and the homelessness of being alien and a refugee has broken hearts. When, if not now, should the human soul walk through the valley of shadows, sorrows and sufferings and fear no evil? When will we find the light of meaning in our souls and the warmth of equanimity in our hearts?
I have been walking through my days and nights with the question of how to shape and guide this Inner Advent process. Then a few days ago the inspiration came. It scares me and excites me. It’s like having the lantern in my hand, knowing the time has come, wondering where the path will end and what will surprise along the way, and hoping others(you) will follow.
It also feels to me that following the months, weeks and days of 2016 in the world contexts of so much darkness that the more of us as world citizens do this deeply personal work that more spiritual light will shine into the planet and all the peoples that inhabit it during the Holy Nights. Each of us will be holding open the heavy veils that have fallen in our souls and the world soul over the year.
If you want to do the work of Inner Advent this year, you have a choice: The Advent path through the light of your soul over the year or the Advent path through the dark of your soul over the year. (Or you could do both.) Either Advent path offers a profound preparation for the Holy Nights and the ongoing challenge of self-knowledge and inner development. Trust your heart to make your choice.
The original Inner Advent and the path through the light of your soul. Learn more and register here.
The new Inner Advent: Your Shadows, Sorrows and Sufferings and the path through the darkness of your soul. Learn more and register here.
Thoughts on Traditional Advent Practices
I also want to invite you to listen to my audio describing the traditional Advent practices…they are all beautiful and meaningful. I recommend this to those with young children. Just click here to register and listen. There is no cost.
Advent – A Beautiful Preparation. Listen here.
Any questions, contact me.