Blessing For The Longest Night

Jan Richardson

listen_btn

Image of the Week

All throughout these months
as the shadows
have lengthened,
this blessing has been
gathering itself,
making ready,
preparing for
this night.

It has practiced
walking in the dark,
traveling with
its eyes closed,
feeling its way
by memory
by touch
by the pull of the moon
even as it wanes.

So believe me
when I tell you
this blessing will
reach you
even if you
have not light enough
to read it;
it will find you
even though you cannot
see it coming.

You will know
the moment of its
arriving
by your release
of the breath
you have held
so long;
a loosening
of the clenching
in your hands,
of the clutch
around your heart;
a thinning
of the darkness
that had drawn itself
around you.

This blessing
does not mean
to take the night away
but it knows
its hidden roads,
knows the resting spots
along the path,
knows what it means
to travel
in the company
of a friend.

So when
this blessing comes,
take its hand.
Get up.
Set out on the road
you cannot see.

This is the night
when you can trust
that any direction
you go,
you will be walking
toward the dawn.

by Jan Richardson, sourced from here.

Seed questions for reflection: What does it mean to know the arrival of a blessing by your release of the breath you have held so long? Can you share a personal story of a time you have felt such a blessing? What helps you trust the blessing when it comes and set out on the road you cannot see?

Add Your Reflection:

18 Previous Reflections:

  • link
    On Apr 29, 2021 Barbara wrote:
    Beautiful, Blessings abound when one is awake to the gift of Nature.... Loving Life......Gratitude.....Leaning into the Light.

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On Apr 29, 2021 Nikita wrote:
    I feel subtle yet powerful :) Thank you for this.

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On Apr 28, 2021 Peter N Stone wrote:
    Beautful..........

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On Apr 27, 2021 Amy wrote:
    AMEN! I am walking toward the dawn! Amen.

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On Apr 27, 2021 Robin wrote:
    The poem and the prompts help me remember and connect with that feeling and fact and that is bountiful plentitude in itself.
    The feeling is normally when I sit in meditation/prayer in front of a candle flame, in the dark. It is like a dark release in the heart. A weight that sinks deeper inside me. An openness in the darkness. Perhaps the simplest word is Peace. And Arrival. Arrival of a blessing into my heart.

    I trust the sensation becuase it is the best feeling ever. And so if I'm going to trust something to follow, I choose that.

    2 replies: Me, Me | Post Your Reply
  • link
    On Apr 27, 2021 Vinay Pandey wrote:
    Gratefully acknowledge the blessings for the longest night by Jan Richardson. Simple in thought, lyrical in poetry, holding a promise of a better tomorrow.

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On Apr 27, 2021 Patrick wrote:
    To breathe the breath of God first requires an emptying that we may draw in slowly and deeply to fill the space that is left. }:- a.m.

    1 reply: Patrick | Post Your Reply
  • link
    On Apr 27, 2021 Deborah wrote:
    Breathtaking! Thank you.

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On Apr 27, 2021 Anilkumar Pandit wrote:
    What's the best way to take the next step not being clear was resulting in procrastinations galore. Following meditation post'Shavaasan' getting a new solution and a clear way forward, was a wonderful blessing itself.

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On Apr 27, 2021 Sandy Weiner wrote:
    thankyou, Jan! so much these days I feel the fear of the light. How in theworld did this happen? The fear to go forward for all is see is darkness. The darkness is turning into gray before me, a form of mist. It is not heavy. yet, I cannot see beyond it. Still, I see myself moving through it into the unknown somehow. I don't know where I will go or what I will do. I know that through the mist and onward I will will be nurturing nature-- whatever nature my light reaches. My nature as well.
    I wonder what the world will look like when the mist disappears? Where will I be? Who will be with me? What will the sound of our laughter be like? ... the feeling of a warm embrace on meeting, parting, for no reason at all... without thought? I am ready. My heart is ready.

    1 reply: Do | Post Your Reply
  • link
    On Apr 25, 2021 David Doane wrote:
    A blessing is a gift. Living is a gift. Living is a blessing. Holding your breath is holding or hindering your living. Release of a breath you have held so long is a return to naturally breathing and living unhindered, which is the arrival of a blessing. When I am intensely involved in some activity, I notice that I sometimes tense and hold my breath, and when I release my breath, I release and breathe and begin to relax and return to the natural flow of me living. The release is relieving and reliving. What helps me is awareness, letting go of holding myself back and in, and allowing my breathing, my body and my self to functionwithout my interference.

    1 reply: Breathe | Post Your Reply
  • link
    On Apr 23, 2021 Jagdish P Dave wrote:
    It is very tempting to hold on to whatis familiar though it may cause pain in our hands. Fear of the unfamiliar and the unknownkeeps us in the dark zone. In this beautiful poem Jan Richardson describes the blessings of passing through the longest night for awakening to see the light within. I have gone through this process of awakening by releasing the fear of traveling on the unfamiliarroad. Awakening from the comfortable but growth blocking sleep has not been always easy for me. My daily practice of meditation has helped me free myself from the clutches of fear of uncertainty. Darkness fades away as I am walking toward the dawn of awakening. What a blessing! I have been blessed to experience such inner light in the darkest hours of my life. It happened to me in 1959 when I came from India to America. I had never been out of my country for 34 years. There was excitement mixed with fear. I did not know anybody when I landed in Chicago, a foreign country, a new country, a strange countr... [View Full Comment] It is very tempting to hold on to whatis familiar though it may cause pain in our hands. Fear of the unfamiliar and the unknownkeeps us in the dark zone. In this beautiful poem Jan Richardson describes the blessings of passing through the longest night for awakening to see the light within. I have gone through this process of awakening by releasing the fear of traveling on the unfamiliarroad. Awakening from the comfortable but growth blocking sleep has not been always easy for me. My daily practice of meditation has helped me free myself from the clutches of fear of uncertainty. Darkness fades away as I am walking toward the dawn of awakening. What a blessing!
    I have been blessed to experience such inner light in the darkest hours of my life. It happened to me in 1959 when I came from India to America. I had never been out of my country for 34 years. There was excitement mixed with fear. I did not know anybody when I landed in Chicago, a foreign country, a new country, a strange country. My keen desire for learning new things was the light thathelped me go through the difficult times. And such inner light has been guiding me in my journey of life.
    As I was growing up in India I was blessed to see my father taking a stand against injustice done to women as well as to "untouchables". I saw Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Vinoba Bhaveand many other courageous leaders fighting for freedom from the unjust British rule of India. Daily practice of meditation has been very helpful to me for guiding me on the right path. I am grateful for receiving suchblessings.
    Namaste!
    Jagdish P Dave'



    [Hide Full Comment]

    1 reply: Me | Post Your Reply

Search Awakin Readings

Or search by year, author, or category.

Subscribe to Weekly Email

Every week, we send out a digest with a reading and inspiring stories to our global community of 93,417 people. Subscribe below.

(unsubscribe)

Contact Us

If you'd like to suggest a thought or want to drop us a suggestion, drop us a note.