Navigating the dark night of the soul…hmmmm. Okay so I was going to write a great blog about marketing ideas for Christmas and the New Year but frankly for me right now that would be a bit like sitting here with a cheesy, Wallace and Gromit like, tooth bearing fake grin. So let’s talk about something a little more raw and really dig in. It seems many of my clients are going through the dark night of the soul at the moment, and frankly so am I. So what is a dark night of the soul, how can you navigate it without going crazy and what gifts can you extract from the journey to ease your path in the future?
Why Did It Arise?
A dark night of the soul arises when you are at a huge threshold in your life. Rather than unconsciously walking through, the dark night of the soul grabs you by the arm, forces you to stop, and throws the full beam of awareness on your life. It may be about what you are doing, how you are behaving, the choices you are making, the relationships you are cultivating, ignoring your authentic purpose, self-sabotage, mistrust, fear of change or any number of other things. It is usually about one whopper of a repetitive pattern that it is urgent you examine, acknowledge, heal and release.
How Do I Stop It?
Unfortunately there is only one way out and that is through! It can make you feel uncomfortable, scared, tearful, angry, upset, resentful, confronted and plain crazy, but if you don’t get right down to what it’s all about, you’re going to have to circle back through again from the beginning. And you don’t want to have to do that…no you do not…because that baggage will be even heavier next time around. This is about spiritual maturity, cleansing your stuff for your soul and for the universe at large. We can blame the US election, the super moon, the sun and the stars, but when you get right down to it this is about our own stuff, and whether we’ll take responsibility for it and clean it up, or let ourselves and others bear the burden of what we don’t want to look at. The more open and honest you are with yourself, the more courageous you are in the search for the messages contained within the experience, the more willing you are to take responsibility and make changes, the less arduous the journey will be. Remember not to take on any new jobs, plan or make any decisions while you’re in the middle of the dark night, as your work is going to be totally different on the other side of it. This can be a bit of a reflex resistance to sitting in the experience and learning the lessons here too.
How Do I Learn from It?
This is a blessing. I know it doesn’t feel like it but it is a message from the universe saying we love you so dearly, what are you doing to yourself? Deep down you know what brought this about. Is it about your self worth, surrogating or rescuing others, not having enough down time, the work you really, really want to do, the way you are working, or the denial of your dreams? For me I know it is a pattern of driving myself way to hard to help others whilst depleting my own vital energy in the process. Saying yes to things that cost me time, money and energy when the answer should be no. So I ignored the first few nudges, prods and pokes. Just this one last rescue job…and boom, I’m in the deep dark woods! My choice. So dig in, be honest, see where these patterns started, where they have been repeated and how they can be avoided in the future. Be sure to take a big, broad deep look at it before you try to fix it. Take in the whole picture. Leave no stone unturned. Call in your angels, spirit guides, animal familiars, God, Goddess, Archangel Michael or whoever sees you though. You’ll need the big guns here. Get a local skilled practitioner to help you. I’d opt for someone very grounded with good experience. You are not alone so reach out and get the help you need. Once you know what it’s all about it’s choice time. Can you commit to releasing this old pattern in favour of something totally new? It’s a great idea to have a list of your classic saboteurs on hand so you can refer to them before you make any future decisions.
How Do I Care For Myself Through It?
Give yourself the time and space you need to heal. Nurture yourself, love yourself and be gentle. Get out in nature, eat nourishing food, have a massage, do some Yin Yoga, take a bath, use essential oils, rest, meditate, breathe deep, walk by the sea, or spend a day on the couch watching Miss Marples. I wouldn’t recommend a dynamic hot yoga class when your lesson is about exhaustion and the need for rest! Thank you ego. While you do the work of sorting through, you’ll need to put self care at an all time high.
Do I Have to Have A Dark Night of The Soul?
There are passages on the spiritual journey that require an initiation of sorts, a journey to the underworld if you like. However I am a huge believer that with a strong meditation practice and a commitment to be living spirit, you can greatly reduce the dark night of the soul. It is there to awaken us to what we are not listening to; not to be cruel or torture us. The trouble is that our pesky ego lures us from the meditation cushion and deep spirit; whispering stories, untruths, distractions and justifications and we fall for it every time. So the simple equation is more deep listening and following our spirit means less dark nights of the soul. More responding the first time, paying attention to signs, exploring nudges, opening space for dreams, means less time in the woods. So as well as your regular daily practice, make a regular time to sit down each month, before any new project, course or job offer and really feel it in your body and soul. Is it ego triggered or spirit triggered. Create space for yourself to be more conscious and less automated in your decisions. The ego is not going to like the dark night at all, and will want to sabotage the process so the least you can do is have a sense of humour about it.
The dark night of the soul is the last station before things can get really ugly like chronic fatigue, illness, relationship breakdowns, throwing all your dreams to the four winds or depression. So be bloody grateful for the impasse when the train pulls into the dark night station. Ideally you would have got off and made changes at one of the last junctions, but since you’re here take it seriously. Dig in, explore the terrain, be gentle with yourself but honest to the bone. Trust in your strength and have faith. Not only will you return to the light, but there will be a huge cleansing, clearing and shifting of your burden. You will be shown a whole new way, experience and possibility. One that lights your world and shifts your thinking. One that brings great joy, love and illumination. One that is above all easier and simpler, and that nourishes, feeds and sustains you in the process.
Oh and if you need some extra love, encouragement and support you can grab a copy of Spirit in Business. You can rest assured I worked myself to the bone to get it out to you! Think of the purchase as less a reward for my bad habits, and more an expression of gratitude for my devotion…