How to walk through a period of darkness coming out relatively intact and full of wisdom.
Recently I watched spiritual mentors talk about their experience with the dark night of the soul – or is it dark knight of the soul? Why not? Those dark periods we experience sometimes resemble the visit of a dark knight in our soul.
They said they had to retreat and hide away from everything and everybody. This was what they needed as they unfolded the layers and cleared the darkness they were experiencing. They stayed absent from society for eighteen months as they unravelled and transformed. They simply quit their routines, relationships, and their life as it was at the moment.
I couldn’t help but feel very passionate about this. Actually I felt hot-under-the-collar passionate!
Hiding out or journeying through the dark night of the soul?
Ok, they had their experience. And they were sharing it as it was. It’s not their choices that got me thinking, but the narrative behind them. Their experience, or at least the way they shared it, was like reading a romantic story, almost as fiction. Romanticizing the notion of running away to feel well and transformed is not what I teach at all. It is very much unrealistic, not to say almost impossible, for most of us. Quite the opposite, these romantic hideaways are not what positive leadership looks like in my book.
I am sick of those that advocate opting out of societal and familial norms. It’s not normal nor sustainable! Many of us have responsibilities and roles in our homes that need to be fulfilled. We support others and are supported as wives, mothers, daughters, sisters & friends.
It is not an option for many to opt-out of their lives. Not only because of their obligations, but because of many other limitations as well. Such as work, financial situation, or even health issues. I’m not even sure that hiding from everything and everyone to heal is even the right path.
Sure… Occasional, short-term pauses from the norm are healthy, energizing, and lead to regeneration. Taking a pause can heal a lot. But to advocate a longer stint of the pause is definitely not the norm. Especially, when it implies running away the moment you lose your clarity. These sorts of teachings make those who don’t have that option feel like they are not doing their best. Or even worse… Making them feel like they are doing something wrong.
Experiencing a moment of darkness in our lives is something that happens to all of us. There are other options to go through this process that don’t imply cloistering yourself in a cave, literally or figuratively speaking.
Here are some of those options:
- Hiring a spiritual mentor.
- Getting the support from a community that shares your values.
- Joining a circle where like attracts like – when you see others going through the same processes you are experiencing.
You are never alone, and you don’t have to do this on your own.
I wish I had had a spiritual mentor and a circle community when I met my dark night of the soul. Getting the support from people going through the same things I was going through would’ve shifted things for me.
I would’ve loved to have someone to be curious with, to support me, to help me look on the inside and tap into my inner wisdom. Back then I was looking to be “fixed”; as I thought I was a little off-centered.
I wish I had found a mentor who cleared my past lives, healed my familial narratives that caused opposition, and internal conflict. Someone who could clear the societal narratives that filled me with “shoulds”, comparisonitis, imposter syndrome, and overthinking as the norm. A healer to create awareness of the core wounds, shame, betrayal, and abandonment, healing my inner child distortions.
There’s so much more I could’ve done with the help of a mentor and a community . . .
I now know that the framework around the soul work I was called to do was too narrow. As a result, I felt restricted and shackled, which led to the dark night of the soul I experienced.
Now that I have the language to understand and process my experiences, I thrive and feel free.
Anyone who perpetuates running away is not doing you a favour. What’s the credit on just putting your life on pause instead of developing the tools to cope with it?
Reclaiming all parts of you is a journey that requires subtle moments of success. It requires accumulating experiences, and gathering evidence of your power so you can feel normal and like yourself again.
What started with a poke ended in discernment and curiosity about what the real rite of passage is.
I’ve been doing this healing work for a long time. I’ve come to belive it’s different for everyone. But what isn’t different is that everyone needs support. That’s when you finally start to thrive. How about you? Have you experienced a dark night of the soul?