Dark Night of the Soul

If ever there was a more apt title for this period of time, it’s this one. I didn’t really know what these words referred to before I began wondering about the uncomfortable days we’re going through now, days that make me fear for my well-being and the well-being of my soul.

What is the dark night of the soul?

As described by Joshua Press (@theApeironblog.com), the dark night of the soul is “a stage in personal development when a person undergoes a difficult and significant transition to a deeper perception of life and their place in it. This enhanced awareness is accompanied by a painful shedding of previous conceptual frameworks such as an identity, relationship, career, habit or belief system that previously allowed them to construct meaning in their life.” The shedding allows for our framework to be filled with a better version of ourselves – a more enlightened version.

Our entire world is experiencing a massive dark night of the soul.

What’s it to me and to you?

Everything feels shook. It’s as if a massive fissure has cracked us wide open – leaving us feeling vulnerable and unsure what to do or how to do it.

These last six months I have felt the dark night of the soul enveloping my well-being. And I’m sure I’m not alone. The world I know is gone, not just for the weekend because I overate or made a mistake or spoke poorly of someone or something or did something stupid that I regret. It’s gone for good because the pile of issues we as a nation need to face head-on is stacked too high. It all feels too insurmountable.

If I’m being honest, I have to admit to being worried. Are we up to the task before us? Am I, in these final years, able to tackle what I need to in order to change with the rest of the world?

There’s no going back. We can’t ignore inequities – can’t continue not caring for ourselves, others, and our planet home. We can’t go on calling ourselves free, democratic, and compassionate while continuing to behave so abhorrently. We can’t elect representatives who perpetuate cruel and destructible actions that go against the principles and practices we say we claim to hold high.

What can we do?

It’s time to acknowledge the power of the dark night of the soul and get on with making changes where we can! Are we going to complain about the way the world is or are we going to do something about it? We’re not going to get multiple chances to quell the crisis and do better.

It won’t be comfortable, and it won’t be easy. No list exists of the hundred things you can do to be a part of all that lies ahead, but I can come up with one:  be open.  If we decide to stick with all the transitions and changes taking place now on behalf of people who have been undermined for centuries, the best thing we can do is be open. Not just the state of being open but the actions behind being open:  listen, don’t complain, work at your own pace, don’t judge the journeys of others, and be true to yourself.

And don’t forget that compromise is your friend and a powerful tool to making changes and transitions come about.

What comes after the dark night of the soul? Hopefully, the brightness of a new day.