Dark Night of the Soul
Real Life Experiences

TARA'S STORY (from Australia)

The dark night of the soul, the hero’s journey, mid-life crisis or is it the pressure cooker of a life of repressed emotions? What I can say is that 9 months after I turned 40 I entered a very dark space and have been there ever since (more than 10 months). I felt I had to write something for this site as I have poured over it with tears in my eyes many times – feeling desperate. So I wanted to write something that would be of comfort for others.

My dark night of the soul started distinctively – it was calling me- and I believe it called because things had to evolve and had to be faced up to.

 It started with a car accident that literally rolled me over. One that could have killed me and my partner but we walked out unscathed. It was a message from the universe that ‘you may think you are traveling happily along the path but life will take you to the darkness that you need to see’. A day after the accident I was interviewed for a new job which I was subsequently offered. I thought I was simplifying my life and reducing my stress. Instead I felt like I lost my professional identity and felt humiliated by the mundane job I took on. I went from a job where I was constantly communicating with people and creating meaningful events to one where I sat alone in a room looking at a screen with a completely uninspiring manger. I went into depression and my arms started developing severe painful repetitive strain (RSI). I was fearful that I could not have a future working on computers.

 It may not sound like my life was that bad – I had a job, a partner and a house but somehow I plummeted. I just couldn’t find the meaning in life anymore and I wept most days.

 I had always felt sure that I didn’t want to have children because my own life has often felt like a struggle and I think the world is going into a painful time of struggle.

Suddenly I started doubting my decision.

Mortality came sharply into focus and the feeling that the motivation to forge ahead had gone. I started to feel like life was mostly behind than ahead of me. How humans plunder the environment I worship seemed to be more than I could endure to watch. I curled up on the ground many times imploring to the divine energy that I couldn’t take it anymore. I have gone to every healer and body therapy and personal development course that I can manage.

 So everything came into question. I have been so determined not to turn to anti-depressants. I feel this is a dark night of the soul I have to get through. It is me coming into contact with the reality of life and hopefully taking me closer to becoming universal rather than so personal. I heard a quote by Carl Yung the other day ‘at the bottom of the soul is the world’. Brian Swimme says this is the time we have to ‘become the universe’ or ‘awaken to eternity’.

 What I want to say to those of you who are in a dark night of the soul is that you become somewhat familiar with it and I think this is the key to coming out of it. When you first enter you are in complete shock and this can be dangerous for your physical and mental health. After about 9 months of the initial shock I started to emerge to a space with a little more objectivity. After 10 months I am in a space where I can talk about things without crying and can go a day without crying. Also I am now in a space where I can actually do something about my employment situation. Prior to that I was in such a state it didn’t matter what I did it just wouldn’t lift and magic could not happen. The questions are still there but I am not in complete shock anymore. I have recently done a number of shamanic healing rituals and seen things from a new perspective. There have been days (few and far between but they do exist) where I have woken up feeling peaceful and reflected that everything was going to be ok. I don’t know when these days are going to come. I work so hard at finding peace but it only graces me sometimes. I have faith that my experience is going somewhere, that something is being revealed and that I am evolving deeply and rapidly along with all the other people who are sensitive. It is the sensitive people who can’t avoid the shift and the shift is not easy.

 People who are not in the dark night of the soul will tell you just need to shift your perspective. They do not understand that you are falling through a dark space and you can not necessarily control the speed. I really believe this. My mother had a dark night of the soul for over 2 years. Sometimes she could not get out of bed. One day she woke up and said ‘this is enough I just can’t do this anymore’ but prior to that she could not release herself from it. She is vibrant and joyous now. Something lifted and she had been trying to lift it for 2 years.

 I am sure you have read plenty of things suggesting that the greatest insight comes from these dark places. I would suggest that deep spirituality also comes form these dark places. Some people are just graced with it but many need a shake up to get there.

 I saw this the other day – I don’t know who wrote it

‘The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, know suffering, know struggle, know loss and have found their way out of the depths. These people have an appreciation, sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.'

Tara can be reached at socialethic@gmail.com



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