As we emerge from the ‘dark season’ in the northern hemisphere, I’ve been contemplating ‘dark nights of the soul’ in general and my own experiences in particular.
Around the time of the lunar eclipse on 11 February, I thought I might be heading into one. A sudden loss of direction was accompanied by an unwelcome sense of futility. A void beckoned… I wanted to disappear and do nothing.
The desire to disappear was accompanied by fantasies of tropical beaches. With fantasies like this we must ask ourselves whether the tropical beach (or other holiday) is really what is needed or whether it would be a-void-dance.
I knew the timing wasn’t right for a holiday. But, I did need to stop and take stock. I was losing sight of what was most important to me.
I also knew that the best way to deal with any state is to turn into it and experience it fully. Re-connection to soulful work and callings happen when we accept and engage with our experience, even when neither convenient nor desired.
Surrendering to a Celestial STOP
As I see it, a ‘dark night’ is an encounter with a celestial STOP sign. It’s an invitation to deepen into who and what you truly are. It’s a demand for integrity. Outcomes almost always include greater humility and awe for the life forces that are greater than the mind, which has a tendency to attach to specific outcomes.
From my experience with ‘dark nights of the soul’, I know that resistance can be a feature at the beginning. And indulgence can feature towards the end.
I felt the resistance to a call to STOP and reconsider in February. It was an interruption to my plan. ( BTW, eclipses can have this ‘stopping’ effect. What is no longer working for you gets ‘eclipsed’.)
But, I have learned to trust my ‘inner daimon’ or guiding force.
After a couple of weeks of ‘waiting’, I was back in touch with my calling. I recovered my ability to be discriminating with regard to both inner and outer imperatives to get things done.
Waiting is under rated. So often we are encouraged to worship the gods of action and outer achievement.
‘Dark nights of the soul’, whether short or long, are invitations to re-calibrate. They are opportunities to listen and get so close to your own truth that you cannot betray it.
The art of engaging with a ‘dark night’ includes learning how to surrender into it and how, and when, to rise like a phoenix from the ashes.
Rising like a Phoenix
It can be just as scary to act on the fruits of our realisations during a ‘dark night’ as it is to surrender into the experience in the first place.
Certainly, there was a part of me that wanted to prolong my short visit to this realm in February. But, there was a stronger imperative to be of service and remain visible.
Are you either resisting a ‘dark night of the soul’ or wallowing in it? Are you honouring your soul’s calling? Do you need to wait for something new to emerge? Or, is it time to answer a call to be of service? Are you sabotaging yourself by trying to operate counter to your ‘inner daimon’? How can I help?
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p.s. Another recent blog you may enjoy is Inner Peace for Busy People.
Cathy Rowan is an experienced coach who helps purpose driven men and women to align with their soul’s calling and step up to a new level of personal power.