Since I can’t draw any better than an average two-year-old, this is the closest I’ll ever get to creating art. It reminds me of The Joy of Painting’s Bob Ross and his “happy little trees”, only these appear rather gloomy and vague; evocative of nature’s dark night of the soul.
I don’t know how my phone managed to capture this image. I attempted to get a pic of the full moon between the branches of my eucalyptus tree and ended up with what appears to be a glimpse into the portal leading toward a shadowy otherworld.
This full moon is in Leo and since Leo is ruled by the sun, our INNER LIGHT will shine brightly.
I think I’ll print and frame, I love it that much!
Is this a planetary version of the dark night of the soul?
The winter solstice marks the shortest day north of the equator and the longest day in the south. The sun is directly above the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere. This is the southernmost latitude it reaches during the year. After the solstice, it begins moving north again and the days become longer and brighter until the summer solstice in June.
For us in Southern California, the time of the solstice is 7:59 a.m. about the exact time this will be posted.
Light some candles tonight, think happy thoughts, and hope 2022 is a year of good health, love, and abundance in all forms.
A Winter Solstice Blessing
May you find peace in the promise of the solstice night, That each day forward is blessed with more light. That the cycle of nature, unbroken and true, Brings faith to your soul and well-being to you. Rejoice in the darkness, in the silence find rest, And may the days that follow be abundantly blessed.’
(Author unknown – if you know the origin, please share so I can link)
The last five years have been a collective dark night of the soul for this country as well as for many people who have endured their own somber and murky life experiences.
We were collectively ravaged by a malignant sociopathic narcissist. By all rights, in 2016 Hillary Clinton should have been our president; there’s no argument that she won three million more votes, but because of our weird system of the Electoral College process, for whatever reason it didn’t turn out that way.
Ultimately she conceded, not by inciting riots and insurrection, but in a super classy way. However, she knew. She KNEW. And so did I.
Today we’re witnessing the tortuous climb out of the depths of hell, reaching toward light out of darkness.
Do you think I’m being melodramatic?
I don’t. We’ve all witnessed an absolute decline in humanity, of empathy, of compassion, of civility, and now, the universe is setting things right.
The kaleidoscope shifted just a bit, but enough.
Part of President Biden’s inaugural speech: “Our better angels have always prevailed”
As above, so below.
Did you know that a good friend of mine recently died from Covid-19? He was only fifty-two years old and in good health. It was a mere three weeks from the first day he felt sick to the day he died in hospital in a medically induced coma on a ventilator and dialysis. I went to RiteAid for a sympathy card and noticed that all those racks were empty. There were a lot of birthday and anniversary cards, but slot after slot of folded pieces of paper designed to express our care and concern were empty. EMPTY. I went to another store and another and found the same scenario. That’s when it really hit me. There are so many deaths, now 400,000 — that we can’t keep up with the demand for condolence cards.
Witnessing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris take the oaths of office as President and Vice President will once again allow us to feel proud of being Americans. We’ll have rational humans in charge again. Thank goodness.
I regret not being able to see and hear Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Namaste and I’ll end this with the great and beautiful Lady Gaga singing The National Anthem
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub
Yeah, there’s the rub, that’s for sure.
I used to love to sleep. Sleep came so easily for me. Almost as soon as my head hit the pillow, I could count backwards 5-4-3-2-1 and be asleep. Just like that, *snapping my fingers*. I could fall asleep anywhere. I took blissful, restful sleep for granted.
Back then, my dreams were mostly of my beloved dogs and cats that had crossed the Rainbow Bridge, sometimes bringing happy messages back to me. Or every so often, I’d have a prophetic dream about my son but never really a nightmare.
Last night was a big deal for me.
April 1, 2019 marks the first night I slept an entire night without waking up once in dread, in a cold sweat, without my heart beating a million beats per second ready to jump out of my chest, without the gasp of that split second between sleep/awake and remembering that my daytime reality IS the nightmare, that there really IS hell on earth, and I am living proof.
When I first woke up this morning, it took a moment for me to perceive that it wasn’t 3am, that the earliest of early morning birds had started to sing and there was a faint hint of dawn lightening the sky.
There was no swirling of dreams that made waking up a death unto itself. A shard of glass to slice at my heart and torment me, poking at me with each inhale and exhale for the rest of the day.
There was peace. OMG, so much peace.
I had to help my brain process this miracle of healing, a painfully slow process of realization that FOR THE FIRST TIME, I had slept unfettered by the bondage of painful memories that morphed into night terrors so incredibly lucid that they haunted me during the day. Sleep was walking into a dark tunnel with not the slightest glimmer of light at the end of it. Depressing, huh?
I couldn’t endure another dream of a gigantic mottled black plague-infected rat with oozing sores climbing in my bed to curl up next to me, no more continuation of the abject panic that permeated my waking life.
No more dreams that weren’t even really dreams, simply the continuing of the day’s macabre horrors.
For more than three years, thirty-six months, 1,095 days, 26,280 hours, and 1,576,800 minutes, I couldn’t sleep, and I’d cry out to no one into the silence of the night to please wake me up from this nightmare, please take me out of my misery; only to realize that there was no respite for me.
“No sleep for you!” said the sleep Nazi (an homage to Seinfeld’s soup Nazi.)
The nightmare WAS the reality.
The dark soul of the night became the abject despair of the day.
There is the saying “follow your dreams” but if I had followed those dreams, I would have ended up in a vortex of Sartre’s No Exit.
I was in a neverending episode of the Twilight Zone, caught in a purgatory that I could never have prepared myself to endure. Drowning.
I tried everything: meditation, EFT, mantras, deep breathing exercises to control my out of control hyperventilation /tachypnea, conscious mindfulness, and lessons in neural plascticity to nurse my wounded brain. One of the best pain relievers was and is listening to raw binaural beats with headphones. Some nights, that was the only way I could even attempt sleep.
I dreaded going to sleep, the actual sleep, and the waking up from an unhappy sleep.
The simple tortuous action of closing my eyes created a canvas where I’d be subjected to an endless loop of conversations, images, mirages spanning more than twenty years.
I wished for a lobotomy, to be in a coma, to erase all that was etched in my conscious and subconscious.
Through pain and fear and sadness, I discovered that the only cure is radical acceptance. I couldn’t run away from it. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Wherever you go, there you are.
I had to stand my ground and surrender to the pain.
To love it, honor it, respect it, and learn from it.
Now. Right now. I hear a hawk, I hear a scrub jay, I hear the angry chattering of a nesting Bell’s Vireo. Off in the distance, I hear a train. I hear an airplane. I hear a symphony of wind chimes. I see blue sky, I see lush green grass that’s been lovingly tended, I feel a gentle breeze lifting a swarm of Painted Lady butterflies from the yellow marguerite daisy bushes to settle for a moment on the Pride of Madeira. All the rain we had this season birthed an incredible floral display.
Everything around me seems to be conspiring to show me that there’s still beauty after a storm, that there’s happiness to be discovered if you look and listen.
Oh and I see a bunny. Always a bunny.
My heart is wounded and scarred; I’ve been through a war zone,
I had no weapons to fight the enemy that raped and pillaged my life and my innocence. And my heart.
I’m collateral damage,
I’m eternally sad.
But I’m alive, and that’s something to be grateful for.
And…for the very first time in a long time, I slept an entire night and woke up in serenity and peace.
(But that peace wouldn’t last, as I soon learned…)
When you start hearing and reading this phrase EVERYWHERE, out of the blue, you sit up like a meerkat and take notice.
(And yes, you aren’t imagining things; I did write another post about the word forgive that showed up on my radar. Now it’s the phrase, dark night of the soul. I’ve been trying to finish writing this post for about three weeks.)
During my own personal Bataan death march of this involuntary tortuous journey of soul discovery, I dipped my toe into the maelstrom of an agonizing Weltschmerz.
Since I’m an introspective and insightful sort of person, a swirling thought began to form in my gray matter: why am I seeing these words? (I don’t have an answer yet.)
From blog posts to Deepak Chopra to random articles on the internet, there seems to be a plethora of attention fixed on the “dark night of the soul”, just exactly like I saw wetiko at every turn for a while.
What does it all mean? Wetiko…forgive…dark night of the soul… Is there a connection?
What IS the dark night of the soul?
It’s a chicken and egg sort of conundrum: Which comes first, depression or darkness?
Have YOU experienced it?
What I’ve learned is that this is so true: “Wherever you go, there you are.” You can’t run from yourself, you can’t distract the pain with anything; you’ve got to face it head on and hopefully make it through to the other side.
Are we experiencing it collectively as humankind? Or should I better refer to it humanUNkind…
“If you aren’t in the moment, you are either looking forward to uncertainty, or back to pain and regret. “—Jim Carrey
So I did a little research.
Eckhardt Tolle describes it this way:
The “dark night of the soul” is a term that goes back a long time. Yes, I have also experienced it. It is a term used to describe what one could call a collapse of a perceived meaning in life…an eruption into your life of a deep sense of meaninglessness. The inner state in some cases is very close to what is conventionally called depression. Nothing makes sense anymore, there’s no purpose to anything. Sometimes it’s triggered by some external event, some disaster perhaps, on an external level. The death of someone close to you could trigger it, especially premature death, for example if your child dies. Or you had built up your life, and given it meaning – and the meaning that you had given your life, your activities, your achievements, where you are going, what is considered important, and the meaning that you had given your life for some reason collapses.
It can happen if something happens that you can’t explain away anymore, some disaster which seems to invalidate the meaning that your life had before. Really what has collapsed then is the whole conceptual framework for your life, the meaning that your mind had given it. So that results in a dark place. But people have gone into that, and then there is the possibility that you emerge out of that into a transformed state of consciousness. Life has meaning again, but it’s no longer a conceptual meaning that you can necessarily explain. Quite often it’s from there that people awaken out of their conceptual sense of reality, which has collapsed.
They awaken into something deeper, which is no longer based on concepts in your mind. A deeper sense of purpose or connectedness with a greater life that is not dependent on explanations or anything conceptual any longer. It’s a kind of re-birth. The dark night of the soul is a kind of death that you die. What dies is the egoic sense of self. Of course, death is always painful, but nothing real has actually died there – only an illusory identity. Now it is probably the case that some people who’ve gone through this transformation realized that they had to go through that, in order to bring about a spiritual awakening. Often it is part of the awakening process, the death of the old self and the birth of the true self.
The dark night of the soul occurs when you confront your innermost fears and feel them completely and deeply. These are fears that you’ve had, but which you previously kept from conscious awareness by staying busy, using intoxicants, or willing yourself not to think about them.
In a cycle of irony, when we hide our fears from conscious awareness, it’s because we are afraid of our own fears. Yet, when we face the fears, we can see how illogical and powerless they are. That’s when we are no longer ruled or controlled by unconscious fears. It’s true freedom!
For most people, this process involves confronting issues of life and death, the meaning of your life, and whether life is worth living. The dark night of the soul is similar to the initiations that ancient Egyptian candidates for high priest- and priestesshood would endure.
In that culture, you’d be enclosed in a sarcophagus, which is like a coffin, for several days. In that enclosed environment, with no light and just enough air not to suffocate, your mind would terrify you as your fears came alive as very realistic hallucinations.
At the end of two or three days, when the sarcophagus was opened up, if you were still alive, you passed the initiation. Some people actually died from fear, even though it was just in their minds. This shows how terrifying our thoughts can be if we were to really confront them head-on.
In a dark night of the soul, you feel totally alone in the world, completely misunderstood, as if you don’t fit in anywhere. You feel like your life doesn’t matter, so what’s the use of carrying on? It’s painful!
Like the ancient Egyptian initiation, the dark night of the soul puts you in a position of life or death. Some people don’t survive, because they decide life isn’t worth living, and unfortunately, they tragically take their own lives. For some, this suicide takes a slower pace, with the person using toxic addictions to gradually kill themselves.
But if you can stay with the emotions, including the very painful ones, the dark night of the soul can actually lift your whole life to a higher and clearer level.
Nobody wishes for a dark night of the soul, and it’s not something that you can create artificially. Basically, it just happens when you least expect it, usually because something has triggered a deep and dark emotional place inside of you.
Dark nights of the soul, like every part of life, serve a healing and useful function. The dark night of the soul is a mirror that you hold up to yourself so that you can see the contents of your ego’s fears. A lot of the painful emotions you’re experiencing are connected to situations that happened in your childhood. Present-day situations are triggering painful memories.
Don’t numb your pain or run away from your emotions. They’re your teachers! Just keep asking your painful feelings, “What are you here to teach me?”
Ultimately, it will boil down to this: forgiving yourself and everyone who has ever hurt you is the only way to escape the pain. You don’t need to forgive their actions. You definitely should still stand up for yourself and be truthful about your feelings. And you don’t want to stand for any form of abuse. But forgiveness is essential as the ultimate detox. Let go of the past in all directions of time and finally be free.
From Kosmos Journal for Global Transformation:
Anyone may go through a period of sadness or challenge that is so deep-seated and tenacious that it qualifies as a dark night of the soul. Not long ago I was giving a talk at a university when a man shouted at me from back in the crowd: “I’m terribly depressed. It’s been years. Help me.” I shouted back my email address. In his voice and body language I could see that this man was not caught in some passing depression. His life was broken by some loss, failure, or long-forgotten emotional wound that left him in a desperately dark place.
I reserve the expression ‘dark night of the soul’ for a dark mood that is truly life-shaking and touches the foundations of experience, the soul itself. But sometimes a seemingly insignificant event can give rise to a dark night: You may miss a train and not attend a reunion that meant much to you. Often a dark night has a strong symbolic quality in that it points to a deeper level of emotion and perhaps a deeper memory that gives it extra meaning. With dark nights you always have to be alert for the invisible memories, narratives, and concerns that may not be apparent on the surface.
Faced with a dark night, many people treat it like an illness, like depression. They may take medication or go into counseling looking for a cause. It can be useful to search for the roots of a dark night, but in my experience the best way to deal with it is to find the concrete action or decision that it is asking for.
And from Dr. Deepak Chopra:
Have you experienced this? Do you think it’s severe depression, mental illness, or is a dark night of the soul a rite of passage to happiness, peace, and harmony?