The phrase “the dark night of the soul” comes from the work of Spanish poet and mystic St. John of the Cross. Eckhart Tolle describes it as “ a collapse of a perceived meaning in life… an eruption into your life of a deep sense of meaninglessness.” Sometimes a person goes through a period similar to depression but the difference is “the dark night” is a transformation on a Divine level. It is almost as if your soul was going through an iOS update. The time frame fluctuates, it could last days, months, even years. At the end of it, similar to a Phoenix rising from ashes (ironically how an astrologist described me in our reading) there is a new version. I have been to this place before.
March 31, 2019 was the beginning of a new cycle for me. A cycle of speaking my truth, allowing myself to step into the light and free myself from the chain that held me hostage in my mind. My therapist had me envision this journey as cutting my way through a thick, dark jungle. My machete in hand as I courageously forged a path. When I got to the other side, behind me was an army of survivors and supporters.
Telling my story was only part of the healing, the other part was hearing the courage of others speak up too, becoming confident, and watching everyone uplift each other. For years I wondered if I deserved to live, if my existence mattered, was it all worth it making it to my late teens, and if I am a good person. But, what I have come to learn and accept is that there needs to be a patient zero.
Sometimes our souls take on a contract to help others reach the high vibrational levels. In Mahayana Buddhism these people are called Bodhisattva, a soul who helps others reach enlightenment rather than being concerned with reaching it themselves. These souls stay in the cycle of samsara known as the cycle of life, death, and rebirth to help others.
No one tells you when you allow trauma to come to the surface it brings with it the consciousness of the feelings and flashbacks. But then again, I have learned from reading “The Body Keeps Score” and experiencing the healing first hand, that trauma is stored within our bodies. It manifests as defense mechanisms, physical pain and digestive issues.
I didn’t write something on the year anniversary because I was afraid of opening Pandora’s box again on top of trying to deal with the beginning of the pandemic. It was too much to process and I think I would have collapsed. So I decided to focus on some other topics like sex and processing romantic feelings.
I’m not going to lie, the last quarter of 2020 was hard. Like really, really hard for me. I was tired and angry. I felt so much anger I scared myself. I was angry at bigotry, hatred, lack of empathy coming from most of the population. Angry at our leadership on every single level for handling the pandemic so poorly. Angry at myself for caring so much, for not seeing this coming, and for feeling angry.
Coming into the new year I was hoping for a change but all I felt was the same. I was still anxious and depressed. I have never felt like this in a long, long time. There were times where I was able to be happy, enjoy myself, and stay present at the moment. But, it is so exhausting. I know I’m preaching to the choir here because we are all experiencing the pandemic.
As the new year progressed I was still wondering why I felt like shit when everything in my life should have made me happy. For starters, I was picking up intuitively on a relationship ending though I refused to see the signs. Two, I was nearing the peak of my “dark night of the soul.” On February 4th I ended a journal entry with “I feel a new beginning on the horizon!” By the end of that month, I would have endured heartbreak and got sick with covid.
For a little of a week I went through every stage of grief but by March 4th I had a new point of view. As I expressed my gratitude to my friends, they commented on how I bounced back and my ability to overcome. I told them:
To be honest, I think it comes from the tools I learned in therapy, support from friends and family, and my spiritual faith knowing my intuition will never lead me astray…That being said I have been in a very dark place.I have been very angry, resentful, and hateful to myself and The Universe. The important thing is to remember that when life gets you down there were times where your spirit could have taken an exit but it decided to stay because you have work to do.
That’s what life is about for me. Reminding people that even though we endure pain, suffering, and horrible trauma we do not need to carry it with us. It is very much easier said than done but when you dedicate yourself to healing, your life becomes lighter. The funny thing about transformation is no one tells you how much shit you have to endure to get out the other side. That’s why when you have a “dark night of the soul” journey everything that you know doesn’t make any sense. It feels pointless and for nothing. *Cardi B voice* WHAT WAS THE REASON!
When you get to the end of the tunnel, it’s like when Dorothy lands in OZ and everything is turned to color. You feel different, you almost look different. People start recognizing it too and you may not even have an explanation.
I feel like I am at a breaking point. I can’t do it anymore, all of my parts and versions of myself that carry my trauma and issues are screaming ‘choose me!’ Choose their trauma responses, defense mechanisms and my soul can’t see the way. As I begin to navigate my way through it, I begin to blow up my sense of place in this world. Just as our reality did when the pandemic hit. And like my placement was blown up when I experienced this trauma at fourteen. Blown up and scattered in a million pieces.
My anxiety stems from a place of control: somewhere between a perceived lack of and need for constant control. It was definitely there from birth because I remember being anxious in elementary school. However, it took hold, was fertilized, and became my need for living the night I wrote about two years ago. I lost control of myself, of others, and life. Therefore, I obsess over everything and everyone; and as a result, I make fast decisions when I see a resemblance of how a situation played out in my head. Recently, I learned from the lovely hosts of My Favorite Murder that these “outcomes”— unknown scenarios— the ones that play on a loop, “are just scary stories you tell yourself because you think it will help you control the world, and it doesn’t.”
That was a slap in the face.
So, it makes sense why I am going through a spiritual upgrade. I am in one year in my numerology cycle and I feel like we are on the cusp of a new “normal.” An awakening that sparked two years ago; burned down in 2020; and rising from the ashes in 2021. Me. I choose me, I choose to love myself. That was the lesson. I ended a lot of old patterns and ways of thinking because I decided to choose me. It’s not about other people loving me, my journey is about loving and accepting myself. For so long I was putting others’ interests before my own. At some point enough is enough.
But that doesn’t mean I see the light right now. I am so lost. Every waking moment is consumed by a million of questions: Where do I begin, where do I belong when this is all over? Who is this new version of me? What am I like post pandemic? Who am I? It plays over and over again like a broken record. The one thing I know is that I speak my truth and I am unapologetically myself, even if I don’t know who that is right now.
What I know for certain is I want healing. Being that today is the two-year anniversary of telling my story I’d like to invite you to donate to RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network) in honor of someone in your life affected by sexual assault. If you feel inclined to, please share. It is a great way to be an ally and let those hiding their secrets in the shadows that you support them.
Nothing is linear and life can take five steps forward and two back. Choose yourself and be kind. I am sending my love to you all.