How to Survive a Dark Night of the Soul

How to survive a dark night of the soul…

You don’t.

You, as you knew, you does not exist anymore. Being in the dark for so long has changed your vision permanently. The transformative fire has created an unfamiliar shape. It’s not nearly as romantic and thrilling as it sounds, not even close. But it is significantly powerful, that is if you can survive it.

Oh, and by the way… it is not just a night. It is so many fucking nights you wonder if it will ever pass.

At first, you resist it. When that doesn’t work, you buckle down and try harder to change… quickly! You just want to feel like yourself again.

At some point, you give up on ever feeling like yourself again because it just is not happening. You commit to trying even harder to get through this thing because even if you can’t feel like yourself, you will settle for just feeling different. This new dark mood that has taken up residence in your reality feels terrible.

You wake up over and over wondering who you are and how in the world you ended up in this place. Then you wonder HOW will I ever get to where I want to go.

Then it gets darker because you realize you don’t actually know where you do want to go. You thought you knew your direction, but you have lost your bearings here in this total blackout, which is your new life. The one and only thing you KNOW, the only clear thing, is NOT HERE. You definitely know, “I do NOT want to be here.” Not feeling like this. Anywhere else.

Other people have navigated this. You begin to read their stories. You think, “I can do this.” It’s been done. Then the dark, murky mess engulfs you again and while you are certain it’s been done, you are pretty sure you don’t have what it takes to do it.

You start questioning if you are crazy.

You think to yourself, clean up this mess that has taken over your life. Clean it up, for God’s sake. The other humans who have experienced this transition did it with grace. What is wrong with you?

You hurl money at outside help as self-help has failed completely. At this point, anyone who advertises a light for this darkness has been contacted and hired regardless of cost. Therapists, healers, coaches, astrologers, books, and workshops become a regular part of this new existence. They help briefly, like a match lit in the cave, then darkness again.

You write notes to yourself and put them everywhere. They say things like, “Hang on”, “You have this”.

You lose friends because you cannot show up and when you do show up, it is all about you. You start smoking so you won’t drink. Then, you start drinking again—15 years of sobriety thrown to the wayside. You date and wonder how in the world anyone would love this (meaning you), and the truth is they cannot until you start to love yourself again.

Oh Fuck. You think, “I have to love this?” “Nope,” you think, “Impossible.”

Then you cry your eyes out because there is no other way. You know for certain there is no other way.

You make a point of TRYING to sit alone with this. Finally, you do. But only after you have absolutely tried everything else. And then it is for only 5 minutes. It’s the longest 5 minutes of your entire life.

That’s it. You have to be crazy right?

You try and remember hard times that you have survived before. They weren’t like this. Or maybe they were? You must be crazy.

You casually say to friends, I don’t know if I can stick around for this. They wonder if you are suicidal. You begin to wonder if you are suicidal. Can you stay for this? It feels like you should, but you are really struggling to find the reason.

The reason is a plotthound. You thank the Universe for the intervention in the form of a dog. It feels like a miracle and you hold on.

Then a friend kills himself and you see firsthand how it hurts his people.

You vow to stay. You cannot be that selfish. You have people in your life who love you. There has to be a line in the sand somewhere.

After what feels like roughly 8,000 nights, some light starts to appear sporadically. You get SO EXCITED. Oh my god. I’ve made it.
Whoops, the shade comes down again hard. Shit. Seriously? Isn’t this over yet?

Then, sure enough, it’s better. There you are. You are yourself, well kind of. You aren’t really recognizable because the shape is so different, but there’s some hint of you in there, and you think, here I am. It’s a new me, but I think it’s still me.

You think to yourself, I made it.

Then, most unfortunately, you continue thinking. But did I do enough? Did I go deep enough? Did I do enough clearing? Maybe there is more. Maybe I need to revisit the dark night.

That’s it. You KNOW you’re crazy.

Although this is a new kind of crazy. While it feels shaky and unsteady, it also feels intentional and liberating. You are crazy with newfound freedom. People wonder what has gotten into you. You now feel free to go big with everything.

You begin to take risks. Of course, it was a big risk that landed you in the dark night, but these risks are different. They are not putting yourself in harm’s way risks but healthy big calculated risks that now make sense.

Not only do these make sense, you are called. You have no choice but to absolutely go for it.

You decide to love big.
You decide to completely reinvent how you work.
You devote yourself to completely reorganizing your life in a way that serves you.
You seek out more inspiration to live fully and deeply and completely.

Why not? What do you have to lose? You’ve already lost everything and survived it. Yes, you might get very hurt, but you’ve already felt incredible pain, and it didn’t kill you. Amazing, it didn’t kill you. It really felt like it was going to.

You may again get hurled back into the darkness, but now you know that even though you don’t like the pit of transformational nightfall, you have the resiliency to feel your way through.

It is crazy… big… exciting. All of a sudden, it lands, that dark night of the soul was worth it.

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