The dark night of the soul is often used to describe a deep awakening. A transition or rebirth. A time to rise from the ashes, through shedding the things that no longer serve us, to heal, grow and discover your true authentic self.
Sometimes this awakening is triggered by a crisis, a feeling of hitting rock bottom with a sense of sadness, confusion and despair, which was definitely true for me. After a traumatic crisis that left me floundering, disassociated and disconnected, I began the process of 'waking up'. And in doing so I began the journey towards the union with my true essence.
During this phase of enlightenment, some relationships may end, while others may grow deeper and more meaningful. You may feel the need to spend more time alone away from crowds. Trauma and pain from your past may resurface to be healed. You may feel randomly emotional and anxious. And you will face feelings, thoughts and emotions you've avoided dealing with before.
There can be a lot of fear as you become more aware of your own trauma and the collective trauma carried within society. You begin to understand that others behave in response to their own trauma. You begin to see how we live in a society conditioned to live on auto pilot, and in doing so, you may feel pulled to change careers, to learn more or do something more purposeful.
This phase often feels like a death because in a way it is. For me, it required a deep and painful confrontation with the person I had become, which I knew was not the 'real' me. As I let go of my false beliefs and identity, created from the conditioning of my past, and reinforced through my life choices, I felt a sense of grief and loss. In other words, in order to find and embrace the real me, I had to first mourn the person I had become. This was in many ways like a death, and came with intense despair and a lack of direction or purpose. I began to question who I was, what was important to me and what I was doing here. This time of discard and discovery can feel isolating because it is hard to describe to anyone what you are feeling or going through.
But as you do the hard personal work, you become more conscious, and you being to break through. You being to see and connect with other more 'conscious' people. You begin to realize your potential. You begin to live more mindfully to find peace in the present moment, and you begin to find deep spiritual connections with nature and all other living beings. You are becoming more self-aware, more in tune with who you are, your innermost values and beliefs, and begin to understand the reason you are here.
This process of breaking through is extremely painful and confusing. But for me, it has been incredibly life-changing.
Here are some things that helped me along the way:
I firstly had to let go of my attachment to my old ways of thinking and being.
I welcomed the darkness. Instead of avoiding all my painful emotions and feelings I learnt how to face them, realize where they came from and in doing so, heal them.
I learnt that writing and creating art were useful ways to process these emotions.
I began to notice how my mind worked. To acknowledge the ego and the mental chatter. To watch it rather than attach to it by letting the thoughts come and go without judgement.
I learnt how to recognize the things that nourished my soul. Those things that just felt 'right', that created a sense of flow within myself. In doing so, I began to discover my true purpose.
I learnt how to use deep breathing and visualization techniques to expel negativity, inhale positivity and self-soothe.
I immersed myself in mindful practices and meditation, which brought a deep sense of 'connectedness'.
"There is no coming to consciousness without pain"- Carl Jung
Artwork is my own