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The Dark Night of The Soul

dark-2602803_640.jpg.490c575bc327b799a490c992ced26f7e.jpgHere most of us are, suffering our way through our fate.  Stuck in some kind of container that we call day to day life, that keeps our true life at bay.  When we are in the midst of a dark night of the soul, which many of us are, we cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel.  We stumble through the black abyss of the confusion and pain that crushes inward so hard it makes us want to take our own life… And some of us do.  The truth is, we are suffering a death.  It isn’t that we think we’re going to die, we are dying quite literally.  The layers of the ego are being killed off one by one by life.  We die over and over again, until the day that we can walk the earth with only our immortality left.  And what does that feel like?   It feels like one day we are stuck motionless in the eternal purgatory of the dark night of the soul, convinced we cannot go on.  And then, quite unexpectedly, we begin to hear the precious pulse of our own heart, coming alive in the dark.  We cannot force our way out of the dark night of the soul.  Once we let ourselves die by giving up everything, we float to the surface like a bubble rising from the depths of the ocean.  We rise from the ashes as if lifted by wings we never knew we had.  We go from hell to heaven in one fell swoop.  But this heaven is preferred because it happens here on earth in waking life where you are breathing and smelling and touching and tasting and seeing for the very first time.

concerns-2672494_1280.thumb.jpg.a85b3ce3ff0b153ca815c33915d86c56.jpgI will tell you to make happiness the number one concern of your life.  It already is anyway, whether you know it or not.  The only reason you do anything is because you think it will make you feel better.  But in jest, my advice is to never ask to know happiness.  I made the mistake of doing this when I was 17 years old.  And I’ve wished this of every fallen eyelash and every first star in the night since then.  This is always my wish, like a broken record.  And where has it gotten me?  More dark nights of the soul than anyone I’ve ever shaken hands with.  I have qualified for my position as the world’s leading shadow worker.  But you’d better believe that in the midst of every dark night of the soul, my heart is screaming out “I take it back, it isn’t worth it”.  But I can’t take it back.  To un-want something you want is impossible.  As sure as you cannot become less of what you are.  So my advice to you is to let it take you like a rip tide.  Pour a cup of tea for every one of your demons as quickly as they show up.  It will not be a graceful process.  But perhaps there is a special kind of grace in the disorganized chaos of a breakdown.

wolf-1352242_640.jpg.8984fda7c0782a347c97c0557ccbbeb1.jpgThis morning, in meditation, I confronted a vision of my deepest imprint... Being forsaken.  I was at the cabin where I grew up.  I was completely alone.  I tried to get in the door and the windows, but nothing was open, so I sat on the porch.  I was a child again.  As a child with no concept of time, every moment feels like it might as well be forever.  This is why when young memories are triggered; you will have that feeling of time ceasing to move.  The feeling that it will never end.  I sat on the porch feeling more unsafe and more unsafe by the minute, unsafe for an eternity.  Sitting on that porch, I began to obsessively see images of my parents carrying my brother in their arms and turning their back on me to walk away.  No matter how much I screamed, they wouldn’t turn around.  I remember the obsessive image replayed and replayed until I cried the desperate cry of being left behind.  This feeling haunts my life.  It has revisited my life this week.  It shows up over and over again.

It was gray and raining out that day, the kind of summer rain that freezes your skin but leaves the core of you warm.   I asked myself “what does it feel like”?  The answer that came was "it feels like I've been left for the wolves".  And so, I tried to convince myself that I would keep her safe forever.  But it did not work.  The healing was calling me in the opposite direction.  It was calling me to release resistance to the worst case scenario.  So I felt myself as the little girl step backwards down the stairs and lay on the lawn in the rain, looking up at the gray with the feeling of danger closing in.  I saw the wolves begin to circle in for the kill.  I kept repeating to myself to 'let them have you".  And so I did.  I was in first person perspective, crying while I let the wolves rip me to pieces, not knowing what would happen.  Letting go of myself.  And just like a soap bubble, I felt my perspective lift up and view myself being eaten alive with a detached loving sense of knowing that nothing had been taken from me.  I floated into the willow bushes near the river by the cabin.  And I heard my adult voice speaking to me “you see, that’s the worst that can happen.”

lolly-306736_640.png.8074cb14ffbb187ea8a3b92ac167a721.pngThe memory turned vision broke apart like a burning filmstrip and I opened my eyes.  And this is the lesson of the dark night of the soul.  Whatever this life is trying to take from you, let it be taken.  We are like children, holding tight to a stick that someone is trying to take away.  We do everything to protect it without realizing that the person is trying to take it out of our hands so they can replace it with a lolly pop.  But the excruciating space between the loss of the stick and the gain of the lolly pop is enough to bring us to our knees.

The dark night of the soul is your vehicle of self realization.  You have no idea what is and isn’t you, until what isn’t you is burnt away by the flames of change.  It is a turning point which causes you to re-imagine your very existence.  And here is what I have to say:

In the end

When I look back on life

I think I will laugh myself to death.

Too rich to be broke

Too poor to be wealthy

Of anything at all.

I watched a man today

Drive his brand new pick up truck

That will never take him anywhere

Except to forty and then to forty-five

And I thought to myself…

Life feels dangerous to us all.

Most of us try to avoid that dangerous feeling

By being as certain as we can

But that there makes us cowards.

And cowards are already dead.

They have committed suicide

And now

They leave empty footprints upon the surface of earth.

So as much as it scares me,

I’d rather be here now

With all the uncertainty that life is.

And really live

All the certainty that we collect is ornamental anyway.

All is lost upon death.

All fame

All glory

All memory

All power

And all fear;

Will disappear like shadows into light.

And I will smile to see it go.

All but potential

Is a kind of corruption.

That distracts you from the truth of who you are.

An unknown freedom

Impossible to know,

Impossible to predict.

And those who know it… Live

Those who don’t… Only pretend to live.

They grow acres of fruit and only manage to eat the rind.

In the end

When you look back on life

I think you will laugh yourself to death.

Too rich to be broke

Too poor to be wealthy

Of anything at all.



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My favorite post of them all. I keep going back to this whenever life gets hard. Thank you Teal, you are so loved by so many of us. Never will you truly know how much of an impact you have on our lives. Never will you know how you show light to our darkest days. Love you forever. 

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