Falling In Love With the Dark Night of the Soul

Aug 28, 2013 by     6 Comments    Posted under: Life Lesson, Life Purpose

Untapped movie, soul purpose, ronelle coburn, life purposeIt’s been an unexpectedly tough year for me.  Not business-wise, but personally.  I’ve wondered whether it’s the gradual arrival of the mid-life crisis, shifting hormones, time for a break from the runaway pace that my life has been for the last few years?  Perhaps all of the above plotting together to slow me down or refocus me?

I’m always trying to understand myself, what’s going on in my life, and what’s happening in the world around me.  And I generally feel super fortunate  about the fact that I chose to do whatever it takes to live on purpose every day.  Most of the time it feels wonderful and I’m so in the flow, and as someone described me to myself, I feel so “satisfied.”  So it’s a big surprise when the Dark Night of the Soul shows up in the middle of all this brightness and activity and tosses me down into the crisis of meaning dirt.  My first thought is, “Hey! But I’m on purpose!  What more do you want from me anyway?!”  But the Dark Night of the Soul just stands there frowning with a big black hole of nothingness at its feet that sucks me down no matter how hard I resist.  In fact, the harder I resist the deeper the hole gets and the more I feel like I’m just shouting into the wind and running in place and going nowhere and just exhausting myself until I’m sinking down into a sticky tar pit that I will never ever get out of and can no longer struggle against.

This is the place I arrived in late July…and it sucked.  Three days in a row I woke up and sat up in bed and sobbed uncontrollably.  All I wanted to do was to run away or crawl under a rock and never come out.  I felt doomed.  And I didn’t even really know why.  Everything was good in my life…except me.  Ever been there?  Well, this isn’t the first time for me, but it’s been awhile since I’ve been completely abducted into such an all-encompassing Life Lesson Crisis Of Meaning.

At the point of sitting paralyzed in a pool of tears, yet one more time, I said, “Okay, I give up.  Help!  I need some HELP here.  AND I’ll do ANYTHING to be able to see the light of day again.  ANYTHING, do you hear me?!”  This is while yet another perfect summer day was underway outside my window, complete with birds singing and flowers growing, but all I wanted to do was stay in bed.

So I finally did what the Dark Night of the Soul wanted me to do, which was to stop fighting.  And surrender.  Admit that I just can’t do everything by myself.  Go get help.  Of course this is something I know in my head, but giving in to it is something else.  I’m a fighter and a self-sufficient do-it-myself type.  But sometimes that only goes so far.

During all of this I was extremely aware of being caught specifically in one of my Life Lessons (powerlessness) and even more pressingly in the downside of one of my Life Schools (School of Peace, which is about crisis, particularly of the physical and existential variety).  These two are quite a combo when they team up—powerless existential health crisis: Who am I anyway?  Am I doing the right things with my life? And all mixed up with physical symptoms that left me both anxious and too fatigued to move.

I had a vague sense of this (I was in a crisis after all, which makes things fuzzy) and was trying to do some things to help myself out, but after I crashed and got some help (thank goodness for acupuncture and Chinese herbs, even though they taste horrible—I said I’d do anything, right?), and went ahead and spent some time in bed as the Dark Night was urging, and took a vacation, my mind cleared and I had an  AHA! that seemed slow in coming to me, but that’s just the way it is sometimes.  We are always so close to our own stuff it’s blurry.

I was in what we call my Vicious Cycle and it had a purpose.  As soon as that zinged into my brain I realized that everything was gonna be okay!  I remembered that when we’re on purpose at some point our purpose wants to grow (and we must grow to support it).  BUT for that growth to happen we have to strengthen the weak spots that are still hanging around in our Life Lesson and Life Schools.  Duh!  This is something I help students and clients through all the time…now it was my turn again.

And then it was SO EASY to see because I have a blueprint for how my life works and I know how to read it!  I was going through a round of big “growing pains” so I can step on up to the next level with my Life Purpose.

And after feeling like a piece of tar of the sole of the shoe of life for months and feeling so lost and scared, I am breathlessly excited all over again, after 15 years of working with this amazing Instruction Manual for Life that’s in our human hands.  I KNOW my Life Purpose and Life Lessons and Life Schools and how they work together like  a well-oiled machine to take me (and pull me and push me) where I want and need to go.  I know what decisions need to be made and what next steps need to be taken.  And it all makes sense!  And once I saw this (and got the support I needed and made a few small changes) I popped up in about a week and my head was above water and I could breathe and see the sun again and I stopped feeling like I was drowning in a tar pit and feeling so terrified.  I remembered that I can trust the process of my life, that I can surrender to it, and that being on purpose means taking a deep dive into the Dark Night of the Soul every now and then so that my life and I can arise anew, refreshed, transformed, and I can evolve a little more into the person I am always becoming.

6 Comments + Add Comment

  • Can totally relate to so many things you mention in this post – too many to list! 😉 It has been a bit of a rough ride for me as well – up one minute, down the next – often without explanation or related incidence. Just this past week was feeling especially unheard, unseen & disconnected – despite positive strides in my biz. In a moment of deep despair last week (again, for no apparent reason ;)) I pulled out my hand analysis and went back to purpose. Always….back to purpose – and asking soul, what do I really want? What do I need to let go of, What do I need to step into? I’ve never experienced such deep contrast (the highs & lows) as I have in 2013. It’s been a rough year emotionally for me…and I suppose the lesson is learning to let go and just be in the contrast – not needing to fix it. Yes, as you said. Trusting the process :) Great post!

  • I just love you and your Genius work. Everyone should know you. You are such a generous soul, you deserve to have everything you give come millionfold back to you. Thank you fore sharing such personal info. Yes, crisis, isn´t it just a great quantum leaper…
    Love, Light & Lipstick, Kirsten

    • I second that.

  • Thank you for the reminder that finding ourselves in a Crisis of Meaning doesn’t = Failure, but is just a nudge into our next growth ring. All is not lost, even though we can’t see very well in the dark. We still have our Purpose.

  • Thank you so much Ronelle for sharing this story! It has given me greater understanding of what’s been happening for me as well!!!

  • Dear Ronelle, just read your emotional post of human suffering, and of course, relate completely. It is the creative characteristic to sharpen our perspective with the sword’s edge. I can only surmise that each time you rise up and see the clear sky, it has a depth beyond that which you could see yesterday. When they say the sky is the limit, you just expanded your sky. Thank you for being a friend when I needed your insight, your kindness, your generosity, your tenacity, and your connection with my palm in yours. Your explanation regarding how things work together for the good are still ringing along my own pathway, and I have come to realize that it is okay to examine the darkness, for in your words, it will be the darkness where the greatest treasures are buried. Wishing you continued success in your Personal Purpose with all of us here who have been fortunate enough to meet you and know how lovely you are as a person. May all the light you share with others, shine brilliantly, today, and always, Love, Danica (eschatology* Dot)