This will be my most raw and personal blog yet… It’s time to tell the tale of my Dark Night of the Soul…. to be more transparent, to speak my truth and to move more authentically into the flow of my soul… of Sacred ‘She’ who is guiding and directing this Body every breath of the way…. bowing to the Goddess… here I AM.
For the past half decade I’ve been through what many on the path of Spiritual growth and development call a “Dark Night of the Soul”. It’s called a “Dark” night because that’s how it feels. Oh so very, very dark. It’s hard to see through the darkness to know what is Truth and what is illusion… its even more challenging to know which way to look – or who to look to. It’s a phase of massive deconstruction… like a thread being pulled in a piece of knitting that slowly, but surely, un-does all that you ever thought you were as well as all that you ever thought the nature of reality was. And it keeps pulling until there is nothing left…
It’s a process of un-learning and re-membering.
And it’s NOT fun.
It’s painful. And it’s scary. It’s destabilizing and it’s completely disorientating.
But, eventually, you realize that it’s worth it!
At the time it feels like an Absolute crisis…. and in a way it is. Mental and emotional instability reined and I never knew when my inner selves were going to explode in a volatile uproar of verbage and tears. And tears were very prevalent for a long time…. hour upon hour could be spent crying from the depths of my soul while Body lay in a helpless mess on the floor, or the bed or the floor of the shower… they were tears that had no words, they even had no apparent source, altho they did, and they just kept coming… as if I was grieving for all the women of the world who had not been able to have children as well as for all the women of the world who had ever been maimed, harmed or abused in some way. These tears came from deep within my soul… the Goddess screaming out at no one in particular, and EVERYONE at the same time.
It was Kali Herself screaming for me to WAKE UP at the depth of my core. To WAKE UP to a deeper truth – that I wasn’t who I thought… to realize that I had all these emotions and feelings, thoughts and ideas about the world and myself and how it all fit together… and that NONE of it was REAL – not in the Absolute sense. And that by looking at life from the Absolute perspective for a while I would gain a deeper appreciation and value for the Relative – where all the beautiful and messy human stuff happens. Detachment now, would later follow a deeper level of embodiment later.
But messy and distressing it was.
Stanislav Grof calls such psycho-spiritual distress Spiritual “Emergency” which is a crisis involving religious, transpersonal, and/or spiritual issues that provide opportunities for growth. Spiritual “Emergence” is a more gentler process of transformation. For me though, it felt like a debilitating process that made me physically sick and left me emotionally drained and financially retarded.
I dropped off my client workload for a couple of years as I recovered from adrenal fatigue and burnout (a result of naively working around the clock with no regard for my own personal needs for the better part of two years. This was after a mass inflow of clients when TVNZ aired the 20/20 documentary I did with them in 2007 which you can view here). But it was on the wings of such burnout that I turned my every day life into that of a monastic and lurched myself into a relatively intense regime of healthy eating, detoxing and cleansing along with daily yoga and meditation as well as frequent meditation and yoga retreats. In the space of nearly three years I went to 17 different retreats and workshops ranging from 10 day silent meditation retreats and 8 day Mondo Zen Sesshins (including one to become a facilitator of the Mondo Zen process – which addresses emotional imbalance beautifully) to intensive Iyengar or Sivananda Yoga weekend workshops.
To put it mildly, 2009 and 2010 were crazy years for me. They blew the lid off everything I thought was real and true and slammed me flat on my wanna-be spiritual face. I was sick every other weekend. I had glandular issues, adrenal issues, hormonal issues. I was just plain sickly and weak, to the point of being pathetic. I’d become one of the most healthiest eaters I knew, I didn’t drink alcohol, consume animal products, sugar or gluten, had high quality organic spirilina and countless other greens flowing through my system, how could I be so sick all the time? There were times I thought I was going crazy and although a deeper part of me was there all along assuring me I was not in need of Psychiatric help and all was indeed well, other more enmeshed parts of me doubted the process – and in fact didn’t know that the process was the unraveling of a truth that no longer served me so that a new more meaningful Truth could emerge. Hence the term “Spiritual Emergence.” And hence why body had to go down – it was Her only way of letting me know She needed me to pay attention. And so I lay low and I went inside and I listened to what She – the Feminine Face of Spirit – had to tell me.
I learned how I was becoming affected by the energetic “field” around me as my yoga and meditation practice deepened… how the energetic layers of mind and emotion, thoughts and feelings could effect my physical health as directly as improper eating. I came to call colds and flu’s “energetic recalibrations of body/mind”. (I’ll blog more on these kinds of things in the future….)
By 2011 I felt I’d come out of my Dark Night, and so, at the age of 38, I plunged head on into the arduous process of trying to get pregnant – which as it turned out, Body was not interested in achieving in the slightest. I had no eggs left in my aging body to harvest and after failed attempts at IVF – including a process of signing up for donor eggs, finding eggs and then loosing them (thats another story I may some day write about) – my body instead produced an ovarian cyst that just wouldn’t go away. For six months I was put on cancer watch as my levels went up and down… never really getting into the danger zone, but up enough for my doctor – who I came to know as the Endo Guru – suggested I have surgery to remove it.
With two months to prepare for surgery I told the Endo Guru that I would get rid of that cyst before he did. He looked at me with hopeful, encouraging eyes and said “I’ll see you in theater and we’ll find out”. And so in that two months I did nightly castor oil packs (recommended by Laura Jane Bowers and Liz Jury – two gorgeous Goddess friends of mine, both very talented Health and Wellbeing practitioners). I also had weekly – fortnightly sessions in Cranio Sacral Therapy with Soul Sister, friend and colleague Meegan Care as well as taking a daily self prescribed concoction of Rhodiola, Chaste Tree, Licorice and Olive Leaf. Prior to surgery I also did Dr Sara Gottfried’s 21 day detox – which I highly recommend – as well as an Ayurvedic detox and a raw food detox, all back to back over that two month period. Along with the enemas and fasts that I did in preparing for surgery, I truly was clean as a whistle going into theater!
So… cut to the morning after the surgery and I awake to the Endo Guru standing at the end of my hospital bed with a smile on his face. The cyst had indeed gone, surprisingly to him, but he had also removed 15 years of deep infiltrating endometriosis from my uterus, bowel and bladder – a beautiful example of how we can do so much by ourselves, but then there are times when medical intervention is simply a send from the Goddess.
I felt like a different person. My abdomen was no longer damp – two years of acupuncture hadn’t managed to shift the damp of that endo. My body was no longer swollen or sick. It felt alive and well and happy and buzzy and …. I WAS SO HAPPY – I could feel it in my core! SHE was AWAKE within me – FINALLY!
Everything I had done… everything I had unraveled, was revealing my Core… my Truth… HER and SHE wasn’t sick. SHE wasn’t crazy or wrong or infertile. SHE was just revealing and re-membering my Truth for me.
I think we spend the first part of our life forgetting who we are… the next part is about remembering who we are… and the final part of incarnation is about putting that Truth into action and letting it evolve. And we, beautiful souls, are alive in the times where the Goddess is finally coming BACK. So we better open our hearts and listen to what SHE has to say. For we have much to learn.
I don’t know if this life time has the intention of mothering a child. And for now I have let that go – as much as a wanna-be-mum can anyway. But I have spread my wings and I have reconnected with the core of my Truth. I’ve re-found my Spirituality in HER and She lives in the Mountains, in Nature, in the Oceans and the Rivers. SHE is in the chipmunks gathering forage for winter. She’s in the wings of a butterfly and the silvery flash of a fishes tail. Spirituality no longer has to be regimented in patriarchal routine and rules. It’s not linear or rational, black or white. She is all colors. She is cycles. She is the Moon and the Earth and she dances hand in hand, heart to heart with the Sun and the great ability to BE. But she is dynamic movement and action. A spiritual practice that works is a state of mind and presence of heart that can hold all of that which is arising and passing AND remain embodied with it. Simply to be human is to be Spiritual. No one is not spiritual. But our spirituality can make or break us. Spirituality today listens to the wisdom of body, to the wisdom of Goddess, to the wisdom of our inner She – thank you Sara Avant Stover for that one. I know Her as my Sacred ‘She’, and beyond that, I know Her as the Goddess incarnated in precious human form. But She is also who lives in and as all of y’all too, as well as SHE who IS the mountains, rivers, oceans and all of Mother Nature. She is our precious planet, our richest wisdom and our greatest inspiration.
After my surgery I packed up and left New Zealand on a three month spreading of the wings. But thats a whole other journey… and for now the Goddess is calling it forth and there’s only one way for me to go from now on… and that is HER way. Surrender is my path… even if my little me self had and has other ideas, Surrender is the only way to find out what is really and truly seeking to emerge.
If this has stirred anything up in you or you would like some support through your own Spiritual Crises, please feel free to comment or ask questions in the box below. You can also connect with me for sessions over Skype or in person if you’re in my area. This whole process has of course deepened the work that I do now with my clients. Every day, month and year we evolve and grow to deeper levels of inner understanding. I’d love to help make your journey through this transitory phase much, much easier than it was for me.