Our Dark Night of the Soul

When I started losing my mind – I mean really losing it – I learned the term Dark Night of the Soul. It helped me feel less lost. It helped me see that destruction comes before creation. Or that sometimes you do need to burn it all down to get to the new. I don’t think I had ever felt so lost, miserable, or desolate inside. But knowing that there was an other side and remembering that it is always darkest before dawn gave me hope. I learned to focus less on the bad by understanding it and seeing that there was a divine purpose. I suffered so I could learn to choose differently.

I spent so much of my life avoiding, repressing, or fleeing from my own darkness that my very psyche put me in a state where all I could see, hear, or experience was how terrified, depressed, angry, and lost I was. All while I told myself I was fine.

I believe our country is seeing a dark night of the soul. I believe many are experiencing it. When you combine the complete altering of our lives and abundance of time without escapism – you get the situation I had when I lost my mind. I couldn’t drink, drug, sleep around whatever – nothing worked for me to escape so then all I had was everything I wanted to avoid.

And in everything, there’s a catalyst. There’s chaos. And then there’s change. But change comes not from action but first acceptance and understanding. Acceptance and understanding then leads to action. Everyone on every side of this has a perspective and has a voice. And the more we seek to understand, the less need we have to fight. This is compassion. In order to have compassion, you must first have it for yourself. The state of the world stems from many who don’t understand compassion because they reject so much of themselves. They seek so much to create the light by avoiding the dark. It doesn’t work that way.

I see the protest and riots as the yin yang. You cannot have light without darkness and many of us have fought to repress a lot of bad things. In our individual and collective psyche. When this happens, it isn’t that more good comes. It’s that you create just as much bad to counteract the good you chase.

However, like turning on a light switch: darkness goes when there is light. But there are still shadows. And I think, we’re seeing a lot of our darkness and shadows. I think a lot of light switches are coming on, and A lot of darkness is coming up.

Riots are the shadow side of protests of this magnitude. For all the good and peace that is sought: we need to see the shadows too. We need to see that there are those who want to destroy shit at the first chance they get. And on and on.

It’s not one sided if everybody is wrong. And all sides have folks that are wrong or doing wrong. And I think it’s necessary. Life is a balance of darkness and light. Change doesn’t come easily or painlessly. We came into the world thanks to a lot of pain from our own mothers. And, everyone is the villain in someone else’s story. Everyone is the good guy in their own.

I can’t type these words without the dark night of the soul and I‘ll thank any and every deity you can conceive that I had it. The peace I feel is a result of understanding the darkness, and for once saying: sit by my side. I want to hear what you have to say. You have a purpose too. You’re part of me. And then I could let it go. But you can’t let it go until you’ve given it a hug. It’s just how it is.

We all have the capacity for destruction and creation. I only found my freedom when I saw how necessary both were. Because the thing is: so many focus on either side of the yin yang. The true symbolism of the yin yang is the middle path between the opposing forces. Where you see the need of suffering as much as joy. Then, you don’t chase the joy or flee from the suffering. You honor both as cherished guests – messengers – visiting you and seeking to be heard. And you choose compassion. It is compassion that sets us free and then peace becomes the constant. The dark night of the soul is the road to peace.

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