Transformation after a dark night of the soul

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My experience has always been that transformation, upgrade, growth comes after a period of darkness of the soul. The darker and deeper the drop the more profound the transformation. It is, however, not easy to realise or get to the other side and comes with practice. There are often steps to follow.

The first one is awareness of light and dark within you, a true connection to both energies within your psyche. Both need to be known intimately, accepted, befriended and experienced. I frequently say that the best awareness comes from repeat lived experience and real life examples. Think of yourself in your ‘dark’ cloak. What does that look and feel like? Is there a clear image of yourself, in what voice and language that side speaks, what does it usually do, what its preferred or default way of behaving. Get to know it, notice, befriend and learn from it. The same goes for your light side of the psyche. What are you like when you are wearing your ‘light’ cloak. What’s the vibration and presentation of that energy within you? When you know both and can easily identify, recognise and connect with both you can navigate both your transformation and your dark nights better.

Another step in the process is to fully stay in the process and yes, natural reaction is to try to get out of it, change it, do something when we are in a dark place. It feels uncomfortable and painful. We resist, reject and want to strip ourselves of all that it brings with it, but even though it is natural to want to do that what if we allowed it to be? After all it is within us, it is part of us and it is there for a reason in any given moment.

Darkness and pain can also be comforting and safe to some of us and it is familiar to a point we get lost and settled into it. To me it feels like a dark cave where no one can find me. It can be soothing and reassuring. If it is so for you recognise it, explore your relationship and history with pain and dark places in general. Is there more to it?

Another opportunity when ‘in darkness’ is your unconscious will be showing itself through dreams more vividly. For me I begin to have profound, vivid, dark and nightmarish dreams. I always find those fascinating and even when unpleasant I find they keep my energies going. It is like stirring a caldron, a process of ‘cooking’ taking place in my unconscious. I get very involved with its content and open up to messages. This part of the process is valuable as much can be extracted from the dreams when in a state of darkness.

I find at this point in my practice that I know when darkness comes there will be light post-pain, post-anxiety and depression. One might say I learnt to keep the faith. In simple terms the only way is up. What’s needed here is trust and again it is another difficult point where we either give up (on ourselves) or manage to override our dark state somehow for the fear of never being able to come out. Never is a strong word, it deletes all possibility for change and it is an illusion. We all know that nothing ever stays the same and change touches absolutely everything. I strongly believe in the ‘Phoenix rising from the ashes’ transformation.

To reach the light we must be patient with the darkness. Not only we need to be with in it, allow feelings to do their thing in their own time, be graceful, soft amidst anger and desperation, be kind to yourself and your darkness. Needs that come up when you are in a dark place will be your usual needs, but amplified a lot and we need to meet those needs. Give yourself what you need in those moments through really listening to the voice of your pain and despair.

Light comes in gradually. First you begin to notice coming back into life through small things, wanting to connect again. You will feel your isolation state stretching into a need to relate. It is like a process of remembering your ‘whole’ self, the way you had been before going into darkness. You remember belonging to a group, family, your usual dynamic. You begin to want to get involved again in small ways, your voice will start coming back, healthy, balanced one. You begin to feel different, lighter, more grounded and less scared. Darkness has done its thing. It’s been and gone and by allowing it to be we allowed ourselves to feel what needed to be felt, worked through and acknowledged whatever that is for you.

I recently have gone through such period of darkness and all of the above was true for me again and when one morning I saw a big beautiful butterfly land on a bench next to me I knew the light was near. Transformation followed slowly with big insights, a strong desire for change and implementing things in a different way, adjusting behaviour and interactions. I also remained strongly aware of my needs, which through being amplified in the dark showed up more clearly in life. Through my voice returning I was able to communicate them to others more effectively. What followed was a sense of renewal, rebirth and upgrade into new ways.

Darkness is a great teacher. It not only puts things in perspective, it brings us literally back to life, more fully engaged in the present. I also find there’s a serene period of contemplation and a silent observation that accompanies the process of coming back to light. That is always very pleasant and incredibly needed.

We all potentially seek light and all leads to it whatever we go through in life and the most profound ‘come backs’ are through deep darkness.

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