The Dark Night of the Soul

The Dark Night of the Soul

The Dark Night of the Soul


We've just pasted the Solstice; the longest night of the year.  Many people, me included, experience an inner darkness during this time of year.  We want to turn inward, and can use this time for reflection or self flagellation.

We all have these times of darkness.  When it’s very intense, it’s called the “dark
night of the soul.”  We question
ourselves, our motives, our goals and intentions, and our relationships.  We might even question what we’re doing here
at all.  During these times of darkness,
clarity is nowhere to be found.  We may
feel lost and confused, or at the very least, unmotivated.  For some, it can turn into a clinical

When you enter a time of darkness, it’s
helpful to stay out of “victim” mode. 
Try to be a witness, instead.  As
a witness, you can observe what’s happening (or not happening) and draw
conclusions.  You can learn from the
experience.  As a victim, you’re so busy
saying “Poor me, why do these terrible things happen to me?” that you miss the
lesson.  Guess what?  If you miss the lesson, the Universe will
give you another chance to catch it.  In
other words, you’ll get another time of darkness until you figure it out. 

As we emerge from the darkness, we can look
around and take inventory.  Ask yourself
these questions:


What’s working for you in your


What’s not working for you in your life? 


Are there things you’ve been doing that
seemed like a good idea at the time but now no longer serve you? 


Are there people you spend time with
who are sapping your energy with their negativity? 


What are you willing to do about those
things that no longer serve you?

Regardless of whether you’re currently
experiencing a time of darkness or not, the Solstice and approaching new year
make this a great time to take this kind of inventory.  You can ask these questions of your life in
general, or a specific aspect of your life, such as romance. 

Question 5 is an important one.  Often when something in our life isn’t
working well, our automatic response is to think, “There’s nothing I can do
about that.”  Usually, that is not
true.  What’s true is that it might take
courage to make a change.  It might not
be easy to do something about the situation. 
You might decide that you’d rather be mildly uncomfortable staying in
the situation than doing what’s necessary to change it.  If that’s the case, own it and stop
complaining about it. 

What is also true is that you can’t change
another person.  You can only change your
own behaviors, feelings, thoughts and actions. 
If someone wants to treat you poorly, it is your own authority that
allows that or not.  Eleanor Roosevelt
once said, “No one can make you feel badly without your permission.”  If someone with whom you’re romantically
involved wants to make you feel badly, you get to decide whether or not to
accept that.  

And lastly, what is also true is that very
few people can make these changes by themselves.  Most of us need a little help; someone to
talk to who can guide us toward the decisions that will serve our highest
good.  When we’re in the dark, we need to
reach out and hold someone’s hand so we don’t get lost.

Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for
help.  Remember, the light of one candle
can banish the darkness in an entire room. 
In other words, one well asked question can clarify everything in a
moment.  Ask the questions.

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