Dark Nights of the Soul - Hidden HopeMar 25, 2016
Has it ever happened to you
seemingly out of the blue
where you wake up one morning
and silently scream, "I am in a low, low funk,"
and you don't even know how it happened
or when it started?
You scroll back through your thoughts to recent happenings
and see many "little" things, but
none of them seem to be the root cause
of this nothingness - this slump,
this low, low, depressive state.
You had it all, so you thought.
You had life figured out, finally.
You were living in joy and shooting for the stars,
and your dream was very real in front of you.
Levity was your new norm, and in fact you even lifted others.
But there you are, now, refusing life, as if life has refused YOU.
You wonder which caused which?
What started what?
The proverbial chicken or egg question drives you mad
as it hangs in the air around you, freshly unanswered.
That which you swore you would not allow to happen happened,
and you don't want to face it.
You recall past inspirations from self and others;
All the answered prayers and miracles;
how life proved its goodness to you
over and over in the past.
Faint recollections of feeling aligned with life purpose
and one with your divinity, but it's all gone now.
It has left a haze - like smoke in the distance, and
you can't even see your way forward.
A last straw of hope arises as you muster a question,
"Am I breaking down, or breaking open?"
You pray it is the latter.
Breaking down is a state of disempowerment
in which you feel yourself falling, falling, falling,
and you cannot look up.
You fear an eminent bottomless pit.
Breaking open is a purposeful breaking.
It is your soul's way of alerting you to your deepest needs,
your abandoned self, and the inner, wound-filled voids.
The eggshell needs to break open.
Your soul needs space and attention.
Dams need to break down to show you how to tread new waters.
Pain is necessary because it alerts you
and begs your attention to what is broken.
The gift it holds can only be found by accepting and
embracing the pain right at its source.
Inner work is necessary now.
If you ignore the underlying root of the funk,
if you react to life from a state of pain,
if you blindly accept pain as a sign that you are simply a depressed person,
if you let it drag you into a defeatist mentality, and a low sense of self,
you miss the whole point.
You do, indeed, break down.
That's it. End of story.
But it is the knowing that life wants to break you open,
versus break you down, that enables you to rise again.
It is never life's intention nor love's desire to break you down.
What would be the point of that?
Think about it. If you are broken down you are
of no use to yourself or anyone else.
You are done.
But this is not the case.
Just as your heart is still pumping life,
and all your faculties are still working,
you are ALIVE, full, whole, and purposeful ...
So what is YOUR message in the pain?
Why are you being broken open?
What needs to come forth from this?
What have you been ignoring, refusing to see,
putting off, or afraid to face?
What have you been busy at while ignoring some
part of you that needs your utmost attention?
Ask yourself, "What do I need the most right now?"
Let your soul show you its answers.
It will. Don't rush it. Just listen.
Listen a little more. Probe deeper.
And then you might want to ask, "What else do I need?"
Allow emotions to surface. Be OK with them.
Remember, you are breaking open and not breaking down.
You are not alone.
A gift awaits you in the suffering.
Trust me in this.
You do not suffer for the sake of suffering.
You suffer for the same reason you do when
your hand gets burnt by a hot stove.
Just as the nerve endings in your hand say,
"Don't touch that!"
So does your soul scream, "Stop! I'm hurting!"
It begs to show you where you need healing.
The breaking open is leading you inward, onward, and upward
to the deeper parts of your purpose and liberation.
Some of the greatest inspirations flow out of
darkest, ugliest places.
Like the beautiful old hymn, "It is Well with My Soul."
Divinely transmitted to Horatio G. Spafford during the
most grief-stricken of all human experiences,
the drowning of his four daughters
not long after the death of his son in a fire, in 1871,
"When sorrows like sea billows roll ..."
was the voice of his pain
and the breaking open of his soul
that later healed many hearts, including his own.
How deep is YOUR pain? What do you need?
What can you NOT put off any longer?
You are not breaking down,
Your soul is breaking you open to new realizations,
new healing, new growing, new vision, new beginnings,
stronger courage, and bigger service.
You have a light inside of you, and that light
is there for you and others.
You are being refined, not broken down.
The breaking open is a form of divine refinement.
The chicken and the egg are not separate at all.
They are in harmony, morphing and clinging together
while slowly growing apart.
It is simply the egg's role to become the chicken,
and the chicken's job to eventually shed the old shell of the egg.
Life breaks our lives wide open to more expansive realities.
The question is, will you ignore or embrace them?
- Verna Bowen