Updated: Mar 11
Day 49/366 days Towards Self-Mastery. Mood: exhausted!
The dark night of the soul. That time when you become aware that the meaning that you have given to, or adopted for everything in your life actually doesn't fit anymore. That deep dark place when you realise that the only meaning it has is the meaning that someone else gave it, and that you accepted as truth. That realisation that you are not here in any of this meaning. Where are you?
The allocation of just one night doesn't do this job justice, I'm here to tell you!
The dark night of the soul, a time when you begin to question the meaning of everything that you have thus far, given meaning to.
Today's inspiration: take your time with this inner journey.
Relish the moments, the sunrise, the sunset. Expect many insights to emerge, and a sense of hope to be restored.
It's at that moment of feeling completely lost, helpless, invisible, that you begin to ask, "what is this life really all about? What is the reason for my existence? What is the purpose of being here?"
It's lonely, it's devastating, it made me angry, then something akin to depression.
at my family conditioning. The rules and expectations of life that my family passed to me and that I considered to be the truth.
at my religion. The rules and regulations of life that my religion convinced me was the way.
at my school teachers. For teaching me stuff that I didn't need and failing to encourage me to think for myself.
at consumerism. Why did I have to look this way, wear this stuff, strut around in high heels, colour my hair with all manner of toxic rubbish to fit a look or conform to fit in?
at the politics of our day. I thought it was about "for the people, by the people" What exactly is this democracy really about?
at feminism, ageism, patriarchy, discrimination of all sorts.
At the idea that I had to work all my life for someone else so that I could save for my retirement. And in my retirement, then what? Use my savings at a time when the energy and excitement for life was threatening to be completely gone, when I didn't have the liveliness of youth to explore the world. It seemed completely f*#&%d as an idea from my point of view.
And worse, to find that the vision of life that was presented to me is formatted into our social structure and can't be escaped. That is really going to make you angry! All the social structures are formed around the idea that you'll reach for more and more money so that you can have more and more things, and with it, the social prestige and acceptance of your colleagues. You'll either have climbed the ladder to success or be sidelined, which is exactly what you see with women who become parents during their careers, or anyone else who can't keep up.
My life became contracted, small. I didn't want to be seen, I didn't want to attract attention, and most of all I didn't want my life to be prescribed for me.
After all that raging I began to lift my head and look at life anew. It stated with small everyday things, and to be honest, I'm still working on it.
That conditioning is insidious. It shows up constantly in big and small ways. You can't really escape it. What you can do though, is be aware of it, and constantly make choices as to how you will let it impact you.
When I began to structure my own life to my own tune, taking my own dance steps out of mainstream life, I began to live more simply. It is here that resilience resides.
When you no longer reach for social recognition through the pursuit of more and more money and the things money can buy, here's what you gain.
The resilience that emerges with doing without and the courage to speak up
You become resourceful and develop a trust in your own capacity
You learn how to, and the benefits of connecting with your community
You're no longer isolated and competing with everyone around you
You don't have to measure up
You are accepted warts and all and you make it clear that this is who you are, in your imperfection, or not, it doesn't matter
You become grounded. Knowing that you have to depend on your immediate resources, and resourcefulness replaces the anxiety of reaching for social milestones.
You look at life differently and you begin to enjoy everyday pleasures
You learn to appreciate every small thing in your life, and life itself as a gift
You realise that we live in a structured and prescribed paradigm that we don't have to subscribe to
and you begin to trust life itself, experiencing that even without all that striving, life still delivers what you need
So how is it going for you, this dark night of the soul?
The keys that stood in the way, interfering with my ability to truly process these important realisations were what we call in Psychotherapy, unfinished business. The unresolved inner turmoils that I couldn't make sense of. The beliefs that I couldn't access that were blocking my progress and my resourcefulness. The patterns and behaviours I'd adopted that no longer worked for me, but were hiding in my subconscious mind.
These have been the focus of my inner work, my therapy and my reflections, (not to mention a ton of chocolate), since diving into that dark night some 20 years ago. And with each new realisation, comes more freedom.
And here I am.
366 days Towards Self-Mastery
When I considered my New Year's intentions for 2020 I had just one: To allow my heart to love what it loved...and let it lead me. (If not now, then when?)
I've spent months working on integrating my life. To live life more fully with my home life, my interests, my work, my responsibilities, all coming together, all connected. I want to give each the attention that they desire and need, and still have time and energy for the others. That means living and working from the heart.
As I was clearing out my bookshelf over the Christmas break I discovered Simple Abundance. I set it aside to explore it on New Year's Day as I lazed through another delicious day of nothingness. Sarah, the author, says this book is about living in grace. Living in grace I realised, is about Self-Mastery.
My thirst for understanding the human condition has driven me all my life, and hand-in-hand with self-mastery it has been a life-long goal. And seeing as I love to write, that living in grace is about self-mastery, and I love a bit of a challenge, then if I am truly going to let my heart lead, I really don't have any other choice. So scary as it feels, I'm starting out on a daily mission of leaning into the suggestions of this daybook and making a daily post to keep me accountable. If not now, then when?
I'm Josie. You can find out a little more about me here.
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy: by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
This book is written for the Australian and NZ market because it refers to seasonal changes. It's available on Amazon here if you'd like to follow along.