If we wish to live in a deeper more connected way, it is really important for us to have quiet time, places and spaces of peaceful reflection in which we can draw closer to our soul. For the introverted amongst us this sort of free and open time where we are unencumbered by the needs and demands of others or removed from the fast pace and ongoing bombardment of daily life is as essential to our souls as air.
Extroverts often have a really hard time understanding this need in my experience. My last partner actually accused me of being agrophobic at one stage as he didn’t understand my introverted ways. He was always wanting to pull me out into the world and into his ideas of what was good for me, and it is true that at the time I met him I had not long ago gone through two more traumatic injuries both of which occurred in the first two years on each anniversary of my husband walking out of our marriage and so my introversion could have had a degree of dissociation tied up with it.
At the same time I was launching on a healing pathway. A few years before my marriage broke up I had begun to unearth in therapy a few of the issues that had driven my addiction. At this stage I was over 7 years sober and really in the second stage of recovery which involves opening up to original pain and grief work. My husband didn’t like the fact that I was sad. He had lost his own father around the same age as me and had a lot of pain in his life with his mother, but rather than try to deal with it he tried to imply that my therapy was a kind of indulgence and together he aligned with my mother to try to undermine it.
At this stage I walked out of the marriage for six months and went back to the UK. I actually lived with his mother for a time and she opened up to me a lot about her unhappy marriage and her difficulty with being an emotionally available mother. I eventually came back to the marriage but at this point too much was pulling us apart and I could not make a commitment to leave my family behind to settle back in the UK at the same time as I could not live in the same town with them and so we were both in a state of limbo and my husband decided to go back to the UK on a holiday and then phoned to tell me he was planning on not coming back.
We eventually separated two months from this phone call (his decision) and I was alone again, quite isolated at the coast in the house my father had built around the time all the trauma of my late adolescence began to erupt in 1979. I now know that this was a reflection of the fact that due to trauma making our development arrest at critical stages to a large degree a part of my soul was there waiting for me to open up the door to it.
Following my separation I was in a lot of pain as my husband leaving brought up all the grief around loss of relationships in in my life and I was not in therapy at that stage. I spent quiet a number of years in the wilderness before getting involved in another relationship with the partner who accused me of being agoraphobic when really I just had Complex PTSD.
These days I live alone. I have been on my own now for just under five years and as lonely as I get some days I must say it is a relief to be able to close the door on my life when I need to and engage in the necessary retreat and inner journey which is so important to my soul. I now have a very good therapist who understands the inner journey well being trained in the Jungian way of deep introspection. I have my blog which I began at the end of 2013 and it has helped me to externalise some of the journaling, poems and articles that contain ideas and insights gleaned from these 12 years of going on the inward soul journey.
I guess I would say that even before I went on this journey I was reading a lot of psychological and spiritual literature about the Dark Night of the Soul. I really related to writings of people such as St John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila and Jungian writers such as Thomas Moore and Murray Stein who write about both the dark night of the soul as well as the midlife crisis that can come for many of us from any time from the late 30s onwards. A crisis during in which our hearts are torn, a crisis that may involve depression and a descent into the primal dark, a crisis of separating out who we really are as a True Self or soul from what has been imposed upon us or confined us within and as a result of our conditioning. And part of the reason I named my blog Emerging From the Dark Night was to convey that the DNOTS is actually a form of spiritual emergence or spiritual emergency that many of us are undergoing on this planet at a time of critical change and collective transformation, that we can heal and connect through sharing and writing about our experiences so that we can help each other and not feel that we are so alone.
Turning within means for many of us leaving the superficial world behind us. A world peopled with those who see the inner journey or DNOTS as a kind of ‘madness’. I was very comforted many years ago when I was working in a spiritual bookshop to come across a taped talk on Spiritual Madness by medical intuitive Carolyn Myss. In this tape she talked about how there is a certain kind of spiritual journey we are called upon that seems to be a kind of madness but is really a transformational call to a deepening and awakening of and to our souls and spirits.
Ideally after we have undergone this experience we do come back out into the so called ‘real world’, but with a deeper awareness, some enlightenment if you will of the so called darker aspects of being and experience that we or others around us may have rejected before.
Gosh, I originally started this post to share the following meditation from one of my daily readers by Tian Dayton in which she speaks of the necessity for Soul time. I will close on it as I am starting to develop some ideas here that I will flesh out further in another post. Hopefully this reading will speak to some of you who are struggling to reconcile your own deeper journey with the difficult reception you receive from others who just don’t seem to ‘get it’. Truth is they are probably not meant to. Only those who are called will hear.
I will respect and protect quiet in my day Without quiet, my soul cannot rise to the surface of my consciousness. Excessive and pointless busyness keeps me from being with my soul. Then I feel a loss of connection with self, and I try to solve it by attaching myself to one more outer experience in an attempt to not feel alone and lost. Again I create disappointment.
The soul that I lost is within me.
There also exists a sleeping sickness of the soul. Its most dangerous aspect is that one is unaware of it coming. That is why you have to be careful…You should realise that your soul suffers if you live superficially. People need times in which to concentrate, when they can search their innermost selves. It is tragic that most men have not achieved this feeling of self awareness.. And finally when they hear the inner voice they do not want to listen any more. They carry on as before so as not to be constantly reminded of what they have lost. But as for you.. resolve to keep a quiet time…Then your soul can speak to you without being drowned out by the hustle and bustle of every day life.
And as a post script. I feel that we also feel a connection to this place of soul through placing ourselves in places and spaces where the soul can speak to us. For example, in nature, by the ocean, with pets and animals, with loved ones with whom we can connect and be, through reading poetry or listening to music which connect us and uplifts us or speaks to us on a soulful level.