Dark Night of the Soul Meets Law of Attraction

by Carol Hess on April 23, 2013

Warning

If you want to read an upbeat, let’s speak and think and feel only positive things so that’s what we attract kind of experience today, then you don’t want to read this blog post.  But if you are in the midst of a dark night of the soul or if you’re just feeling a bit unsettled, anxious, pissed off, scared, sad then keep reading.

I want to talk about the multi-faceted, complicated, sometimes painful but real experience of being a human being.  Nope, I’m not talking about the simplistic, one-dimensional, superficial, everything is sweetness and light experience that some would have us believe is what we should be experiencing or we’re doing life all wrong.

It Feels Awful

I’m in a dark night of the soul right now.  I’ve been here before, and intellectually I know this isn’t a permanent state of affairs.  But it sure as hell feels permanent, doesn’t it?  This is that place that precedes an act of surrender that precedes a profound transformation that precedes a giant leap in consciousness.  But it still feels awful.

And you know what?  I don’t want to hear one word about the Law of Attraction right now.  Not.one.word.  I don’t want to hear that I’ve attracted this.  I don’t want to hear that I’ve created this reality.  And you know why I don’t want to hear it?  Because those statements come with judgment.

First comes the judgment of the people proclaiming the law.  Oh, they claim not to be judging, but you and I both know they are.  At best, they’re damned relieved they aren’t going through it and step just a bit away so they won’t catch it.  At worst, they’re just a bit smug, a bit disdainful, a bit judgmental.

That’s bad enough, but then there’s our own judgment of what we’re going through because we’ve brought this on ourselves.  This is the self-inflicted blame and shame that makes the dark night even darker.  Like it wasn’t already dark enough.

My Promise to You

Here’s my promise to you (and me).  I promise not to judge us for our dark night of the soul.  I promise not to try to fix us, because we’re not broken.  I promise to acknowledge the courage it took to get vulnerable and tell the truth about what’s going on for us.

It takes courage to tell the truth about our dark night in this society of ours that is relentlessly shoving sweetness and light and positive thinking down our throats.  It’s difficult to get real about the negative thoughts, feelings, and experiences we’re having, when we’re told that we attract and create our own reality.   Hell, we’re as much as admitting that we’re flunking the Law of Attraction test.

You’ve probably guessed by now that I’m not a big fan of the Law of Attraction.  Let me rephrase that.  I’m not a big fan of how the Law of Attraction is being presented to us these days.  I suspect this spiritual law has been distorted by our human interpretation of it.  I suspect it isn’t as simplistic, as black or white, as superficial as it’s being made out to be.

Now I know we human beings are pretty much terrified of the random and unknown, even more so because most of us aren’t all that solid in our faith in the God of our understanding.  So that means we’re pretty desperate to believe that we can exert some kind of control over our lives.

The God-Shaped Hole

But we’ve allowed our desperate need for control to take a rich and profound spiritual law and dumb it down.  We grab the Law of Attraction to go and gobble it down to fill that hole inside us the way we grab fast food to go and gobble it down to fill the same damned hole.  And you know what?  Neither one works because the hole is shaped like God, and only God can fill it.

Don’t get me wrong.  I do think we create a great deal of our own reality.  Part of my job as a star polisher is to help my clients bust through the limitations they put on themselves and their reality by what they are thinking, believing, feeling, and saying.  But let’s face it.  Life can be random sometimes.  Bad things happen to good people.  Bad things happen to skilled practitioners of the Law of Attraction.

And we’re left dealing with not only the Something Bad that happened, but also with wondering what we did to attract this Something Bad.  What did we think, feel, say, do that brought this Something Bad down upon our heads?  And what the hell are we supposed to do with the inevitable blame and shame that follow?

I know the beaters of the Law of Attraction drum have good intentions.  Many of them are my friends, and they are good people.  They want to inspire you to create the life of your dreams.  Me too!  My writing and my business are all about encouraging you to go after and create what it is you want out of this life.

But I’m also going to encourage you to be your most authentic self while you do it.  I’m going to suggest you own every part of yourself, including the negative thoughts and feelings and words and behaviors.  I’m going to suggest you let go of the fear that your oh so human negativity is going to bring the wrath of the Law of Attraction down upon your head.  I don’t believe in a mean and punishing God, and I don’t believe in a mean and punishing spiritual law.

Good Little Girl

Playing the Good Little Girl because otherwise the Law of Attraction is going to get you just doesn’t work.  Sometimes you’re not the Good Little Girl.  Sometimes you have an awful week, month, year.  And you’re tired, discouraged, disappointed, pissed off, and scared.  You’re in pain.

You can do one of two things.  You can push all those feelings down, pretend you never felt them, and keep a smile plastered on your face so you attract only good things.  But you won’t attract good things.  You’ll attract what unexpressed pain always attracts and what we’re experiencing in epidemic portions these days – addiction, depression, aggression, even violence.

Or you can get real, get vulnerable, and express your feelings, however socially unacceptable those feelings may currently be.  You can write them out, exercise them out, whine them out, scream them out, stomp them out.  I don’t care how you express them, as long as you don’t harm yourself or others.  I just want you to express them and to keep expressing them until they have lost their power.

Not Helpful

And beaters of the Law of Attraction drum, here’s what doesn’t help when we – your loved one, friend, colleague, client – are going through a dark night of the soul.  Being told (even if it’s true), that we brought on this pain we’re feeling.  Not helpful.  Being told we attracted the source of our current suffering.  Not helpful.

What does help is people meeting us where we are.  People being kind and showing compassion.  People saying, “I feel your pain because I feel pain too.  Because I suffer too.”

When we remember our common humanity, then we can start to be vulnerable with each other, to connect and be real with each other.  If we recognize we are not alone here in the dark night of our soul, that there are others here in the cave with us, that’s when the darkness starts to lift.  That’s when our light starts to shine.  That’s when the healing begins.

This blog post is an excerpt from my radio show, the Golden Goddesses on the Creating Calm Radio Network.  Tune in any time after 10 a.m. Eastern on Tuesday, April 23rd to hear my segment.  Just fast forward to minute 30, and that’s where you’ll find me.  In fact, that’s where I’ll be every week.  I hope you’ll join me.

 

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/creatingcalmnetwork/2013/04/23/golden-goddesses

 

by Carol Hess

14 comments

Categories Carol's Musings, Personal Empowerment, The Mind Game, Weighing In (Rants & Raves)

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Sandi Amorim April 23, 2013 at 11:20 am

I’m doing some reading for a training I’m about to take and here’s what I read last night:

“The suppression of negative thoughts and emotions does not yield positive results. Resistance intensifies the unwanted state and makes it persevere. Acceptance of the unwanted state, especially its dramatization, weakens the unwanted state and makes its elimination easy.”

Otherwise known as paradoxical intention.

So basically, no matter how many affirmations or positive intentions we have, if we don’t really feel aligned, it’s like icing on a mud pie!

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avatar Carol Hess April 23, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Very interesting, Sandi. I wonder what they mean by “dramatization”? Acting it out or just venting to a friend? Paradoxical intention. Yep.

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avatar Sandi Amorim April 23, 2013 at 4:08 pm

It’s about feeling the negative state as intensely as possible to liberate yourself. It’s so opposite to what most personal development work does, but suppression yields the opposite of the desired result so it’s time to do something new!

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avatar Carol Hess April 23, 2013 at 4:48 pm

Ah, I get it. Thanks for the clarification.

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avatar Jennifer April 23, 2013 at 11:33 am

Yesterday I saw a feather with a bone still attached to it. It was odd and I got this feeling…I asked about it and what I heard in my heart was that we can’t resist the life/death/life cycle (from Women Who Run With the Wolves). Later this came to me “It was always going to happen this way.” The dark night is apart of life. I don’t know why we create dichotomies. In my dark night I’ve have some of the deepest joys and moments of pure happiness…I’ve also cried, been angry, and then been so exhausted I had nothing quite a bit. It’s life and life doing what it will.

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avatar Carol Hess April 23, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Jennifer, I loved what you said about the dark night being a part of life. That’s so true! And, yes, there are exquisite moments in the middle of our dark nights — I had one of them last night talking and laughing with a friend on the phone. The dark nights open us up to FEELING. Never a bad thing. Thanks for joining the conversation here! And welcome.

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avatar Joanna Saunders April 23, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Carol, Thank you for this. It came at the perfect time for me. I am in a deeply reflective place right now. I am questioning. Since January my life has changed. The changes have left me feeling that everyone wants a piece of me. My mother now needs me almost daily. My job is such that I answer to a lot of different factions. – my clients, their families, the board, the treasurer. Two of my children are struggling with relationships – they talk to me. One son is doing much better, the other attempted suicide on Sunday night. The suicide attempt has sent me into this reflective place. What is happening? What am I supposed to be seeing here? I know things will become clear as do you. So thankyou Carol for giving us the space to be where we need to be without having to worry about the Law of Attraction!!

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avatar Carol Hess April 23, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Joanna, my thoughts and prayers are with your son who is in so much pain right now and of course with you and all your family. Right now seems to be a particularly confusing and dark time for so many of us, but it won’t always be this way. In fact, a client/friend who has been in her dark night of the soul for several weeks happily informed me that she was offered a tremendous opportunity a couple of days ago. “This is like a dream come true, Carol,” were her exact words. This gives me hope for all of us. Clarity does eventually arrive. The light does come back. And in the meantime, as you said so well, we stay in the space where we need to be. Good to hear from you, Joanna.

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avatar Linda S Fitzgerald April 26, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Carol,

I’m with you friend. I’m not a lover of the Law of Attraction. And perhaps I too don’t like the way it was presented. I still think it’s a big hoax to sell books, CD’s, etc. And you are correct, there’s an element of judgment in it.

A little over a month ago, I had a huge belly blow. Someone very close to me committed a betrayal. It was messy because the other person involved is not emotionally stable which complicated matters. in order to resolve the situation I’ve had to permit once weekly phone conversations between my “very close person” and the other person. Of course, each time that occurs, it brings back the haunting memory of betrayal. I share this as prologue to the silliness I’ve put myself through by saying – “I don’t have to choose to be hurt, feel emotional pain, laddydah, etc. But tell them to my gut and the tears when they come. No I don’t have to choose and in time I won’t. . . but then the bottom line is – we’re human and betrayal hurts, brings anger, etc.

So screw the folks spouting the “law”. They can sell their farce someplace else.

Thanks for a very poignant post. Love your transparency and authenticity!

Warmly,
Linda

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avatar Carol Hess April 27, 2013 at 7:22 am

Absolutely, Linda — betrayal hurts like hell. And I’m so sorry you have to go through it. It may be true we are spiritual beings having a human experience (I happen to believe that). But it’s important to embrace our humanity while we’re having that experience — and that means feeling all the feelings. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could all embrace our common humanity and not be so judgmental of each other when we show just exactly how human we are? Thank you for the best compliment ever that I could receive — that you find me transparent and authentic. I try very hard to be that, especially in my writing. Thanks for joining the conversation here at Star Polisher.

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avatar Sharon Lippincott April 30, 2013 at 8:12 am

Oh, wow, Carol, my sister in sight: You know the Emperor is naked while affirming those robes!

I just celebrated my 69th birthday. Look at those two digits nestled together, 69. My officially middle-aged daughter playfully reminded me that teenagers giggle about this number. Of course! And I see it as the mystical Yin Yang symbol. This is my Yin Yang year, maybe season.

Just as shading and shadows lend depth, dimension and interest to a drawing, just as the “season of light” (that we recently entered in the northern hemisphere) follows the “season of darkness” when nature rests and restores, lives need a time-out for balance and perspective. Who could appreciate the blessing of a perpetual high?

Yeah, I’ve been wallowing in angst and despair about several things lately. This is an appropriate reaction for the circumstances. Thank you for the reminder that it’s okay and doesn’t last. I know this. And it helps to hear reminders!

I especially like the bit about the “God shaped hole.”

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avatar Carol Hess April 30, 2013 at 10:32 am

Isn’t it interesting how perspective shifts with age, whether it’s a number like 69 or the attitude toward life’s “shading and shadows.” I love the God-shaped hole too. I originally heard it from a sponsor in a 12-step program and never forgot it. I believe the Buddhists call it the “Hungry Ghost.” I’m so glad you’ve joined the conversation here at Star Polisher, Sharon. Welcome! :)

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avatar Vicky White April 30, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Carol, I love your article. I AM a fan of the Law of Attraction and part of it for me is that what we resist persists. If we’re trying to be all sweetness and light, pretending we’re not in the midst of something uncomfortable, there is no space to fully feel what we’re feeling and move through it. Some of my biggest breakthroughs have been when I’ve allowed myself to rant and rave and hide under the blankets and wallow in whatever I’m feeling. There seems to be a letting go that happens then – which is why we often hear about someone reaching rock bottom and suddenly things majorly shift for them. They’ve got so far down, the only thing they could do was let go into that feeling and feel just how hopeless everything seems. What if we allowed ourselves to feel all that before we got to rock bottom?

I think we need the dark in order to find the light. Life is about ups and downs if we intend to evolve – we have lessons to learn, we have shifts to make – especially when many of us are putting out there that we want to evolve and serve others more and love more fully and flow with life more and experience abundance in every day. How do we think that is going to happen?

We need these dark nights of the soul. I feel that I’m coming out of a really long one – a good couple of years – I don’t think they need to take that long. And resisting didn’t help any! But they are what they are, and sometimes we just need someone to listen, to get us, and to be there with us through the ups and downs.

Actually I think that’s what I always need.
And remembering that this is part of my journey, and this too shall pass, when I’m done with it.

And thank goodness I hear some in the LofA field saying something similar. Abraham-Hicks for one (or many!).

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avatar Carol Hess April 30, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Your remarks added so much to this discussion, Vicky. Thank you! Yes, you make a great point — that we need the dark in order to find the light, that we need to embrace and feel it so we can move through it. It’s like that child tugging on your skirt. At first the tug is light, and you ignore it. What does the child do? Tugs all the harder until you have to pay attention. Resistance or pretending there is no dark just doesn’t work. But light always follows dark. And, yes, no matter where we are in our journey, we need support and love. I’m glad you’re coming out of your dark night of the soul, Vicky. Let’s decide that it was worth it because of the light and divine magnificence that awaits you. So glad you stopped by Star Polisher. Welcome! :)

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