It all started on a cold December night. A war was being waged within me.
Each morning, I’d wake up feeling like I had lead flowing through my veins, helping gravity do its job.
I’d drag myself out of bed, doing what I had to do. I was living my passion, surrounded by people I loved, but it felt empty.
Somewhere, in a dusty corner of my being, I knew this too would pass, but there was doubt. I wondered if something had gone horribly wrong in the control room of the Universe.
Maybe an operator had grown an affinity for Vodka, who knows? But I was worried, because I felt like this wasn’t meant to be happening.
I had entered what some call the dark night of the soul.
The year was 2013.
I lost all motivation, hope, and belief in myself.
I didn’t want to do anything. Everything seemed meaningless.
Life had turned from technicolor to a dull gray. It felt like a cosmic vacuum cleaner had sucked all hope from my system.
At first I thought it was a passing thing. But it stuck around, challenging my patience, nudging me to face my feelings.
Only later did I realize that I was forced to re-examine everything I believed in; to determine what was important to me, and what was not.
In the beginning, I resisted. I watched TV series, read books, and tried to run away.
I even stopped meditating, which was a mistake, because meditation had brought me to this dismantling of my inner world, and meditation would get me out.
Then a shift occurred.
I had the following thought: “I give up. I surrender. Let whatever happens happen. If I end up homeless, so be it. If I need to die, so be it.”
After that, I felt the urge to write. Not articles. Not essays. Nothing for the public. Write in a journal. Explore my thoughts.
On Feb 6th, 2013, I wrote my first entry. I began exploring what I was feeling. The first lines of that entry read:
“Any string attached to money comes back and strangles joy when I’m not aware of it. Yet, each strangle teaches. I may be left without oxygen, but filled with wisdom. I try to force [progress] because I fear the changing tide of the future.”
I explored anything and everything that came to mind. As I wrote, I noticed patterns in my thinking; patterns of fear, of defending what I was doing, and of needing permission to do what I felt called to do.
I share this with you because I want to show you that no one is above challenges. We are all human, which means we all keep growing, and we all experience growing pains.
This isn’t about labels like depression. This is about embracing what you’re feeling, and diving deeper into yourself.
No matter how many gold coins you have in the bank, you will experience fear, doubt, and uncertainty.
Going through this helped me see.
The only reason to live is to follow what makes your heart sing.
I don’t know where the road will take me. No one does, and that’s what scares us. But I bring myself back to the present moment and remember that I don’t have to know.
All I have to do is follow the breadcrumbs, to follow my excitement, and to do my best.
That is all that is required, because that is all that is possible.
The writing kept giving.
I kept writing in my journal, exploring my thoughts, asking questions.
Every few pages, I would write down a sentence that felt different. It’s as if it came from a different part of me.
These sentences nudged me in a certain direction. They were like coaching sessions with my ballpoint pen.
The first sentence I wrote told me to get back into my regular meditation practice. The next one told me to look in a book on my book shelf (A Path with Heart).
When I got stuck in unhelpful mental patterns, I picked up my pen and put it down in ink.
I was forced to swallow my own medicine.
I harp about the importance of small steps, of believing in yourself, and of following your heart.
This experience forced me to dive deeper into myself. I cultivated a deeper trust in life. I don’t know if there’s some kind of energy moving us around, like the Force in Star Wars, but it feels that way.
I was forced to surrender to what I was feeling, because there was no escaping it.
Once I stopped trying to run away, and embraced the fear, anxiety, and dread, it began to unravel.
It didn’t happen right away, but being intensely present was like cutting through the thick sludge of dread with a sword.
There was light. There was hope.
A glimmer at first. Then a rush of something bright.
As I write this, years later, I’m in a more accepting place, and I am grateful for what I went through.
So what does all this mean for you?
This road won’t always be easy.
When you follow your heart, especially if you’re into meditation and inner work, there will come a time when you will have to face your demons.
That is, if you want to discover the truth about your nature.
You will want the darkness to go away. But the sooner you face everything, the sooner you’ll realize that you can handle everything.
These bouts of fear, pits of depression, or whatever you want to call them, are signs that old baggage is being tossed into the incinerator.
We’ve been taught to avoid all negativity and sadness, but the key isn’t to run away or suppress what you feel. Instead, it’s to embrace your internal experience.
Sometimes you need to rest and spend time looking inside yourself. It’s easy to forget this in our get-more-done culture.
If you need to work with a professional, do so, but don’t shrink away from your feelings.
Face them head on. Write about them.
You are strong enough to handle whatever comes your way.
Update from 2023
From time to time, I go through old posts and update them, but I’ve left this one intact, because it shows what I went through so clearly.
Writing this from 2023, I am even more grateful that I endured during this period, because there’s now a tremendous amount of freedom, joy, and peace.
Years after this post, there was a shift in perspective that released most of the suffering I had been going through for the last decade. I won’t go into what happened here. If you’re interested, feel free to browse my articles.
All the best,
Articles to Read Next
- Every Time My Life is Falling Apart, Here’s What I Do
- 12 Steps to Overcoming Spiritual Depression (or the Dark Night of the Soul)
- What is the Dark Night of the Soul? (A Complete Guide)
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