"The Dark Night of the Soul"

As you may know, I discovered SWIHA (The SouthWest Institute for Healing Arts) following my Cardiac Arrest, while on my Journey to find a way to help others manage their stress before it killed them too, or before it controlled their lives.  I continue to study at SWIHA and was very surprised to learn a new term today that so well describes what I experienced. 

Linda Bennett, CCHt, PhD wrote, "The Dark Night of the Soul, a term as ancient and timeless as the Earth’s first and greatest philosophers.  If you’ve been there, or going through it now, you definitely understand why this element of change is called the “Dark Night of the Soul”. External crisis in our life may precipitate the event for us.  Maybe it was the death of a close family member or friend, the loss of a soulmate or true love, facing our own mortality, or even the loss of a job or financial ruin.  Maybe it is a traumatic event or events.  Sometimes, it comes out of the blue, perhaps from our own sadness about the state of the world here on Earth. The most common symptoms are:

·       Questioning the meaning of life, and the desire to find your soul’s purpose;

·       Deep introspection, and need for isolation;

·       Feeling great emptiness that is devoid of joy, and the inability to move forward;

·       Inability to tolerate lies, and overwhelming desire for truth, clarity and universal answers.

The Dark Night of the Soul is the beginning of a leap forward in the evolution of YOU.  It is an integral part of the shift that is occurring in the world, and the evolution of the consciousness of humanity. For most, the leap cannot be made without experiencing the darkest places in our consciousness. Fears, distrusts, losses, and perhaps even an unexplained and very deep sadness about events will all begin to come to the surface for questioning and healing.  Many people with PTSD will go through this.  Usually around the time they are preparing to begin healing. 

Have you been through a Dark Night of the Soul, or known someone close who has?"

I read this homework assignment and began my response.

I found my way to SWIHA in the midst of “a Dark Night of the Soul”, although I was unfamiliar with the concept or term until this moment!  Following my Cardiac Arrest and Near Death Experience with a trip to Heaven, I questioned the meaning of life.  I had just survived a health trauma which kills 9 out of 10 people who experience it, and 7 out of 10 who experience it in the hospital.  “Why did I survive?”, I asked.  And, “why did this happen?”.  I have no heart defect.  It caused no heart damage. I had no symptoms.  Why did my heart stop upon registering for a yoga class at my (then) favorite yoga studio surrounded by people I know?  Clearly, there was a lesson in this.  And more importantly, a mission.  What was it?  None of this made any sense.  To recap:  I was healthy. I was practicing yoga.  I taught health and wellness.  I was a vegetarian/vegan.  I felt fine.  But my heart stopped. I had died of a stress induced Cardiac Arrest.  I didn’t know I was stressed.  I had no symptoms. 

Community Based Cardiac Arrest is fatal for 9 out of 10 people.  I survived.  Why was I saved?  Why did Lori, an ER nurse who lives 300 miles away, just happen to walk into the yoga studio a minute after my heart stopped?

As I recovered physically, I entered a period of Deep introspection but I do not recall much need for isolation. I needed some quiet time to think and to read, but I do not necessarily recall it as a need for isolation.  Or perhaps it was, but not for an extended period of time. 

I felt frustrated.  It was not coming to me.  Afterall, I had spent all but two years of my career in healthcare.  Most of that time was in marketing and business development through promotion of health and wellness.  I had been teaching people,  “Take Charge of Your Health” on “Your Journey to Wellness”.  I had taught personal healthcare accountability and responsibility through lifestyle habits.  The thought of simply returning to that did not seem to be the answer to my soul’s purpose.  Somehow it seemed that I needed to help people with their stress, but the only thing I knew was changing lifestyle habits and medications.  I was definitely Questioning the meaning of life, and the desire to find my soul’s purpose.  I saw this as a huge second chance.

For a while, I continued doing what I was doing.  I felt great emptiness devoid of joy, and felt an inability to move forward because I felt there was a purpose I was missing.  I became a certified Health and Wellness Coach. That was just more of same.  I became certified in Plant Based Living. Again, more of same.  I decided to pursue Yoga Teacher Training.  Maybe there was a clue about why it happened in the yoga studio.   Nope.  That wasn’t it.  I love yoga.  Just as I love health and wellness.  But teaching yoga wasn’t my purpose.  My life felt like it was missing something.  And then I felt ridiculous for feeling that!  I am a survivor.  I have EVERYTHING to be grateful for including four awesome sons who had each just become engaged.  How could anything be missing?!  But I continued to hear my Beloved Dad’s voice, when, in Heaven, he told me I needed to “go back”.  That I had “work to do”.  But what?

And then, in the midst of helping to plan four weddings, a banner scrolled across my computer screen.  “SouthWest Institute for Healing Arts”.  Okay, I had attended other schools.  I wonder what this is.  I clicked on it.  I picked up the phone.  I reached Tristan.  I asked her about Hypnotherapy.  I enrolled for my first class.  And I began to study. 

Somewhere in there I knew I had found my purpose.  What did it take to re-emerge from this period of transition? I had died of a stress induced Cardiac Arrest.  I didn’t know I was stressed.  I had no symptoms.  Through SWIHA I found a way to help others realize their symptoms are stress induced; to realize they are experiencing stress whether it is manifesting physically, and/or in fears, phobias, habits, anxiety.  I found a way to help them identify the root cause of their stress and their symptoms.  I found a way to help them manage their stress before it killed them or managed their lives in some other way.  I now practice what I call “HypnoFusion™”.  It is Hypnotherapy based, and primarily Hypnotherapy. But I use my certifications in health and wellness, plant based living, and yoga to guide my clients through their stress.

I celebrate each day and each client. 

I still experience an Inability to tolerate lies, and overwhelming desire for truth, clarity and universal answers.  Perhaps that is left over from my whole experience.  But I consider it to be a good thing.  I have no space for lies or those who deliver them.  But I CAN help them.  And as far as overwhelming desire for truth, clarity and universal answers, I continue to learn through SWIHA, through reading, from other light healers, and from my amazing clients.

And when I tell Linda and my other wonderful SWIHA teachers, Thank you and Namaste’, please know where it is coming from and that I mean it.