• Sharyn Atkinson

Dark Night of the Soul Survival Guide

Many people experience what is known as the ‘dark night of the soul’ which is terminology used to describe the collapse of a long-held perception or belief system. When this begins to crumble we can feel lost, like we don’t know what is real anymore and it’s very common to start doubting other beliefs too and feel overwhelmed by the whole experience.


Because these feelings are so intense, unpleasant and confronting many people want to stop at this point, and vow to never experience another dark night of the soul again. Acknowledging and replaying an unpleasant experience in your mind, does not heal wounds though and what can happen is that instead of allowing a long-held perception or belief crumble, we energetically decide it is easier to keep it in place and tuck that experience away somewhere where we do not need to deal with it again.


In addition to that emotional turmoil, we can be fearful of where we are headed and who we will become if we continue down this path. We have false perception energies in place because they help us in some way and they have for a large portion of our lives. If you take away how you have always done these things, then it can be distressing if we don’t know who we will become afterwards and I understand why many people pull the pin at this point and never want to do it again.


Uncertainty and fear can bubble to the surface, we feel challenged in ways we have never been before and we reach out tolerance threshold very quickly, so we stop going through the motions, hoping that we have done enough to clear the energy because we don’t want to do it again.


Unfortunately, connecting to and acknowledging these feelings throughout your awakening does not necessarily clear the energy of the situation. It’s just an acknowledgement, if doing shadow work becomes difficult and we feel as though we’re tried of dealing with it because of the emotional burden, all we end up doing is hiding the energy somewhere so we don’t have to face it. But part of this process that is not really spoken about is that when you clear this crappy energy, you fill up with the light of higher vibrational feelings that you select intentionally. That’s the best part!

If you feel highly triggered by something, go further, clear it until the situation no longer pushes your buttons. You know you have cleared energy successfully when you are able to speak about a traumatic experience, calmly as though you were speak about the weather.


If you think of a situation and it makes you want to cry, you are most likely hiding this energy somewhere because you don’t want to deal with it on some level. And that’s ok too, you can only clear and release what you are ready to. How you clear stagnant energy makes no difference, we all have our own preferences. There is no rule book on how to clear energy, but it’s important that you replace it with what you prefer so that your future can be filled with a higher choice and you aim higher.


Many people can become anxious about the future if they do not know what life is going to throw at them when their old patterns are removed. The good news is, the easiest way to know what is going to happen, is to deliberately create the experience you want to have instead. You don’t necessarily need to work out how you will achieve the outcome, but you do need to know what your life will be like once you have released energy blockages. You need to choose what you prefer.


I’ll let you in on a secret, if you are freeing yourself from the limitations of shadow and deliberately creating your future, you have nothing to worry about because you’re the one creating it. You’re choosing what to experience next. You’re choosing the ways you receive love and feel safe in the future. The best part is when it shows up, it often turns out to be better than you imagined, and I will go through a simple way you can achieve this in a moment.


Getting Stuck in Shadow Energy

Before we dive into the exercise I want to highlight one area people get stuck when they do shadow work. Every now and then I will have a client who gets stuck in the energy they want to let go of because they end up playing with the energy, wondering why they did x and the other person did y and how terrible the entire experience was.


When we begin to contemplate ‘why’ things happen, the universe will show you why because you want to know. As a result, you can end up experiencing more of the same crappy circumstances that you are trying to avoid.


The truth is, you will never know why another person did, said or behaved a particular way because you are not them. My opinion here is to stop wondering why because you will torture yourself trying to find answers that are not there. This is not healing. This is a process of wrapping the energy around you tighter, giving your permission to experience more of it. Unintentionally of course, but that outcome is not what you desire so when you notice that this is what you are doing, you need to make a conscious effort to stop, and shift your focus.


When we feel a particular way, it usually triggers a pattern of behaviour within us. Negative feelings tend to bring our survival instincts in to protect us and we re-act a particular way on autopilot. This is typically linked to a pattern of behaviour that we either learnt from someone when we were in our formative years, or something we made up ourselves.


For example, as a child we may have had siblings who took our toys from us which can be a distressing experience for any child. A child’s reaction could be to cry and run to Mum for help so they can have their toys back. Which is completely understandable. This can quickly become a pattern that lasts for years, if not decades and gradually extends beyond the family unit.


Later in life if we feel we have had something taken from us, we can feel sorry for ourselves, not know what to do and still look to others to help us do something to resolve the situation rather than take ownership of it as an adult. This pattern can pave the way for other low density feeling to become part of the pattern and lead to feelings of helplessness, overwhelm, anxiety, indecision, apathy, feeling unsupported in life and so forth.


As you can see, this one experience as a child can shape how we feel and react to a variety of situations until we choose to do something about it. My method to approach this is to simply go back to the first instance it occurred and clear it.


I go to the root of the issue and dismantles the foundation of what these experiences are based on so they can all be released. Imagine a pile of bricks for a moment, with each brick representing a time when you may have felt like people took advantage of you. If you work with and clear the most recent experience of it, you can remove the brick on top but the energy of this is still very much in place. Whereas if you remove the brick on the bottom of the pile, the whole lot come tumbling down.


This is what this exercise is going to focus on, the root cause so you can navigate through the dark night of the soul without finding yourself getting stuck in the stories and playing with the energy you are trying to release.


You will need a pen and piece of paper for this exercise.


Dark Night of the Soul Survival Exercise

1. When you feel triggered, what emotion comes up?

Avoid asking ‘why’ you feel this way. The ‘why’ is not important. Allow yourself to connect to the feeling, knowing that you are in full control and you can stop connecting to it anytime you choose. What feeling is it? Anger, sadness, betrayal, disrespect, guilt, ashamed etc? Be honest with yourself because this is your opportunity to let it go. Be brave, you can do this. You are in full control.


2. How old were you when did you first felt this way?

Most people create blockages between the ages of 0 and 7 so if you recall something from a young age, you are more than likely one hundred percent correct. Trust the answer you get within the first three seconds. If you begin to analyse all of the different stories you are holding on to, stop and ask the question again.


3. What were you doing when this happened?

Just observe what you were doing until something happened to trigger that feeling. How did you react?


4. Did you copy this feeling or reaction from someone else or is it your own?

It could be a parent, a teacher or sibling that you saw react this way and you chose to mimic their behaviour. It could be something you saw on television that led you to believe this was a good approach or your feelings and reactions could something you created.


5. How did you believe this feeling, behaviour or pattern would help you?

We usually believe that there is some sort of trade off with our reactions to things. So if we react a certain way, we will get what we want, which could be more love, feeling understood, respected, coddled, nurtured, cared for… These are all core survival mechanisms that kick in as children because we want to make sure people love us, look after us and protect us… unfortunately as children, we don’t have a lot of life experience to draw on so we can end up making some pretty poor choices that carry over into our adult lives. But as adults, we know of much better ways to approach situations, we know that we can take care of ourselves too. So by reacting a particular way in the past, what did you want to get out of it?


Now for the fun part... Deliberately Creation

6. Declare, firmly, that you are no longer the same person and you no longer need to re-act in that way as it only leads you to a pattern/ repetitive life dramas that you do not like. This pattern no longer helps you as it once did. It has outlived its usefulness. This realisation and declaration alone can be incredibly powerful and release energetic blockages of this variety quickly. But you must mean it and have conviction behind your declaration otherwise your body will not take you seriously. You have seniority over your space and your beliefs, and the power to command change, so practice flexing this muscle.

7. Choose what you prefer, how you want to experience life, what you want your next job to be like, what you want your relationships to be like and so forth so that you can create it.


Many people struggle with knowing what they want, so if you cannot think of something, that’s ok. You can choose a feeling which could be as simple as ‘happiness’ and from there you may choose to experience more happiness each day.