I recently found myself at a bookstore and as I was wandering around I heard my Guides say "Sonia Choquette". OK, I know who she is, in fact I read two of her books "The Psychic Pathway” and "Ask Your Guides" when I first began my Spiritual path, but I hadn't really looked at her latest book "Walking Home". But I listened to my guides, picked it up and read the intro over some tea.
Well, the first bit of the book illuminated something truly fundamental to what a spiritual path is all about. Sonia Choquette recently experienced a time in her life when suddenly everything was in question. After the death of her father and then her brother, she began a period of deep inner reflection. She explains that her life, her priorities and even her marriage were no longer honest representations of her Spirit. She felt disconnected from her self, so she decided to walk the famous and ancient pilgrimage in Spain, the Camino. She committed to walking this trek to help herself find forgiveness and healing but most of all; she was seeking reconnection to her true self, her Spirit. Sonia was facing a dark night of the soul.
I believe that we all have these moments of reckoning, and they come no matter who you are, how evolved you are or how successful or not successful you are. For me, this moment was also precipitated by a death, the death of my younger brother to a drug overdose. When he was gone, I realized that I had been living my life by defining myself by all of the hardships I had overcome. I was suddenly tired of all of those old tales about pain, fear and hardships of my childhood. I realized that all of the time I spent with my therapist rehashing the past was essentially reinforcing all of the things, people and events that I most needed to release. I began to question myself: wasn't there more to me than just an accumulation of experiences, triumphs and hardships? Every time I looked in the mirror or talked about my life I heard the same stories, saw the same images, felt the same relived over pain again and again. Why was I doing this? I could feel it was time to let go of the past. But I was afraid – I didn’t know who I was without all of my familiar stories. How could I let go of everything that I thought made me who I was? But I knew I had release the past to in order to go on. I was facing my dark night of the soul.
A dark night of the soul is often the beginning of a spiritual awakening. The soul will arrange the circumstances necessary to get you to become conscious of yourself and your life in a new way. Often these circumstances are a series of extreme events that challenge you to your core. Your soul creates events that force you to see more of the picture of who you are than you have been seeing – it makes you break down the images, thoughts and narrative you have constructed about your life. Often these challenges come in the form of illnesses, deaths and the dissolution of relationships. Your Soul does this not to punish you, but to help you discover how much more there is to you than the stories you have been telling yourself. It makes you find the light through the darkness.
A dark night of the soul is about opening to the truth behind the truth-it is about looking beyond what you think you know about yourself and opening to the real truth that your Spirit is wise and powerful and has so much more to offer than any self-victimization or aggrandizement that your ego could ever invent. When you begin to reach down within and question everything about yourself; when you can be honest and see that there is something missing in your life; when you sift through the layers of half-truths and when you feel the darkest; is when your soul is reaching for the light.
Why does it need to be so uncomfortable? Well, think about your belief system before you opened to Spirit. Was there room for belief in your Spirit as an eternal soul on a path of growth? Was there space for your Guides, Angels and Loved Ones? Probably not. Chances are there wasn’t much room there at all to accept that you are a Spirit inside a body, that you have a team of Spiritual supporters guiding, assisting and loving you towards your Highest and greatest good at all times. Sometimes our Spirits need us to break down our existing belief structure in order to build it anew from the Light within.
Sonia Choquette's pilgrimage is a great metaphor for the path we are all on: heading towards that unburdening and revelation of the soul within. It is also a poignant reminder that no matter where we are on our life path, here on earth we are all here to grow, to evolve and to learn. Sonia is wise enough to admit that the Spiritual pathway is a life long one, for all of us. When your life reaches that critical moment where everything seems like it is just falling apart, try to remember that is precisely when you are closer to your Spirit than ever before. If you feel yourself in this place, take heart and know there are many who walk those dark hallways with you, and we come out the other side.
Remember, it is through these trials that we find our real truth about the power and the Light within.