Hello my name is Heidi and I’m thriving after surviving my dark night of the soul experience.
 
Call the experience whatever you like but the dark night of the soul is both an internal and external experience that I believe every one of us will experience at least once, if not several times across our life journey. It’s that point in our journey where either in an instant or over a prolonged period we find ourselves at a crossroad. At the edge of our comfort zone with two hands on our back forcing us out onto the unknown path. I found myself landing in a place where there are more questions than answers, with faith being the only thing I could cling onto. It felt like on the way down everything that I had come to believe as being true about myself was being stripped away. I was already exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally. It felt like all the energy I could muster was being used up in the struggle to stay constant with who I believed I was, what I was capable of and who I believed I needed to be to continue to survive within the world I had created for myself.
 
Unbeknown to me I’d also spent at least the last 4 years carrying around a non-malignant grapefruit sized fibroid growth in my womb, which was sucking the iron from my blood stream literally draining the oxygen carrier from my body. And whilst the embolisation procedure I underwent to resolve this was quick and seamless, the energetic rebuilding process was something I certainly had not banked upon. I felt like a walking zombie. At times I could muster up enough strength to pull on the ‘I’m good, thanks mask’ and excitedly chat about the myriad of things I’d been learning or exploring, but once that conversation was done I’d retreat back to my couch and into my thoughts of how I was failing at life.
 
All I could see ahead of me were more questions, mostly ‘how?’ ones. How is this going to work, how am I going to do that, how is that going to change, how am I going to make money and how am I going to provide satisfactory answers to the seemingly endless list of questions that it feels like everyone else has for me? When what I really needed was hugs, love and nurturing instead I found myself having to eyeball my own fears, as I listened instead to other people express their own emotional discomfort about what I was doing or more specifically what I as I was not doing.
 
Life lessons often appear unexpectedly and they hurt, I guess that’s what makes them memorable. About a year into my journey whilst I was still in fight mode to maintain my ‘I’ve got this’ persona, I had a crossroads experience that forced me to make a choice – to follow the path of the group or to make a choice for me. I’d met up with a group of female friends for a bush walk to a beach, my first outing with my very excited energetic 5 month old Labrador puppy. The group wanted to wait for a late arrival who was due shortly, so I started the walk a bit ahead of them. Well, as happens in peaceful environments, sound travels. So whilst I may have been out of their eyesight, I unfortunately was not out range of hearing various members of the group expressing their opinions about me, my life decisions and their perspectives on my capabilities at achieving various things.
If you’ve ever thought that being a fly on the wall might be fun, trust me it’s not. This was one of the most heart wrenching things I have ever had the misfortune of overhearing, particularly the anticipation of waiting for someone, anyone, to speak up for me and just experiencing their silence instead. It was like the teenage girl tribe behaviour from 40-50+ year old women. It was horrible and very hurtful. But then, as always happens in life, the crossroad appeared.
 

Literally around the next bend there was a fork in the path. Left to the beach where the group was going, or right to exit by taking a loop track back. I vividly remember standing at the fork, looking up and saying ‘thank you Universe’. I’ve always been a huge supporter of making choices.

I believe as humans whether we are conscious of it or not, we get to choose who we are, who we become, what we say when we open our mouths, what we think about, where we direct our energy etc. There will always be people around us who will make different choices that we might. How much time and energy we invest in comparing and contrasting their choices to our own is up to us. We can stand up, clap and ask people how can I help you, or we can choose to be a critic. It’s all a choice.

 
My challenge was of course, that I feared everything that was being said about me was actually true. They were expressing all my worst fears about who I was and what I wasn’t capable of doing etc. It felt like they were shaking the last remaining leaves from the branches of my faith tree and stomping them into the mud to feed their own sense of Significance.
 
So I made a choice that day to take the path to the right and exit. I made a promise to myself in the moment to surround myself with people who have already mastered the art of growing past that fear based behaviour I had just been listening to, because that was not who I wanted to be. In reality, none of their conversation was actually about me it was simply an internal conversation that they were having with the ghosts in their own machines, voicing their own fears and discomforts.
 
I was already sick and fatigued and what I really needed to do was rest and recuperate, not to feel that I need to prove or defend myself. I needed to take a different path. So I did. Little did I know what life had planned for me next.