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The dark night of the soul

“The dark night of the soul” is a poem by mystic John of The Cross, mainly it speaks of spiritual awakening, wandering in complete darkness and pain, purifying yourself until you find yourself on the other side. Sort of a soul purgatory. Suffer through it and you will be in a better place than ever in relation to the transcendent. There are numerous references to it in pop culture, and many see it as a sorta methaphore applicable to our life in general, when bad things happen, how we sometimes have to walk the dark night of the soul to carry on.

I see it as seizing to resist a wave that’s gonna wash over you anyway, and much slower if you don’t just let it. Unhappiness, and I am not talking mental ilnesses now, I’m talking about what we all have and feel at times, is a bit of a stigma. We only show and focus on perfection and happiness in social media. We’re supposed to drown the feel-bad out. Using coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, self help excersizes, therapy, medicine, pretty things, work, walks, workouts and self help books. OK, so some of these things are not bad. I even encourage them in healthy doses.

But when you suffer a loss like heartbreak, death of a family member/friend, or something similar, I mean… at least I need that Dark Night. Those few days where I just let go. I’m not saying not working or doing things that need to be done, but accepting that you might lay down on the sopha for a while and break into ugly cry. Feeling like you’re never gonna be happy again. Allowing yourself to feel that utter ache and saying: “Hey, I can’t take this any more, I give up, I leave this to chance/god/earth/the powers/the energies/insertyourbeliefhere because I sure as hell can’t fight it anymore” When I allow this, it usually takes me days to recover, not weeks or months (well, depending on what happened) and usually things that have been gnawing in my subconscious gets released and disappears as well. A mood cleanser, not counting the release of your sorrow. It works. If I don’t have to, I try not to be around people those days. Not for my sake. Not for the so-I-can-ugly-cry sake. But I am… shall we say “ynklig” (puny on the border of pathetic) those days, total buzz kill, neurotic, feeling unloved by dogs (ask my friend who visited this monday and got a perfect sample) and humans alike. Hey, it needs to come gushing out if I want it gone.

Because of the recent events I’ve already told you about, I’ve had a few of those days. They might have been fewer but I avoided splurting it out over my family who visited (sorry friend, that you got the blast, you arrived at point break), I’m still stupid enough to resist a while, even though I damn well know it’s a good thing. Because, lets face it, no one likes pain. Inoculations may be important at times, but we still don’t like to get them, right? A good thing is I find myself completely in the frequency of the creative world I’ve been talking about the days after it’s over. So I write, doodle, compose and create for whole days. Don’t get me wrong, it’s better to be in a good place and tune in to the frequency like someone with skilled fingers turning a radio knob, but hey, might as well make good use of it when it’s here, wouldn’t you agree? So I light the insence and get cracking. I go to rehearsals (had a lovely one today with talks of colonisation on mars) and get cracking. I watch films, listen to music and I just feel like I can do something with all of it. I create at work and at home.

I do recommend you read this poem. Even if you’re not spiritual, it’s eerily familiar. John of the Cross, Dark night of the soul.

Just to get all the references to it. I know Sparklehorse included it in a song and I do realize there’s a contradiction here as Linkous killed himself. But it’s worth a listen. And the poem’s worth a read. If anything, it gives you hope. After all, when there’s no hope left, you can’t even get to that level of ache, sadness and sense of loss.

I do promise my next post is gonna be a brighter one, the creative fingers wanted to do this post right now. I just wanted to shine a light on the poem, for those of you who haven’t heard it or it’s interpretation, or those of you who have heard the references and tried to figure them out 🙂



About lillabohmen

Swedish lovechild of Kate Bush, Tori Amos and PJ Harvey. 2 albums and 2 EP:s, all available at Spotify, Itunes, and physically. A blog about music, being a female musician in a male dominated business and the occasional feminist/veggie rant. Check out my homepage: for news, bits and bobs and bio, and buy-o of my music. Never lose that creative spark!

2 responses to “The dark night of the soul

  1. Andy

    A bit of darkness is inspirational too 🙂

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