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Paul Hayward

The Long Dark Night

Posted by Paul Hayward

163 Days Ago

We always seem to be in such a rush nowadays. If we want to know something, we just look at our “Smart” phones. The answer is instant- no effort is needed from us, just demand and passive consumption.

We are ‘served’ at self-check outs- for our speed and convenience. It also removed that need for a bit of human contact.

We go from one (social) appointment to another. And what do we do in between? We look at our phones. Or, at home, at our tablet, PC, Xbox or TV. Anything but peace, quiet, stillness, oneness with ourselves. Anything, perhaps, rather than face our own Long, Dark Night of the Soul.

What do I mean by this strange term? I’m using it to mean when we realise that we have lost sight of who we are. The old way of life doesn’t mean anything anymore. The old certainties have left us, leaving us with nothingness or despair. In old, religious, terms we’ve lost (touch with) our soul.

When we realise this, or of we come close to even becoming aware of it, our first instinct is to do something- almost anything to distract us. Phone a friend, have a drink, look at Facebook… almost anything rather than look at the fundamentals of life square in the face: I am born alone, I will die alone. My life has, objectively and rationally, no meaning. I am alone in my head. And, perhaps because of all this, I am free to do whatever I will. If we accept any or all of this, it is no wonder we would rather not think about it!

But, and it’s a big ‘but’… if we do. If we do think about it, feel about it, intuit about it, poke around the Long Dark Night until we are way outside of our comfort zones- what then? Perhaps, just perhaps, life begins on the other side of what we fear…

It is a long, hard, arduous, almost impossible task to undergo such an experience. Most of us will turn back at the start or near enough. Some of us will try again and again, perhaps getting a little further sometimes. My experience is that it is easier with two- with one on the outside, an anchor, a sense of connection even as I realise I am fundamentally alone. A degree of comfort.

A client with terminal cancer once remarked it was like being on a yacht in the ocean at night, feeling alone with the light from other yachts providing some comfort. This to me is psychotherapy- being present to and for someone as they undergo their personal Long Dark Night of the Soul.

Perhaps you will try it some time. Perhaps it will try you…..


Paul Hayward

Article written by Paul Hayward - Deal

I offer a friendly and professional service to help you make the changes you would like to in your life. I have worked in finance, education and social care and in various other roles.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

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