Trying to make sense of life from a young age, I spent many years attempting to find a cure for my ills. Periodically suffering with intense anxiety and often struggling in relationships, I felt as if I was fundamentally flawed or broken in some way. Like many of us do, I went to a variety of psychotherapists and other practitioners, but never really found the healing I was looking for.
In my twenties, I was a community development worker in an inner city area. I also played bass in an all-women band. After a near-breakdown, a precursor of the dark night that was to come years later, I changed direction in my early thirties and became a complementary health practitioner. I seemed to gradually get back on track, and ended up setting up a health-focused social enterprise which won a national award just before the government funding ran out.
Having lost my beloved job and all that went with it, my life – and I – fell apart. I experienced a four year dark night of the soul. My persona, the identity that I’d built to compensate for the inner sense of brokenness, crumbled. I began to look more deeply, mostly because there was no other option. I had to face the pain of my difficult and sometimes traumatic childhood. Whilst often desperate for some relief or solution, it became clear that this was a process of unbecoming, of unravelling. The awakening process that began during this time continues to this day.
After a while, despite continuing difficulties and struggles, I began to learn how to be with myself, how to accompany myself regardless of whatever state I was in from day to day. I also began exploring ways of continuing the deep looking that had begun in the dark night, and ended up becoming a facilitator of the Living Inquiries, a type of inquiry originated by Scott Kiloby and co-created by Julianne Eanniello, Colette Kelso, Lisa Meuser and I. The inquiries continue to evolve as we ourselves evolve, taking us deeper into mind, body and soul and discovering the wisdom that lies therein.
It’s a real joy to work in this way. To hold the space whilst someone connects with or remembers long-forgotten or neglected parts of themselves. To witness the transformations that occur when someone is able to finally express what has been silenced, hidden or unacknowledged. To take a dive into the unknown, into the deep creativity and intelligence that resides in all of us, if we are willing to look.
I continue to do my own looking, often working with other facilitators. I now experience life in an entirely different way than I used to. I no longer feel broken. My life is – as with all of us – a mix of tragedy and comedy, challenges and joys, and yet there is an aliveness in me that wasn’t there before.
I am the author of two books. The Art of Finding Yourself: Live Bravely and Awaken to Your True Nature is a collection of articles about the Living Inquiries. My latest book, The Dark Night of the Soul: A Journey from Absence to Presence is a profound exploration of spiritual crisis.
If you’d like to know more about my personal journey, feel free to ask.