The Dark Night of the Soul and You

Sometimes the road we are traveling down becomes bumpy. The path narrows, the sunshine gets pushed out by the brush surrounding us. We trip over rocks that pop up out of nowhere. We can find our way through, but it feels like real effort. Every step takes thought and consideration and your mind feels full to the brim and overflowing. Am I going the right way? Did I remember to pack water? Did I pay the electric bill and find a sitter for the kids' day off and call the doctor's office again because they never called me back? 

Sometimes this is a stage of life we are passing through. It's a tough climb but we know that after we get through this tricky portion of the path we will see the sun poking through the trees in the distance.

Other times, though, we find the brush getting thicker. The rocks are becoming boulders that we need to scramble over to get by. A mile takes hours. The trail markers have disappeared and we are out in the wilderness alone. We are hungry. Hungry for sustenance and light and ease. 

We think to ourselves: One more night alone in this tent on the edge of the cliff and surely, the path will clear tomorrow. 

But it doesn't.


This is the Dark Night of the Soul from Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey. I love teaching the Hero's Journey because it feels so relatable. If you reflect on your own life, have there been times of the Dark Night of the Soul? 

The thing about the Dark Night of the Soul is that what comes after it can be life-changing. Curious about that part of the journey? Sign up for my Hero's Journey workshop where we will be talking all about it.

Don't have time to write? Create a writing ritual.

While I have always kept a journal, I decided in 2014 that I wanted to develop my writing style and eventually share my work. I also decided that in order to do so I needed to create a writing ritual that encouraged me to write. Every Friday morning I would go to a local coffee shop and set up my laptop. I had one hour. It took me weeks to write a single essay.

It was worth every minute. My heart would get heavy as the end of my hour was nearing. I would squeeze in a couple of last sentences and then drag my feet out to the parking lot to get home to help Curt with the kids. Writing filled a need in me. I felt deeply connected to this practice.

It wasn't until early 2016 that I launched Orchid Story as a blog and that was months before Orchid Story became a business. See what I'm trying to spell out for you here? It's ok to take things slow. It's ok if you start writing and don't share your work for years, if ever. It's ok if you can only squeeze in 15 minutes twice a week. 

What is most critical in my experience is that you create a ritual for yourself around writing. Rituals help us connect our outer lives to our inner lives. Rituals allow us to be intentional with our time and to create experiences that make us feel good and connected to who we are at our core. Rituals allow me to take ownership of my time, when it might otherwise pass by in a blur. 

If you have been wanting to write, but just can't figure out how to fit it into your days, my writing ritual worksheet is for you. If you have been wanting to write, but couldn't figure out how to start, my worksheet will help. It's a one pager, mostly questions with checkboxes to inspire you to start your writing practice. Why not decide that this is the summer that you will finally put pen to paper and get started?

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Doors are closing soon for Rewrite Your Story!

If you're still considering signing up for Rewrite Your Story I hope these words encourage you to fill out the application today. It's the last call!

What's the shape of your journey?

What's the shape of your heroine's journey? 

Before you examine this question for yourself, have an understanding of your particular journey in mind. Ask yourself what you feel you've been called to do in this life. If that doesn't sit quite right or feels too broad, try looking at your journey as your path to finding your truest self. A journey of self-development. I love how author Elizabeth Gilbert talks about her own journey in this way. 

In the work I've done investigating the Heroine's Journey, I've come across three shapes of the path: circle, spiral, labyrinth. 
 

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Circle: This is the traditional representation and the one I tend to relate to the most. The reason is that there is a closure, a sort of ending as the circle comes back around to the top. To me it suggests that there is an end in sight to the journey. We will come to a completion. 
Of course, the flip side is that the circle might represent a never-ending journey of coming around and starting back up again. So that just as you have reached a sort of ending, you are thrown back into all of the hard stuff that comes with being a beginner. 

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Spiral: Another representation is the spiral. Think spiral staircase. We make progress and our view changes as we grow, with each step we take. We continue up the staircase as we age and mature; we can look down and see the many stairs we have climbed to get to the place where we are currently. I think this is a beautiful and peaceful representation, but one that maybe feels a little daunting (I'm gonna be climbing these stairs forever?). If the spiral feels like you, check out this article. I love the idea of our highest self reaching out to us from above to lend guidance. 

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Labyrinth: When I heard Elle Luna and Susie Herrick interviewed on the podcast Heroine about their new book "Your Story is Your Power" I almost fell off my chair. Wasn't that my book? (My tagline is Your Story is Your Strength.) I got over myself and bought it that day. Partway through I've already learned so much from these brilliant ladies. They are the ones who introduced me to the template of the labyrinth for your journey. Here's what they say about the labyrinth: "It is not a direct line from one point to another, but an organic, evolving process that takes time and moves to its own rhythm." Soothing, right? 

It feels good to step out of the go, go, go for a moment to reflect on our path. If you found yourself nodding along while reading this, please join me for the workshop I'm leading on Sun April 8th in Vienna, VA (and share with a friend). 

Help me decide!

I'm squirreled away hard at work getting my class content into a new format for my online class coming this spring! I'm making great progress and would love your insight. 

Which of these versions do you like best for the title slide? Let me know in the comments. Find out more about class here. Hope to see you there in a couple of weeks.

What is the reason why?

I love, love, love when I get questions from my community. It helps me create new content and it sheds light on where I can be more clear. 

One question that came up: 

What are the different ways to use your story?

This is so important to consider. But before we get to the different ways to use your story, I suggest you start with this question:

What is the reason WHY you are telling your story?

Let me get a little more specific. Let's say the reason why you are telling your story is because you are a business owner who wants to connect on a deeper level with your clients. What you can do with your story when you come at it from this angle would be much different than if your reason why is to dive into a struggle you've experienced because you want to find new meaning in it.

I want to help you explore this for yourself, so I made you a worksheet to help you answer this question. We'll get more specific about what to do with your story in upcoming posts.

Get the worksheet by signing up for my newsletter before Thursday Feb 15th at 5pm EST. 

You'll get my Storytelling Insights download immediately and I'll send you a personal hello email with the Reason Why worksheet attached in a second email. Already on my list? Check your email - it's already been delivered straight to you!