The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, November 19, 2010

Step #7: Dark Night of the Soul

Dark Night of the Soul

"My soul is full of discord and dismay..."

The Dark Night of the Soul is the moment when it feels that all of our abilities and efforts will be insufficient to meet the task at hand. In "Hamlet," there are many such moments, but one that clearly looms large is his accidental murder of Polonius, an old retainer listening behind the curtains as Hamlet upbraids his mother.

His mother Queen Gertrude believes her son is deeply shamed, and she's probably right. In addition to shame, however, there is self-doubt, homicidal fury and doubtless other emotions all mixed together. Powerful emotions cloud reason and perception, making it difficult to see options that are directly in front of us. Who among us has not had such moment? In fact, it is almost impossible to achieve anything of worth without cycling through moments of exultation and depression. One of the most fascinating things is that we tend to have selective amnesia. We just don't remember that the depression is part of the cycle, and we come through it, we survive, and go on with our lives. And that lack of memory is probably a tool of the ego: after all, if we remembered that we had had survived failures and disappointments in the past, we wouldn't be afraid of the future and might, just MIGHT actually act with courage and decisiveness. And if we did that, we would change.

And of course, our egos can't stand THAT.

Here's a trick that has worked for my clients: the next time you're feeling GREAT, write a letter or record a your future self. Heck, you know you're going to be depressed again, why kid yourself? So create a message to that depressed "you", telling yourself whatever you'll need to hear to get yourself going again. Then, either give the letter to a friend, or tuck it away safely, to be used the next time eating Draino starts looking good.

You'll be amazed at the results!


This Saturday: note the new time
Increase your energy:
Saturday, November 20, 2010 12:30 PM Pacific Standard time
(724) 444-7444
Call ID: 77111


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