Some of you will know that January 31st was the 1st anniversary of the worst day of my life… the day that my son Quinn was murdered. If you didn’t know, please take a big breath and let it out. I know it’s not easy to hear.
I’m now on this new journey of reclaiming my voice yet again in a way that no mother should ever have to do. No matter how spiritual a person is, there is just no sugar coating something like this. It’s the worst of many Dark Nights of the Soul I have experienced.
The past year has been very dark for me. I have sought out and found blessings and teachings in my own experiences since my son’s death, but honestly, nothing makes it better because nothing can bring my son back to me in human form. And it isn’t over! So many people think it’s over but we are only beginning the long tedious court process this spring, and it won’t be over for 2-3 years still or more. So I am randomly being retraumatized with new events, and have had to put many supports in place to help me deal with all of it.
Going through loss, trauma or any kind of Dark Night of the Soul can make you feel like you’ve lost your voice and your identity. I have felt those losses on a deep level in the past year, in my physical voice as well as my personal and business identity. It can cause you to question everything about your life. Apart from the loss or trauma, picking up the pieces and reclaiming your voice and recreating your identity after having your life shattered is one of the hardest things you will ever have to do. But it is doable.
I’ve spent my entire life finding my voice in different ways and on different levels, and I’ve been teaching women to find their voice for the past 18 years. Since I’m immersing myself in what I’ve learned, I thought I’d pass my favourite supports on to you:
1. Drum. I don’t even care if you have a drum! Drum on your body. Drum on pots and pans. Use forks and knives as drumsticks on pots and pans. If you have a drum, then definitely use it. The health benefits of drumming are so vast that it would take another few articles just to talk about them. A few that people experience from my drumming circles and retreats are:
- Ground Yourself.
- Release headaches, back aches and joint pain.
- Release painful emotions (in a minute, I’ll tell you how to do that without having to put anger into your drum).
- Express and amplify positive emotions.
- Build your energy.
- Raise your vibration.
- Connect with the heartbeat of Mother Earth.
- If you’re in circle, you get to connect with everyone else’s heartbeat too.
- Connect with Spirit, deeply and instantly.
2. Release Painful Emotions! Trauma and shock can put you in a bit of a deep freeze or even dissociation. That’s what happened to me over the past year. Your brain and body will know how much and how fast to let out the painful emotions but if you aren’t picking up your body’s and brain’s signals due to trauma or shock, you can end up with physical body pain or illness from emotions lodged inside you. Do your best to let the tears flow, and let go of whatever is coursing through you, right in the moment if you can, or at the very least, soon after when you’re in a safe space. How to release emotions?
- Use Your Voice: Scream into a pillow. Cry. Yell when nobody is around. Sing! Here’s what I just did at a friend’s ceremony. There was an invitation to sound with our voices or an instrument, so I started using a shaker. But then I realized I had free license to let some emotion out through my voice, so I did what we call a buffalo yell in the indigenous community. A Facebook friend even suggested howling like a wolf, which is similar actually. I felt so good!!! I could feel the release happening. And then I realized I could at least do that here without freaking out my cats or alerting the neighbours.
- Rage Room or Anger Room. Is there one in your city? I’m planning on making the trip to the Rage Room in Toronto once my body is ready for me to be smashing things with a crowbar (yes, seriously, they let you do that with protective equipment on!!).
- Dance! Or shake, or move any way you want.
- If you need support for this, talk to me. I do mentoring (not counselling, but spiritual/personal mentoring) and if I’m not the right person for you, I may be able to point you to some resources.
- Listen to music (and of course, sing and dance to it!).
- Some of my other favourite supports to release emotion are massage, chiropractic treatments, acupuncture, other forms of body work, personal mentoring and grief counselling,
3. Immerse yourself in a meaningful project. If you have the energy and motivation for it, dive into a project that can distract you from the pain when you need that, but also stand for something and make a difference for yourself and others. I’ve been working on my very first Women’s Drumming & Singing Retreat, I’m rehearsing daily for a performance at a night club on a huge stage in the first time since the 90’s, and I’m planning a couple of other big projects. Okay, so I’m a bit of an extreme example, but hey, it’s keeping me busy, energized, uplifted and giving me something to look forward to. If you feel called to do this, don’t let yourself overwork (you might want to tell someone to call you out on overworking if that is a tendency). Just let it be a positive distraction to bring you out of the dumps when you need it.
4. Do Ceremony! Don’t let anything stop you, including thinking maybe you don’t know how. We are primal beings at our core. Connect with your spirit and your Higher Realms Support Team the best way you know how, and do what comes to you. Trust your intuition and your guides. Maybe it’s just lighting a candle. Maybe it’s smudging. Maybe it’s going for a walk in nature. It can be whatever nurtures you and helps you to feel, express and be who you are. My ceremonies consist of indigenous and Celtic teachings as well as whatever comes through Spirit in the moment. If you’d like to experience one of my ceremonies, come out to one of my live or virtual events, which always include ceremony.
Even though it can feel like it will never end, what if your Dark Night of the Soul was a ceremony? Yes, perhaps one you were flung into unexpectedly, and not something you asked for or created, but a ceremony still. And we know that every ceremony has a beginning and end. So what sacred items or sacred space could you put together for yourself right now to make your challenges easier to get through? What supports could you begin using?
Hope this helps. If you have ideas or feedback, please share. Getting through a Dark Night of the Soul is never easy, but just consider this…
Thanks & Blessings to you.
Brenda MacIntyre – Medicine Song Woman
If you’ve enjoyed this #TruthbyBrenda article, you can go get your free Find Your Voice Gift Pack, and a subscription to my #TruthbyBrenda Soundbytes, videos and ezine at MedicineSongWoman.com. I’m Brenda MacIntyre, Medicine Song Woman. Blessings of sweet success to you. Until next time, or as we say in the Ojibwe language, ba ma pii.
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