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How to Reclaim Your Voice After a Dark Night of the Soul: My Top Coping Strategies for Tough Times #TrueStory #TruthbyBrenda

Resilience | 2 comments

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. One of the things I have done during anniversary dates is book media interviews speaking about gun violence awareness and resilience.

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?

 Tweet it out:
We don’t necessarily choose our circumstances every time, but we can choose to be supported through them.

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…

Love & Blessings,

Brenda MacIntyre, Medicine Song Woman



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    Dearest Brenda
    I am graced by your courageous, deeply honest & true presence. The truth of your loss is so deep … and such a profound mirror of the Wound of Mother throughout the ages … Somehow … someway … in every moment … I pray you feel ‘held’ by the Mother of All Creation … Whom is fully able to feel this wound with you & in you & through you … and is also … at the same time … able to be welcomed by you … to enfold you and all of this … in Her Most Loving … and Deeply Tender … Embrace … Holding you in my own Heart as I crawl into the ever welcoming lap of Divine Mother …Blessed Be … Blessed Be … Blessed Be …


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About Brenda MacIntyre

About Brenda MacIntyre

Known by her indigenous name Medicine Song Woman, Brenda MacIntyre has shared her evocative melodic voice and fusion of reggae, rap and indigenous hand drum healing music with appreciative audiences of 30 to 3,000 across North America. The Toronto-based Juno Award-winning singer has been featured nationally on MuchMusic, CTV, CP24, APTN and most recently, Global and the front page of the Toronto Star.

Powered by her grief from losing her son to murder in 2016, Brenda MacIntyre pours her soulful voice over a confluence of indigenous hand drum healing, soft rap and conscious roots reggae in her album “Picking Up the Pieces,” released in September 2019.

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