Are you a reader of books? Are you a reader of fiction or non-fiction? Or both? I have always been a reader of non-fiction. I have been drawn to self-help books for many years. I have enjoyed reading books on spirituality, biographies, and memoirs. These books feed my soul, and they tend to appear with the perfect topic at the perfect time for my evolution.
I just finished reading the book Broken Open: How Hard Times Can Help You Grow by Elizabeth Lesser, the co-founder of Omega Institute.
The Omega Institute is world renowned for being a place of healing, growth, transformation, and evolution. They have and continue to host many widely known inspirational and spiritual speakers and presenters. All kinds of workshops and retreats are offered. Elizabeth, being the co-founder, facilitates many retreats and workshops herself, and attends workshops that others facilitate.
Being the co-founder of the incredible Omega Institute, Elizabeth had what it took to found and operate such a magical place, and being connected to such amazing healers and teachers that she is; I saw her as beyond ordinary. As I started reading her book, however, the first thing she shared was how nervous she was facilitating her first retreat — how she felt that she had nothing to offer. As I read these lines, I was a bit jolted by her honesty and vulnerability in sharing her humanness. She even talked about her Phoenix Process, her dark night of the soul, as she turned fifty.
I have heard that every book I read will change my life. I haven’t taken time to reflect on these words until recently. I have read many books along my journey, and each of them has changed my life, although sometimes subtly.
Broken Open showed up at just the right time, as I’m in a stage of life where the time has come to be broken open once again. I had to go to places within me I had previously visited, but this time removing yet another veil to my perception of life. This was not a warm and fuzzy place, and it was unfamiliar having been away from it for so long.
I have come to accept and to embrace that my journey consists of dark nights of the soul. I need to be with the dark nights so that I can question my existence and everything I believe and have known thus far — lifting and removing the veils that distort my true self.
I can’t remove all the veils at the same time because I can’t see them all at the same time. They appear when it is time and when I’m ready. Being ready for me is having the willingness and the courage to walk through the fear, the pain, and the uncertainty of all that is being presented (whether it makes sense or not). I have to trust that there is a higher purpose for it all. I have to believe that it is an amazing gift wrapped in the most unpleasant paper a gift could be wrapped in.
Reading Broken Open helped me walk through this latest dark night of my soul. With Elizabeth sharing her experience of her dark night of the soul with such honesty, vulnerability, and empathy, I didn’t feel so alone. She also conveyed her awakening that under every guru, spiritual leader, and enlightened being, is our humanness. We are all on our own journey and we all have our dark nights of our soul. Giving comfort and encouragement to each other along the way gives us the courage to trust the process.
Comfort and encouragement come in different ways for different people. Broken Open was one of the ways they showed up for me this time, and reading this book has been life changing.
For those of you who might be visiting the dark night of your soul, I honor you for your courage to go to places where most people would rather not go. Trust your journey and all that it presents to you. As the sun rises on the dark night, the most amazing and indescribable gift reveals itself.