• Tana Daughtrey

Lessons From My Dark Night of The Soul

Updated: Feb 19, 2018



Dark Night of the Soul is a term used to describe a specific phase in a person’s spiritual life…the experience of loneliness and desolation in one’s life. Wikipedia

To me a Dark Night of the Soul is a life crisis. This crisis is a moment in time where our Higher Power strongly suggests a life change, a transition, a fundamental change in the way we think and feel. We are all blessed (or cursed as you might see it) to have Dark Nights of the Soul. Although the causes for a Dark Night of the Soul are as varied as people are, it is a major life transition.

My last Dark Night of the Soul, and the most intense of my life, occurred a few years ago when I was laid off from my job of 31 years. At that time the company ripped off the last of my persona, the last of what was my self. I no longer knew who I was or how to describe me. I was an attorney. I was not self-sufficient. I was not important. I was nobody.

This job loss occurred after a job demotion, a divorce, the death of my ex-spouse, and the death of my parents (I have no siblings). I felt lost and alone. I felt like nothing, no one. It took a lot of work, prayer, and internal searching to find out who I was and who I am.

Now I am a coach. I spent time training to be a coach because I want to help people transition through their own Dark Nights of the Soul. By training and experience I believe I can help you.

Let me pass on to you here certain practical steps that helped me step out of the darkness. These are:

1. Expect to experience all the stages of grief[1]. Be kind to yourself during each of these stages.

2. Give yourself time to mourn - to experience your anger. Anger is hard for some to experience and release. If you are having difficulty experiencing and releasing anger, combine the feeling with a non-violent physical activity. By non-violent I mean an activity that does not result in any injury to persons or property. It can be dancing running, exercise, or the following example. I have a whiffle bat and pillow. If I am angry I write the specific negative feelings on 5 x 7 cards. These are the emotions or feelings you want or need to release to decrease your anger. Go somewhere you won’t disturb others. Beat the card. Scream at the card. I release the anger, the emotion, through this activity. It may sound silly, but it has worked for me.

3. Feel the sadness. After a major loss it is important to allow yourself to mourn. I define mourn to mean experience your feelings then let them go. It is important during this time to cry, to release those emotions. When I was laid off, I was depressed for months. A loss of something that you’ve known and been a part of for years like loss of a marriage or loss of a job is a major life event. It takes time to heal.

4. Pray and Meditate. At these times it is crucial to allow yourself time to talk to your Higher Power. Whether you pray and/or meditate regularly or not, now is the time to start. You can take a few minutes a day to commune with your Higher Power and quiet your mind.

5. Get out of bed at the same time every morning and get dressed. As basic as that sounds, if you are depressed it may be easy to find yourself spending too many days in bed. Getting our of bed and dressing for the day is a very positive step to alleviate the depression.

6. Don’t neglect yourself. Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep.

7. Avoid Alcohol or Other Intoxicating Substances. These substances exacerbate the depression. Keep their use to a minimum.

8. Maintain social contacts. Do not isolate yourself. Do not avoid seeing friends because this leads to deeper depression.


Everyone has their own timetable regarding dealing with loss, trauma and grief. It took me a long time to feel the depression, the anxiety, the sadness, the grief during the dark night. I hope these thoughts are a small help to everyone. I am here as a coach to help you through these times. Please feel you can contact me for an initial free consultation to determine whether I can be of assistance to help you move through your dark nights.

[1] The stages include: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.

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Everyone has their own timetable regarding dealing with loss, trauma and grief. It took me a long time to feel the depression, the anxiety, the sadness, the grief during the dark night. I hope these thoughts are a small help to everyone. I am here as a coach to help you through these times. Please feel you can contact me for an initial free consultation to determine whether I can be of assistance to help you move through your dark nights.


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Tel: 713-315-7618

Tana@coachinglifetransition.com

© 2018 by Tana Daughtrey.