A symptom of the global dark night of the soul is a complete shattering of hope. There is also a complete shattering of the ego and future dreams. When I went through it in 2015 upon reading The Extinction Dialogues by Climate Scientist Guy McPherson and Carolyn Baker, perhaps the worst thing for me was the complete annihilation of hope. I immediately wrote Andrew Harvey an email in complete despair and he was able to provide some guidance, but the evidence-based research was so undeniable and was just being released to the public. I could tell that he had so much uneasiness about being the bearer of bad news, but everyone feels this way that passes on the information. Now that it has been verified by several climate scientists it is rapidly influencing a large number of people. We all have to wake up to the facts…and yes, they will radically change you. So please seek the support you need from a counselor or mentor who you resonate with.
This doesn’t mean that we can’t continue to do our part in creating positive social change. For this is the only thing that gets us up in the morning—knowing that we might be able to create some positive change. We need to continue to wake up every day with some certainty that we can make it thru the dark night. The magic and joy is still very present on this earth and is resonating in all of our hearts. All the love is present, but there is no doubt that people’s hearts are totally shut down right now. People are also very distrustful of one another and for good reason.
Centuries of grievances against one another have served to stifle our ability to move forward. There is a lot of important work in hospice social work, particularly around letting go, surrendering, and radical forgiveness. Hope is our lifeline that we need to get through the dark night and Great Spirit will be here to guide us in our journey. However, it is not wise to resort to a false sense of hope either.
We have no clue what is going to happen and if there will be a New Golden Era on earth. We are all very excited about implementing new utopian systems right now, but in some way this is a way of intellectualizing our negative emotions in order to avoid the pain associated with death.
I have always been a deep believer that LOVE IS VICTORIOUS and the sacred feminine would save the world. And while I consider my faith to be a lifeline, I am willing to sit in the void of the abyss and not have any answers. Going through so many dark nights of the soul myself and helping hundreds of people through difficult transitions has enabled me to totally sit with the darkness in a way that most people run from. I am ok with not having answers right now. I am ok with the world crumbling around me…at least for a second, until I start getting all freaked out again.
There are many layers to this dark night of the soul and it is important to take the grief in phases. It is also important to seek help and support if you are isolating for too long. We need to grieve alone, but we also need to grieve in community.
Existential despair is the complete loss of faith that we will be able to transform and come out the other end and be reborn. Considering the stark statistics of the 6th mass extinction of humanity and species on planet earth, it is incredibly difficult to be too optimistic that the earth will allow us to stay. It has become clear that our way of life is not in alignment with Gaia’s natural rhythms. The carrying capacity of the earth has been overridden long ago and if we were wise like the lemmings, we would have committed mass suicide by jumping off the cliff. Instead, we keep procreating with the false assumption that the earth is abundant. She is abundant to a point, but when we cross her boundaries, there is massive debt to pay.
In our rationally oriented culture, we are socialized to avoid the emotions, particularly negative emotions. As a result, there is a tendency to avoid the sting of grief by numbing out, repressing, abusing substances. We have individually and collectively been running from our monsters and shadow reflections, but it has taken a tremendous toll on our souls. And while the dark night of the soul is terrifying, it has some powerful lessons for us if we will just sit and listen.
Great Spirit and the dark mother are incredibly wise, but one has to be willing to receive her guidance. And if we are running amuck in our terror and anxiety, we will be too frazzled and fragmented to listen. Which is why it is critical right now to do mindfulness meditation and deep breathing every day. We are also obsessive planners living in a left-brain world. We are taught to solve problems right away as opposed to sitting and listening for guidance from our soul or higher selves. Spend as much time as you can in nature as it is scientifically proven that Earthing helps ground out and purify our electrical body. However, one must be directly touching the surface of the earth.
Some Thoughts on Female Leadership:
It has been amazing to watch the tidal wave of awakening on a global scale of the Divine Feminine. I only want it to get stronger as it is so needed right now. I support all women who are rising to do what they can to make change happen. And while the feminine is rising and taking charge, I have sadly come to witness the deep feminine wounding that has divided women, particularly in regards agreeing on how social change needs to take place. There is sadly an incredibly amount of competition between women that I have witnessed first hand. I have a lot of compassion for these deep wounds, but not all women are committed to really doing the self-examination and healing work to integrate and move on. Some of them are also unconsciously acting out their need to be in an authority position, which is concerning to me.
In addition, women’s spirits have been greatly affected by the lack of compassion of President Trump. He has done more damage to the women’s psyches than any president in the history of America. As a home health medical social worker I have witnessed and held space for hundreds of tragic stories of abuse and the internalization of oppression, which has led to a silencing of women’s voices. And I have personally lived this oppression as a woman who didn’t grow up in a privileged family and social class. I have worked more pink-collar jobs than most women have; thus, I have a deep understanding and compassion for the deeply entrenched psychological slavery that happens to women who have been socially oppressed for years.
This kind of internalization of multigenerational trauma doesn’t go away as easily as people assume. Those who have not been educated in trauma informed care and family systems theory most likely underestimate and minimize the neurological changes in the brain that can occur with extreme trauma victims. However, neuroscience is now revealing the incredible examples of healing of the brain over time. (see the Brain’s Way of Healing by Norman Dodge, M.D.
My mother was a single mother with 3 children who had to support them in an economically oppressed economy of Southern Oregon. She was fortunate to have Jimmy Carter as a president in the 1970’s as he had some incredible social service programs for Mother’s on welfare. It was called the CEDA program and my mother was trained to be a court reporter, which literally kept us from being in poverty long term. My biological father was a beautiful poet and humanitarian that didn’t make it through the sixties due to low self-esteem, substance abuse, and mental illness. Watching my father struggle on social security disability opened my eyes at an early age to the social oppression of mentally ill folks and the negative stigma that they have to live with their entire lives.
It was impossible for my father to live off his social security stipend of $700 per month, which is what thousands of our disabled folks are supposed to live off these days. And to make matters worse, there is a massive shortage of low income housing for the mentally ill and physically disabled folks, they end up on the streets and are high risks for suicide.
Perhaps one of the most tragic thing is witnessing how our medical system poorly handle these incredibly fragile people. A lot of these mentally ill have multiple health problems and end of in the emergency room or TuNorth . However, it is too costly for the hospitals to shelter them for long periods of time; thus, they are discharged to temporary hotel rooms or a homeless shelter where they are back on the streets and then two weeks later back in the hospital.
This is our current solution—called the Revolving Door solution— to dealing with the chronically mentally ill and homeless situation not just in southern Oregon, but nationally. I am the person that helps these people when they are discharged in addition to other social service agencies such as Columbia Care Intensive Case Management Program.
It is obvious that women are starting to assume powerful leadership roles, which is a good sign. I think more female leaders will be rising in the near future; however, we need leaders who are also good team players and have a deep understanding of the complexity of global social problems and various theories of social change (which includes an understanding of the critiques that have been made by knowledgeable social theorists who might know a lot more about social systems then they do). I have witnessed a lot of women try to assume leadership roles at a young age and they lack the experiential wisdom needed to make balanced decisions, which includes an openness to seeking out positions that may differ from their own.
I have also witness women overestimate their experience level—they might be good talkers and presenters, but they lack experiential wisdom, which comes from years of experience working in the field. It also requires extensive critical self-evaluations and critiques from colleagues and supervisors. There are plenty of women feeling called to a leadership role, which is great, but I am very particularly about the types of leaders and leadership qualities that I will require in a culture of social unrest. I am working on a short article about female leadership now and will share that in the near future.
Community Networking and Bridging for Social Rehabilitation and Hospicing
I have a very unique perspective as a Sociologist and Social worker who is currently working in the trenches of our community in Southern Oregon.
As a community Bridger and networker, I have been forming community alliances with numerous social service agencies that are very aware of the problems we are facing, but feel so overwhelmed due to massive funding cuts and the shock of the ecological crises.
They all agree that these problems have just continued to get worse over the years. For example, Access released information on their website, which was a research project done by the housing authority. In this study they found that Southern Oregon currently has a housing crisis. —There is a 1% occupancy rate right now, which is horrific.
Furthermore, Mr. Trump cut all the federal funding or grants for subsidized housing. The housing authority has known for a long time that low income, subsidized housing has been in shortage and that there is little incentive for contractors to take on these jobs because they don’t make enough profit. If they were subsidized properly, then there would be more incentive, as it is a lot of work.
Several organizations have worked on plans geared to help the homeless problem. For example, Access and The Housing Authority posted a plan on their website; however, they have not been very successful at implanting the plan for various reasons. Sacramento has blocks of tent cities for their homeless people, as they need a place to go and sleep. We should have implemented these years ago.
I have formed numerous treatment teams with community alliances to get people transitioned into shelter or affordable housing. I work with amazing people at Columbia Care who deeply understands the downward spiral of homelessness and how easy it is to get stuck there.
I am forming a team of social change agents called Southern Oregon Agents of Social Change. I have several powerful leaders in our community who are ready to start taking action to create rehabilitative systems for the current ecological and social crisis we have been facing for a long time now.
For more information about my credentials: www.guanyinhealingarts.com