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January 26, 2016

The Darkest Hour is before Dawn—Here’s what got me through.

Flickr/™ Pacheco

What’s a girl to do when she has a nagging calling to move hemispheres?

Ignore it? Yup, tried that. But that pesky feeling in my guts wouldn’t let me rest, so I packed up my apartment and shoved my stuff into overpriced storage. One week later I’d swapped Britain for Australia.

When I arrived down under, the sheer size of the place freaked me out. I traveled on buses for days, and the landscape barely changed. The roads stretched out like long grey ribbons that had me believing we’d gotten it all wrong, and the world actually is flat. I saw deserts, wilderness and weird moonscapes that warped in the heat—space. There’s nothing much more frightening than that, for a London girl born into the city crush.

Nothing much more frightening, except the emptiness of my life. I’d followed my calling, and I was where I was meant to be. It felt right. I was trusting. I was flexing my faith. I was Ms. Carefree and the mother of all de-clutter. That was fun, for a while. Until it wasn’t. And when nothing really fell into place—I felt ever more displaced.

My new life was meant to be on fire. I was supposed to be connecting, employed, finding my new path and meeting the reasons my intuition had nagged me so strongly to come. So why, six months later, did my life look emptier than the desert scapes? No matter how hard I tried to fill it with jobs, relationships and friends, it kept spitting it all back out. Huh? Why? I tortured myself with the why. My doubts ate me up, and I longed for London. Instead of my new life budding and growing, there were just dead ends. Had I made a huge mistake?

I’d let go of my home, my work, my lifestyle, my income, which was hard enough even though I’d chosen it. But harder still was letting go of my expectations. And even harder than that was the heart-thudding realisation I was in some kind of long dark night or void. It seemed I was letting go not just of the obvious, but also the much less tangible. I was shedding skin on the inside. I was in the void.

I was lonely. I was not a happy void dweller. Voids are unquantifiable—duration unknown. How long is a void? 10 days? 10 weeks? 10 months or 10 years? Forever?

Void. By definition, it’s empty—blank, bare, unfilled, desolate—or at least my fears saw it that way.

I was angry. I was wild. I felt betrayed.

I thought we had a deal, Universe? I’ve shown up for you—show up for me. I’d followed my intuition and left my whole life. Can I just remind you, Universe—that’s a huge deal!

Pardon me, but I was expecting some ease and grace on the other side—not just me staring at my feet and counting flies.

So, I had a lot of time to eat biscuits and ask—what’s required of me here? Here in this space that had no feedback about who I was or why I’d come. How could I handle it without sliding into depression? How could I be in it without losing all faith and trust in what I’d felt and done? How could I keep my spiritual-self stronger than my critical mind?

Voids are cleansing, I thought. Voids are places where the tatty threads of endings become the first stitches of beginnings. Voids are rest stops. If I could just friggin’ let myself have that. Voids are places to be alone and make slow food. Voids are the Universe saying: Wait! But don’t wait like you’re in a queue for a bus that’s late and you’re dying for a pee. Wait like Santa’s stuck in the chimney because his sack’s too fat. In fact Dettra, try not strumming your fingers while waiting.

Oh please, Universe! Sometimes I just want to hit you!

We all experience voids. We all have long dark nights when the old is falling away, and what’s new hasn’t yet arrived. We all spend time in that limbo-lounge not knowing what’s coming next. We know we’ve outgrown where we were, but we don’t yet fit who we’re becoming. The void is where the old composts itself. Seeds germinate in the dark. (And dark is often how it feels.)

My fear was—nothing’s coming next. Life has forgotten and abandoned me. My life will never happen—but it always does.

What I’ve learnt from void dwelling is this—fear can come up, loneliness can come up, impatience, anger and abandonment can come up. A deep sense of loss might arise. Let’s do our best to meet and greet these feelings without getting washed away in them. They’re normal and can be a kickback from knowing we really have no control. With less action on the outside, there’s more opportunity to connect inside. Voids are about the inside.

Voids can feel long—endless. So we might flip-flop between patient and pushy—acceptance and fight, fear and vulnerability. The universe will likely test us—test our patience, our trust, our resilience. Our willingness to not know—until we do—our strength to allow life to strip away what needs to go, for as long as it takes.

Death and rebirth are natural cycles—but often not easy. So, when voids get tough, let’s give ourselves full permission to pray and cry—journal, nourish with food and walks that give back. If anger or frustration are licking flames inside, dance it out like a wild thing—or throw slippers at the wall. (Worked for me!) Or sit and breathe, and let it all in.

Most importantly, let’s trust where we are and where we’re being taken. When the time is right, life will open up.

Trust is key.

I’d like to say that again—trust is key. We need to really have faith that the giant emptiness is pregnant, not barren. Think phoenix rising from the ashes. Think snake shedding skin. Think winter followed by spring.

I took that word void and dissected it—and changed it to an acronym.

Here’s what I came up with, to help myself through the darkest hours. Please use and recycle when void dwelling…

V.O.I.D. meaning—

Value one’s inner dusk.

Very organic intense death.

Valley offering important destruction.

Vast opportunity in demise.

Vista of inner death.

Vulnerable offering in darkness.

Veiled opening invite destiny.

Vehicle of innate divinity.

Vacancy open ignite dreams.

Voyage offering inevitable dawn.

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Any more to add?

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Author: Dettra Rose

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

Photo: Flickr/™ Pacheco

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