My Dark Night of the Soul

One of the most excruciatingly painful, yet most spiritually fulfilling times life happened recently in three week period. I can no longer postpone writing about this because as time goes on my memories of what happened during this time are fading.

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I can’t forget the lessons I learned because they are ones I NEVER want to have to re-learn. 

I will share those lessons in a separate blog.

What is the dark night of the soul.? Here is an excerpt from an article in Christianity Today by Chuck DeGroat that I found very helpful:

“The fifteenth-century Christian writer John of the Cross described this experience; he called it la noche oscura, or dark night, that difficult invasion of God’s astringent grace that opens us to new realms of spiritual experience. ”

Astringent grace. Those words describe exactly what I went through.

I know that I could never have reaped the benefits from this time that I did without the help of my family. Robert, my former husband, room mate, and co-creator in community building, was willing to be present for in ways that alleviated my pain which sometimes seemed unbearable.

Every morning and evening we would talk about what I was going through and pray together. Sometimes we would read scriptures, listen to inspiring spiritual teachings and listen to worship music.
We started taking a video class which was so important for my healing present and future, Immanual Lifestyle which helps us develop an even more secure connection to God so we can come to that place where we are praying unceasingly.

In fact, this became my main prayer and yearning–to always stay connected to God and feel close to him. I felt so far away at times. 

He made me healthy food, consistently checked in with me when I hid in my room and prayed for me a lot.  He showered affection on me in the form of hugs.

Our mornings of spiritual focus were so beautiful. He would put on worship music that he thought I could resonate with, like “Beautiful” by Gungor, or “No Longer Slaves”

or No Longer Slaves performed by I Am They.  When I hear songs that we played during my darkness, the bittersweet memories come rushing back, and I remember how important it is for me to keep my connection God always alive.

During my dark night of the soul, my daughter, Maud, called me every day, and came over for long periods 3 or 4 times. Being alone was really hard for me, and having people I felt completely safe with was so important. Her husband Was really supportive of her helping me and his presence was very healing.


Chris, my son who works for me full time on Jesus Vegans projects, was super flexible. Sometimes I just couldn’t have him around because I was so unable to work on our goals. I was able to delegate to him things to do on his own without having to be on site during the worst part of the darkness. He was so encouraging and flexible.

Cliff, my former husband and present member of Jesus Vegans
Community was understanding and encouraging as well.  Knowing that my whole family was there for me helped me to be free to concentrate on my healing without having dysfunction of relationships adding to my distress.


My best friend Barbara Hulley founder of Jesus Vegans play Barbara was really supportive from a distance. I felt so grateful because she couldn’t really understand what I was going through and thought it was really important.

There were a few times when Robert started feeling overwhelmed by the amount of energy he needed to expend for me. I almost lost it during those periods, but he and I were able to talk through the difficulties in a way that added to my healing.

I did not want to see anyone else besides my family during this time. I couldn’t even talk to my good friend Sky, who lives in San Diego and is a member of Jesus Vegans coordinating circle. I did let him know that I was unable to communicate in person, but I did write him an email and keep him updated in texts. I was so grateful that he did not pressure me to talk or feel offended that I needed space.


I saw Brian Leffert on occasion because he works for us as the master carpenter for our Mir House, the community building which will serve the eco-village site.  He was always so loving and didn’t push me to talk. Later, he said, “I knew you would come out of that space.”

So what brought this dark night of the soul on? I can’t share all details because I would jeopardize other people’s confidentiality. I will share this in part 2.

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I saved two lives today

Yes, it is true. What happened was this. I was working in the garden at the Jesus Vegans Ecovillage site. I collect rainwater in buckets to water the Hugel kultur beds. In two of the buckets, there were frogs that would have died if I hadn’t saved them. I need to figure out a new system for rainwater collection!

 

I went swimming at the end of the day in Prayer Lake which is a 5 minute walk from our house. So lovely and refreshing. 

 

Work Party Thursday

  • Thursdays are always a wonderful time where Tas Zinck and Chase Jones of Biodesic Strategies join Chris and I in working on various permaculture and other fun projects.
  • Chase and Tas have a multitude of talents. Chase is recording an interview between Chris and Trish. 

    Planting containers Tas made out of cardboard.

    The view is always magnificent.

    Lots of rocks are to be found along the roadside. We are making a retaining wall and hugel kultur bed to stop some erosion.

    Farmers market at Fayetteville is a great place to have conversations and get food that I can trust is grown sustainability.

    The Hugel kultur garden is thriving.

    Tas, Chase and I picked up rocks along our road

 

Discovering Your God Given Purpose

This article by Focus on the Family about life purpose was excellent. I highly recommend it.

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For most of my 62 years,  I have had a high level of dissatisfaction because I had to earn money doing jobs that were unrelated to my passion: creating community.

I also got side tracked and distracted working on a lot of projects that were designed to save the world, but did not work on my main passion: community.

I think I didn’t believe my dream could come true.

When I received financial support last October and was able to work full time on this project,  I finally able to everyday focus on my passion. But for the first 8 months, I still did not focus as much as I needed to on building community structure and promoting community.

I really needed to completely focus on creating a strong foundation on which community could be built before I embarked on other projects.

In mid-June of this year, (six weeks ago from the time of this writing) I experienced a 3 week long dark night of the soul when God showed me something.

I HAD to start focusing on this life long dream of building community or I was going to keep suffering! 

Even at my age, I was still running away from my purpose!

I don’t want to completely put myself down. I have been working on community building for 42 years ever since I heard the word “intentional community.” I have lived in, researched and visited numerous communities all over the country. Community: Connect! is a community-building event that I have been working on for about eight years with great success.

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These dear animal loving friends attended a Community: Connect! that I facilitated at the Animal Rights Center in Berkeley. We had so much fun and as heart-to-heart connects.

But when it came to finally taking all the steps necessary to build the community I believed God was calling me to design, I just could not focus on the final steps like refining the values and structure. 

The decision to cancel the Christian Animal Welfare Summit that we were planning in September was excruciatingly painful! This was taking a huge amount of energy. I was terrified that everyone involved would give up on me.

Yet when I told key players in the project why I needed to cancel, they actually applauded my decision!

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Trish and Barbara, co-founders of Jesus Vegans Community. Barbara has been a huge encouragement to me. Having someone to believe in you and your ability to accomplish your purpose is essential.

Something we love to see happen in our community is for people to be able to find and fulfill their God-given purpose. We are seeing this happen with the young adults who are working for us: Tas, Chase and Chris. Tas and Chase gave us a wonderful endorsement in this video:

We have a work exchange program where people who qualify can come and be encouraged to use their talents and refine your search for your life’s purpose. You can check it out here:

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Having spiritual guidance on your path is essential. Greg Boyd has been greatly instrumental in helping me on my Jesus walk. I’ve listened to many hours of his online sermons at http://www.whchurch.org

I hope and pray you find your life purpose and then live it. As Greg Boyd, one my favorite authors and pastors says,

“If we have the potential to oppress or slay millions, it is because we also have the potential to liberate and love millions.”

In order to bring the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven, we each need to find and then carry out our life’s purpose. Let’s encourage each other to fulfill our God-given potential and alleviate the suffering of animals and all of creation.

That is why I am working with others to build  Jesus Vegans Community. 

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Early Morning Delights

The lake was completely engulfed in fog. I love the moisture because it’s good for the plants.

This large metal building will eventually be a wonderful community center and makers space

It’s so green even know it’s the middle of the summer. We’ve had steady rains and I feel so grateful.

This old barn is located near the church where people meet a few miles down the road.

Queen Ann’s lace is abundant. I love it’s delicate flowers

I was happy to run into Cliff and say a final goodbye before he left for California

Mushrooms are so beautiful we plan on growing mushrooms with Tas and chase0 help

Goats Live nearby in a pretty spacious fenced in area.

Our house looks even lovelier than usual with its cloud of mistcloaking it’s lovely exterior