The Beauty in Darkness

Karla Riddell
2 min readAug 7, 2022


The winter.

Is welcome.

My body was crying out for it after three years of constant go. Spending the cold months in the desert sun.

There is a beauty.

To the cold dark nights.

To pain.

To this aching heart.

It’s been a crazy year. For me the last two years (2020 &2021) felt like I was in paramedic mode. Navigating borders, supporting people and taking life into my hands — running events and keeping my massage business afloat. Returning to the family and the family wounds, whilst also been housed in times of non-income. Things were just as intense as they had always been.

But this year… I have cried oceans.

This year started with fatigue. I had never had fatigue, only been fatigued from night shifts and not sleeping. Actual fatigue is a whole other thing.

Then someone amazing fell in love with me…

Then I fell in love with them…

Then things fell apart, yet somehow through the heartbreak I seemed to be highly functional and engaged with friends and community — what a blessing!

But when this heart started going through it, insomnia hit hard — I had never had insomnia before. It took nearly two months for me to acknowledge what was going on, because I still had my energy and mental clarity.

This love and the grief in this love has opened me up to deep connection to my ancestors. So deep that I feel their grief sometimes, then I cry oceans, generations of tears.

I think one thing that has kept me clear and strong in all of this… is acceptance. Not once did I think there was something wrong with me, I always trusted in the process with a deep respect for the wisdom of the body and my spirit that runs freely through me.

I see beauty in the winter. In the grief. In the heart ache. In the dark nights of the soul.

I see those sleepless nights I am unravelling lifetimes and generations of stuff. No idea what. On the surface it is feeling torn in love… but underneath… something profound is moving through me. This heart is not breaking, but growing. The nights are not taking me, but beckoning me deeper into my soul.

*this is the edge of the desert. My first night in the desert when I am on my way to central Australia… the threshold, the portal and the time between day & night ~ the liminal.



Karla Riddell

Karla is the founder and facilitator of the Young Shaman Foundation. She is dedicated to creating rites of passage to connect people to self, nature and tribe.