All of a sudden (or because of something that happens), a wave of deep sadness and sorrow rises up from below, breaking through the surface of your previous sense of calmness about things in your work/life, pulling you down into its watery depths. Your world changes from manageable to unpredictable in a second, pulling away the veil of certainty, strength and independence that had until moments ago hid the true extent of your pain. You feel small, uncertain and frighteningly vulnerable here, as if anything could pierce through your skin and hit you straight there, in your deepest wound.
It feels deeply lonely and scary to be sad – as if the world as you know it is coming to an end. As if no optimism or well-intended advice can ever make you hopeful again. As if all energy left to fight or go forward has been drained from you, the moment this sadness broke through from below. As you’re here, a small part of you may judge you, echoing stern messages you may have internalized about self-pity not being allowed — but the biggest part of you knows there’s only one thing that can get you through now: comfort and consolation.
The Value of Sadness.
A part of you may attempt to grapple with this experience of intimidating uncertainty and fear by looking for helplines in solutions or plans. What can you do or where can you go to get away from this sorrow? How can you bring yourself to happiness or firm emotional ground again? It is natural to feel this way, for most of us were never taught the value of sadness – both in our upbringing, our culture and the everyday societies we grew up in. Instead, you probably fear the strong undercurrent pulling at you, as you fear that, by giving into it, you may never feel (as) strong, happy and ‘together’ again. That, by acknowledging the truth of your vulnerability, a part of you will die and give up.
While I won’t stop you from making plans to take care of yourself, going forward, I do want to let you know, when you’re here – that it is OK to feel this way. The message you carry about self-pity or sadness not being allowed is but a layer of armour you’ve adopted over the years, stemming from the times when it was unsafe to express the true contents of your heart. But this is no longer the case – for you are reading this and able to create safety for (all parts of) yourself. And while this moment of sadness may feel like a death in a way, as you grieve what hurts – know that it is not a weakness. Your emotional pain is a sign of your interminable creative aliveness, yearning to no longer be stifled or limited, even the dark places.
How to Honour Sadness.
This moment in which your somatic field breaks open is a deeply rich and beautiful moment – even if it puts your (or others’) hairs on end! What I have found helps most in moments of sadness (both from having experienced it myself and having been there for others), is by being here in truth. Not by having others (or parts of yourself) telling you you’ll be OK, reminding you of the things to be happy about or even by giving you advice. But instead, by acknowledging and witnessing the depth of your grief. You may find that, while doing so doesn’t necessarily solve problems, it does help you feel more true, creative and whole.
Can you find a friend to cry with, to sit with, who won’t try to ‘rescue’ you from your truth?
Or if you can’t – can you be that person for yourself – by letting your sadness flow through and out of you into words, creativity, music or the (outside) earth?