A Visit From Sadness

How often would you say you feel sad?

I know that there are specific times and events where sadness can be quite intense, but I’m asking about the smaller versions, the ones where we seem to fall into a state of temporary sadness.

As humans, I believe we all realize our lives are going to be made up of many different feelings, some we welcome and others we hope will never arrive.

Recently I had an encounter with sadness. There was a faint sense of it and then wham, sadness seemed to ooze in from every direction.

I was away from home and although I was in a place of my own choosing, I still had an overwhelming sense of sadness overtake me. And it reminded me of other times when sadness came to me and was accompanied by its friend, loneliness.

My first reaction, as it usually is, was to try to push it away, hoping that by sheer force of will, it would move on. I was afraid of feeling it and unsure how deep it would travel inside of me. After all, why would I want to feel sad? Why would I want to get dragged down, unsure of when the sadness would let go?

Something about how I felt was different though. At first, I couldn’t put my finger on it. I tried and all I could come up with was that it felt ‘lighter’.

As I’ve mentioned in prior posts, I’ve spent a great deal of time exploring my feelings. Part of that process is focused on allowing them in and being open to what they have to share with me. That may sound a little unusual, but it’s something that has been very helpful for me.

So, when this sadness arrived, I coached myself not to panic, but rather to stay open to it, and in the opening, to see if I could listen to what the sadness might share with me.

I softened my normally apprehensive self and leaned into it, allowing the sadness to enter me. What I discovered was that it didn’t really want to stay long. It just wanted to let me know it’s okay to spend time together every once in a while. And, after a short time, it stood up and waved goodbye and wished me a good day.

This whole exchange fascinated me. Here I was worried that sadness had decided to move in permanently and all it really wanted to do was come for a quick visit.

Sadness, like every other feeling, comes and goes.

What occurred to me later was that I am the one largely responsible for its length of stay. Every time I resist it or try futilely to push it away, it gains a certain amount of strength so that when it finally does arrive, its’ power is far greater.

It also occurred to me that many other feelings follow this same curve. They arrive asking for me to pay attention to see if there is a useful message attached.

In this case, sadness came and went, a fleeting feeling. It opened me up and I realized I would survive its stay. I would move on and after a bit, be happy again. I think it’s this way with all of our emotions and feelings. They don’t have to be permanent. They can just be visitors, filling past, on their way to somewhere else.

It’s up to each of us to decide how long we wish to keep them.

So, I decided to wave back as sadness left me and accept its offer to have a good day.

Sadness to the Source of Love

This morning I gave myself permission to feel disappointed. I didn’t fight it or try to tell myself I shouldn’t feel this way.

I am human and I want to feel loved. Part of this, for me, is that when I give love out, I hope for it in return.

I don’t give love with an expectation or at least I try not to. I don’t want there to be any strings attached. I try to let love overflow through me, as naturally I am able.

But once it is given out, I recognize there is some part of me that waits to see if any of it will come back to me and I admit, this part of me is sad when it doesn’t.

Do you ever feel this way?

The permission I give myself allows me to lean into the sadness, recognizing I cannot outrun it. By leaning in I hope to discover something, perhaps something worthwhile enough that I can keep it with me for the rest of my life.

I sense there is value beyond the sadness, a hidden treasure for me to find which is even more powerful than the love I’d hoped would be returned.

Even with this open permission it’s hard to see through my disappointment, as if it shrouds everything in a dense mist.

I ask to see through the mist and some of it clears away, but not enough.

I wonder, what else can I do?

A question forms…what are my intentions? Once I’ve accepted and embraced my sadness over the love I did not receive, what am I hoping to experience?

A mysterious answer comes to me in the form of two questions. They echo over and over. Do you feel emptied by this act of overflowing love? And do you feel a need to be refilled?

My quick response is ‘yes’ to both.

I sit back and realize; I have attached strings. Thick, strong, tight strings.

A dawning happens. My disappointment and sadness are present to help guide me to seeing more clearly this inescapable truth about myself.

I am looking outside of myself for love.

I know that I am not alone in this. I see it everywhere I look. It is as if we were taught that we are not enough and need others love to be whole.

Hold still for a moment and see if there is any truth in this for you.

My admission seems earthshaking to me…’I am not enough, therefore, I must be filled by others’. This of course makes me reliant on others, as much as a baby is reliant on its caregivers for its every need.

The analogy is not lost on me, and I wonder how far I have actually grown.

Another question forms…can I find within me an inexhaustible wellspring of love that will forever feed me?

This idea overtakes me and offers to shatter my dependence on others to be filled from their love. This idea guides me to the truth I seek, that I am a part of the divine; whole, complete, and holy. That I am never emptied of love because the divine lives within me. That I am connected to the divine, the infinitely deep, inexhaustible source of love.

I am incredibly joyful to have given myself permission to feel my feelings and to follow them from disappointment and sadness to discovering the truth that I am a part of the source of love.