Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sitting With Your Sadness

"Love your sadness. It gives you a chance to be still with the most tender place of your being. Love gives your sadness the energy it needs to move through you, so you can move on. By loving your sadness, you are respecting your truth. And freedom always follows truth." 
~ Danielle Laporte

“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”
~ Frederick Buechner

I have been sad lately. Actually, I am very often in a sad place; it has been this way for many years. Yes, part of this is depression, and then our (society's) predilection is toward treatment through therapy and/or medication. Those who know me will know that I am a big supporter - and user - of both therapy and medication if a person needs them for a certain time, maybe even a long time. But lately I have been feeling sad and instead of running to music or TV or the internet in an attempt to crowd it out, I've just been sitting here, noticing it. Yes, there can be a destructive sadness or depression, but I think there is a kind of sadness that is not destructive; rather, sadness, like many other emotions, can remind us that we are alive. Loving our sadness, as Danielle Laporte writes, "gives (us) a chance to be still with the most tender place of (our) being." It may be that in the most vulnerable, fragile times in our lives, that we actually are on the brink of something great - a new understanding, a greater ability to love, a connection with the Divine. The difficult part, though, is to actually just sit there. We automatically think there's something wrong if we feel sad. And then we reach out, yelping like a wounded dog, saying to all those around us who will listen, "Pay attention to me, heal my sadness! Why aren't you healing my sadness?" And then we suffocate them.  It would do better for us to go for a leisurely walk on a trail, or put pen to paper, or talk it out with a very close friend who can handle it. Sadness may also be a sign to slow things down a bit and perhaps to take a different turn in your life, especially if you are unhappy with how things currently are for you. Finally, it is natural for us to see a friend who is sad and try to cheer them up, but it is often better to just take their hand and be present.


Mark Andrew Nouwen