September 2
Sadness is related to the opening
of your heart.  If you allow yourself
to feel sad, especially if you can
cry, you will find that your heart
opens wider and you can feel
more love and more joy.

Shakti Gawain


Today's Meditation:

From where do we get this notion that we can't show our feelings?  Why do people, when they see us sad or grieving, tell us to "cheer up" or even "get over it"?  What if I don't want to cheer up--is that so bad?  What if I want to stay with the sadness long enough that I can deal with it completely and allow it to work its way out of my system?  I have every right to do so, but others seem to think that their lot in life is to push us to feeling better, when doing so may be the worst thing for us (even if they see it as the best thing for them).

Telling someone who's sad to "cheer up" borders on cruelty, for it doesn't acknowledge the true feelings that the person is going through--it tells that person that they're doing something wrong and that they need to change.  It isn't acknowledging the important idea that "to everything there is a season," including sadness.  It would be silly to think that we can go through all our days on the planet without feeling sadness, though some people do act as if they can on the outside.  But as Shakti says, it's important that we allow ourselves to be sad so that we can open ourselves up to other emotions that are also important.

(Even as I wrote the last sentence, I almost wrote "other, more positive emotions."  Sadness, when we don't allow ourselves to get mired up in it, is a positive emotion, for it allows us to move past certain incidents or stages in our lives.)

There seem to be two more dominant problems with sadness:  other people have problems dealing with our sadness, and sometimes we allow the sadness to go on for too long, until we lose sight of the beauty and wonder of the world.  But just because others have a hard time dealing with our sadness doesn't mean we should shove it back inside ourselves and not allow ourselves to feel it, for then we'd be moving on in life with unfaced issues that need to be dealt with.

Others can help us when we allow sadness to take us over, for they often have a perspective that's much more objective than our own.  Sadness can be an attractive state to be in, depending on our state of mind, and we don't want it to take control of us.  Because it is true that "to everything there is a season," there's also a time when we must move on from sadness and, as Shakti says, "feel more love and more joy."

Questions to consider:

In which ways can sadness be a powerful force in our lives?

Why do so many of us tend to see sadness as a negative emotion? 

Why is sadness often an attractive state for us to stay in?

For further thought:

"Life is not all sadness," Old Hawk continued.  "Yet, without sadness we would not yearn for joy, and strive to find it, and treasure it when it comes.  It is also a fact that neither sadness nor joy is with us constantly.  And how often one of the other is part of our journey is not always within our control.  We all want joy more than sadness and rare is the person who wants sadness at all."

Joseph M. Marshall III

More on sadness.


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