The Fertile Soil of Sadness
I had a couple big cries that first day of my retreat.
I cried from regret for who I am as a dad sometimes. I cried from fear for my family and from fear for myself. I cried for my parents, I cried for my friends, and I cried for my students and their families. I was present to all the places I'm falling short...all the missed opportunities to connect and to love and to give...all the moments of selfishness...all the moments of insecurity...all the moments of ineffectiveness...and all the moments of inadequacy.
My sobs shook me from the core of my being, and I let them. With courage and trust, I travelled down as deeply as I could go within the sadness, fear, and regret within myself, and I cried from the absolute bottom of my emotional well.
And way down at the bottom of that well, I found that it wasn't a dark and dank place as I expected. It was a warm and glowing aliveness, a core of compassion, love, and joy. And I cried some more from that compassion and care and from that love.
At the bottom of all my fears and sadness of those moments, I saw more clearly than ever before that all I want is for others to relax and be well. I want that for myself of course, and I want it for the people closest to me. I want it for my students and their families, and I want it for our society and world.
Wow. It really is a gift to feel anything at all, and when we welcome the insight of more negative emotions of sadness and fear, we give them an opportunity to reconnect us with what matters most. Sadness and fear can be gateways to joy and love.
It could be that sadness and fear are always pointing towards joy, love, and other positive emotions, but we get stuck looking at the pointing hand of the emotion instead of where that hand is pointing.
We can handle all emotions - it's how we're built - and we needn't be afraid of any of them. Emotions don't last forever and there's likely some wisdom hiding in there for us to find. Perhaps that's why we feel them at all.
Thanks so much for reading. ❤️