Last week, I received a couple of e-mails with comments about my sadness, suggesting that I should not be sad. I am grateful for all loving thoughts that comes my way, because I appreciate being cared about. However, it concerns me that we, as a people, are not willing to look at emotions that we consider negative because they do not make us feel good. As I share my healing journey with the world, I hear the discomfort that it elicits in many. There seems to be a need for everyone to be positive,upbeat, and cheerful, while eschewing any “negative” feelings that may be brewing, or old wounds that may be festering. What are we supposed to do with these feelings, if it’s wrong to look at them, expose them to the air and sun, and let them heal?
I believe feelings are neither good nor bad, they just are what they are. My feelings are emotions that are coursing through my body; they are not who I am. I have a habit of saying, “I’m sad”, or “I’m happy”, which is not entirely true. I’m Brenda, and I’m life and light, but what I may be feeling is sadness or happiness.I practice not dividing what I feel into good or bad, because if I make some feelings bad, then I will not want to let them in. It’s important to be with whatever is present in my emotional being, because that’s how I know what I need to focus on, that will ultimately enable me to see and experience more of life. Our emotions are a gift to us, in that if we learn to pay attention to them, we can let in bigger chunks of life.
It seems I’ve been writing quite a bit about sadness, which takes me into a quiet, soft place. I get very still with sadness because my intention is to listen for what it might be saying to me. In the quietness, I am aware of those precious, surprising moments, when I hear or see something that allows me to shed the tears I’ve stuffed and denied myself. I’ve noticed that one word, thought, or picture, can break open that concrete case that holds my tears at bay, and create freedom and a space to unleash my sorrow. I never want to miss an opportunity to cry. I feel cleansed and calm after I have a good cry. Over the years I’ve been told by many, “I don’t dare cry, because if I start crying, I may never stop,” or “What good is crying about something that’s over and done?”
Tears are a gift that allows us to discharge sadness from our body and soul. As a child I was often told, “If you don’t stop that crying, I’ll give you something to cry about,” or harshly, “Stop that crying now.” I learned to stuff my sadness and hold back my tears. What I know today is how important it is to deal with those obediently stuffed hurts from the past. Until I do, every day events and issues in my present, activates my unhealed pain.
To feel sadness is productive, it’s when we deny it and hide it without any acknowledgement, that it becomes dangerous. It’s easy to shut out pain and sadness without knowing what gifts they are bringing. Our “bad” emotions, when carried within, begin to clamor for attention. If we swipe these feelings away like a pesky fly, we’ll miss what we need to see , feel, and heal.
When I pay attention to my sadness, not by getting underneath it and carrying it around, but by acknowledging it and being quiet with it, it finds a way up and out, and sometimes dissipates without my being aware of it. I had acupuncture the other day, and after the practitioner had inserted the needles in my body, he said on his way out of the room, “Rest now.” As soon as he closed the door, I felt tears welling up within me, slowly making their way to the surface. As the tears rolled down my face, I laid on the table relaxing and feeling the release in my body. When I was through with my appointment, I walked out into the sunshine feeling like a renewed soul.
Many times I don’t know why I’m sad, all I know is what I feel. Knowing why is not what’s important,what matters is giving myself permission to feel, in order to maintain a sense of wellbeing. If we’ve been denied our feelings and told that they were wrong, we may need for someone to tell us it’s okay to feel. After all, consider how many tell us it’s not okay to cry, to hurt, to be angry,or to be afraid. Think of how often you hear these words, “But, you shouldn’t feel that way,” or you say, “I’m angry,” and the other person tells you, “don’t be ridiculous, there’s nothing to be angry about.” It is unconscionable for us to attempt to make someone’s feelings wrong, and then try to take those emotions away because we’re uncomfortable with what they’re feeling.
My message to the world is, “It’s okay to feel your emotions. It’s okay to express what you feel without harming yourself or others. You can’t heal what you can’t feel, so love yourself enough to let your feelings in. They’re a gift, and because you are carrying them within, they are a part of you.”
I wrote this poem in 2007:
RAIN AND TEARS
I hear the rain falling
softly at first…
I listen as it hits the pavement and the ground
and gently saturates the earth.
A beautiful, magical, cleansing sound.
Clouds get full and release water upon the earth.
So do we.
Humans, crying their sadness and their joy.
A release of fulness in the heart,
beautiful, magical, cleansing.
My prompts for last week were: tire, loop, and smudge.