Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Happy Sadness

Since we started last post talking about a happy mind I figured I'd share my other big revelation from taking Landmark coursework. To set the scene it's the Advanced Course weekend and that Friday night they give you this big buildup that we'll end the night doing an exercise they guarantee tens of thousands of people have done and NO ONE has ever not disappeared whatever they are suffering about. They ask us to write down the one thing we have the most suffering about and that is what we will focus on in the exercise. Now you already know this was a super shitty year for me so I had lots to choose from but I decided I would focus on this relationship I couldn't get over that I was sad sad sad about. 

I will respect the process and not give it away, other than to say once you and your partner dissolve your suffering you are free to leave for the night. Cut to me, and my partner had already an hour before resolved her suffering and so they put me with different partner. Another hour or so passes and I'm still not only deep in the suffering but have a throbbing headache because I was crying so hard and had worked up so much (sorry for this visual) snot that I had gone through almost an entire box of kleenex and still could not resolve it. I'm now the sole sufferer left and they have no idea what to do with me. Did I mention in the thousands and thousands over decades and decades they had been doing this no one to my instructors' knowledge had ever not resolved their suffering?

Well I know I'm gifted and all, but this was not what I wanted to be a champion at... 😫

So after some whispers in the corner they share that I would need to go home and they would have to help me again in the morning since it was late and they weren't sure what to do with me.

On the drive home I'm now suffering about how great and overwhelming my suffering is! 

Well as often happens with my unresolved issues, I awake at 3am with the answer:
Suffering is when we try to stop our sadness from being fully felt. 

I got this image of a box on a shelf and that we suffer when we try not to be sad about something ever again instead of putting it on a shelf and then taking it down and being sad whenever we needed to be sad. Suffering is resisting our sadness. Suffering is trying to numb our pain instead of feeling it. 

It wasn't that I was never going to sad about something ever again, but that I didn't need to carry it with me. I could actually put it down and not drag it around like an anchor.

What a revelation and relief! Life has sadness and sometimes it feels good to be with it and get a good cry in and feel the loss. And then we can put it back where it belongs and not lead with it and not sprinkle it on our current happy life. I now don't avoid being sad, I feel what I'm feeling and sometimes I cry out, and even wallow in, how much I miss Chris and Ted or wish my Nonne was here to make tortellini with.

To love deeply leaves scars but they are better than never having had the experience. I can actually be happy when I get to be sad because I know it means someone and something was that important to me. Love is sometimes going to be sad and that's OK. Be happy we have the capacity to know and feel it at all.

When I went back the next morning I was greeted with concern and kindness and then relief that I had figured out how to release my own suffering. I hope to save you the suffering you might be doing about your own suffering now that you see how happy we can be to be sad sometimes. Keep your sadness as long as it takes, and as close as you need to. But I offer up that it doesn't need you to keep it with you. 

No one you love would want you to suffer in their absence (whether because of death or circumstance), it would not be their wish to be the source of your pain. You know they would want you to live a happy life in their honor not in your darkness. Not to mention, if your suffering isn't about love but about trauma that was done to you, be clear... nothing that was done to you is worth stealing your present and future joy. Feel your sadness, and then take a deep long breath, add a loud sigh if called for, and then release it until you're ready to be with it again. And if it is still deep inside and clinging to you, please get help to put it in its proper place and free yourself of that burden.  

Time has healed most of my wounds but sometimes when I need a good cry I'm happy that I loved a few deeply enough to be worthy of my tears. 

I hope you take the time to feel your sad tears as well and they bring you some relief. And when you're ready, that they dry and you can get back to a Happy Happy life.