March 23rd, 2017
By Richard West
Guest writer for Wake Up World
Sadness can be truly debilitating sometimes, leaving us feeling withdrawn, lifeless and flat. So how, when we’re feeling like this, do we take that sadness and channel it into something beautifully creative? How do we transcend the sadness and move forward?
We all feel sad sometimes. Perhaps you’re mourning the loss of a loved one, perhaps it’s sadness over some of the tragedies that are happening around the world, perhaps you feel stuck and don’t know how to move forward. Or, perhaps you just feel sad for no reason other than it’s a sad day.
Firstly let’s explore what sadness really is, because, when we realise what is truly at the heart of our sadness, we are able to channel it positively.
What is Sadness?
The first thing I want to stress about sadness is that it is natural. It comes to all of us as part of the natural process of life; the ebb and flow that comes with living in a world governed by dualistic principles. It is impossible to truly know something without also knowing the lack of it. It may be triggered by something or it may simple wash over us.
Sadness is caused by our observation that things are not okay; a feeling that somehow our reality is unaligned, and doesn’t always meet up to the beauty and love that we often feel. It is a playing out of our explorations of our reality, showing us where we may be stuck or attached to people or situations.
The Truth Behind Sadness
When we look a little deeper into sadness we see that there is one underlying feeling governing the whole experience… love. What we are experiencing is a temporary perceived loss of connection to that love, because we have lost the object which triggered it within us. However, when we look deeper, we discover that the love is still there and that our sadness is actually a manifestation of that love. We feel sad because we care. We grieve over loss of a loved one because that person was a object in which we could express our love, we feel sadness about world events because we want others to feel love too. We feel sad when there seems to be no channel for us to express our love, which is our natural creative expression of our uniqueness.
So how can we use our sadness to fuel our creative expression of our uniqueness (love)?
Honour the Pain
It’s very important that we recognise our sadness for what it is, and know that it is a manifestation of our underlying feelings of love. That way we don’t condemn it, push it away or ignore it. We embrace it as part of our beauty.
How does the sadness want to express itself? Depending on who you are, perhaps you will want to cry, curl up into a ball or stare off into space.
Express the Love
Once the pain has been honoured and expressed, you can channel this energy into creative expression. Perhaps you want to play some music, write a song or a poem, draw a picture or dance. You may want to do this separately for both the feelings of sadness and love, or you may want to blend the two together, which can be very powerful.
Finding the real you through it all can be extremely liberating. You discover that sadness and happiness are really two sides of the same coin — love. Thus you allow whatever arises, knowing that who you are underneath doesn’t change. Then you express your feelings into the outside world letting those feelings of love, whichever form they may take, ripple out.
Your expression may also take the form of gestures, particularly when your sadness involves another person. You may wish to honour a loved one by doing something for them our creating something to remember them by. Here’s a heart-warming example of a young father who was dying of cancer and wrote his son a series of letters to be opened throughout his life, entitled When I’m Gone.
Watch for the Reflection
Life is like a mirror. As we express ourselves into the world around us, thus we get feedback. This can take the form of reactions from other people — perhaps sharing your sadness, thus connecting through love, or being inspired by your creativity. If love expresses itself purely, without neediness or blame, then people will feel that and reflect it back to you. You can also look out for reflections in nature. Animals express there beauty very well and we can find reflections in them, or even just being warmed by the rays of the sun.
When we take this simple approach to heart we will begin to see amazing benefits:
Feeling that all is okay, whether we are happy or sad. We no longer judge ourselves because we know who we truly are deep down.
Increased feelings of being alive; I’ve often heard people who are going through tough times in life remark that despite feeling rotten, they also feel more alive than they ever have before. (For more, check out my article: What makes you feel truly alive?)
Increasing sense of connection. Not only do you get to know yourself better, but you may also develop deeper connections to those around you.
“Sadness gives depth. Happiness gives height. Sadness gives roots. Happiness gives branches. Happiness is like a tree going into the sky, and sadness is like the roots going down into the womb of the earth. Both are needed, and the higher a tree goes, the deeper it goes, simultaneously. The bigger the tree, the bigger will be its roots. In fact, it is always in proportion. That’s its balance.” – Osho
A Final Poem
In the spirit of creativity, I’ve written a short poem on the subject of sadness.
Today is a sad day,
But that’s okay.
I feel my heart beating with sorrow,
And I know that I am beautiful.
For how can beauty not feel sorrow,
to remind us of how openly we love?
I hear a song and I cry,
Tears that make my eyes glisten.
And looking through this shimmering lens,
I know that I am truly alive.
I am alive and I love.
Also by Richard West:
- Recovering From Loss of Identity
- Listening Through the Noise: Steps Toward Inner Peace
- Dying to Live – Embracing Change
- Why Die Consciously?
About the author:
Richard West is a carer, psychologist, spiritual facilitator and writer. He has worked close to death for 7 years and is passionate about helping people to move on in a conscious way, even though our society is geared to fight against death. Richard is also a spiritual facilitator at Openhand (www.openhandweb.org). He offers services in Spiritual Facilitation and Conscious Dying on his website ‘Back to the Source’ (www.comebacktothesource.com) and writes regular articles on his blog (www.comebacktothesource.com/articles).