The Gift in Mud
“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
Hello friends. I’ve miraculously turned a corner and have now transitioned into Autumn Cindy. I’m feeling peaceful, optimistic and creative…..all sweaters and pumpkin lattes and cozy nights on the couch with my family. 😉 It seems to happen every year – I really do love this season, but always experience some sort of small death before I can truly embrace it. It was a difficult October.
Well, it may be darker outside, but my internal light is glowing again.
Hey, I realize I’ve been doing quite a lot of complaining over this last month or so. Sorry if I’ve been a total drag, but listen you guys, I’m just keeping it real. I’m through with the exercise of putting a smile on my face and counting my blessings when I feel like shit. It’s not that I don’t know it to be true – I am most certainly blessed – it’s just that when I don’t make the space to honour my emotions, it’s really just like invalidating them altogether. And I’m not doing that anymore.
One of the most powerful epiphanies I’ve ever had in my life happened about 8 or 9 years ago when I realized this:
ALL EMOTIONS ARE VALID.
Let that sink in if you don’t already know it to be true.
I don’t care how fortunate you are or how easy you have it, nothing cancels out the fact that sometimes life is just gonna feel really hard. You will be sad, or angry, or frustrated or despairing…..or a combination of all of those things and more…..and sometimes you won’t even understand why. This is just part of being human, and it’s totally ok. Wonderful, even!
I used to feel ashamed of myself when I felt depressed for no apparent reason. I believed it was unjustified because I have such a good life. So I would swallow my tears and lock up my feelings and carry on knowing that things could be SO much worse. I would slap a smile on my silly mug and force myself to look on the bright side of life. I thought it was a wonderful skill to have and got pretty good at it, too.
But then, one day, I blew up my life. Okay, well maybe it took more than “one day”, but over a span of several months all of the parts of myself that I had silenced….all of the pieces that felt unheard, invalidated and stuffed down, just came rushing out in all sorts of ways. Some seemingly unrelated, but all very destructive, nonetheless.
It took awhile to unravel myself in order to put things back together, but when I did, I vowed to always give space to those “dark emotions”, under all circumstances. I’m sure that’s what led to my “breakdown”….or as I prefer to think of it, breakTHROUGH.
What I have found is that if I just feel my feels, and even allow myself a pity party every now again, I seem to ride out the ups and downs of life a lot more gracefully. Also, my energy doesn’t spill out unconsciously and have all sorts of unwanted effects on other people.
I live my life more intentionally now. I used to be afraid of getting stuck in the proverbial “mud”, but guess what? It was a fear unfounded; It has yet to happen. I don’t try and hike around the puddles anymore, I take off my boots and socks, and just kind of wade right through the middle of them. I immerse myself in the muck, and in life itself. Isn’t that the point? I mean, no one’s getting out of here unscathed anyway, so why not do it voluntarily with grace and listen to the voices of wisdom along the way. Before, you would have had to drag me through it, blindfolded, kicking and screaming so loudly I couldn’t hear anything at all let alone learn from the experience.
The other thing I discovered once immersing myself in full-spectrum feeling, is that I was actually a blocked creative! I think we all are (that’s another blog post).
It’s true. I was always “good at art”, but I could never express myself genuinely as a true artist. At least not for longer than a rare, free-flowing moment here or there, or with the exception of early childhood. The control I had over my emotions was like the cork in a champagne bottle. Once removed, I exploded with creativity and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Not that I wanted to. For that first year or two I could hardly keep up with myself. I suspect I had many years worth of creative energy stored up, just waiting for release. It was a wonderful and exciting time, coming home to myself. I had found the gift in mud.
These days, I have more of a steady flow going. I do still get blocked on occasion, but I know what to do when it happens. I never know how long it will take to move through it…….and time frames can really vary……but I don’t sweat it so much. It can be really hard, though.
Sometimes the feelings stem from something recent, but it seems that there is also a deep and ancient well of mysterious darkness that bubbles within me. Regardless, this, too, shall pass. I remind myself of that every time my fear of getting “stuck” arises. Often I will use writing to pull things up to the surface and into the light of day, or sometimes I will hammer it out into the silver. But I will never, EVER, again tell myself, “Cheer up. You have so much to be grateful for.”
I am grateful for contrast in my life. I accept the ups and downs and all that life has to offer. It’s ok to be sad. It’s ok to be mad. It’s even okay to be just a little “blah” every now and then. I allow myself to feel it all.
I hope you do, too. XO