So much of this blog is about the big sorrows, about loss and grief of a magnitude that shakes the earth and changes the topography of your life. But there are many sorrows in life, and different people have different abilities to cope. Someone I love was feeling one of the little sorrows today, just a kind of general loneliness I guess you’d call it. Mind you, she’s not really lonely. She has family and friends and activities. But it was just a bit of a down time, and because I love her I could feel it in my own heart.
I’d been feeling that particular little sorrow today myself. I’d been thinking about a time which is not even today, kind of a little, temporary empty nesting period, and I felt a wave of sadness rush over me and settle in my heart. You know that heart feeling? It’s like a pocket of unshed tears that forms there. My first reaction was a momentary panic at this impending sadness — what would I do, how would I get through it?
But I have a lot of experience with that kind of thing, and I knew I would do what I usually do with sadness. I would look it in its face and say, “What are you here to teach me?” Loneliness in particularly is always calling you to a deeper relationship with the most important person in your life … yourself. I can’t tell you how many hours I have spent in my life, alone with my journal and my pen, traveling inside at levels both deep and shallow. Deeper still, it calls you to confront the dark and shadowy places in life — the spiritual and emotional nighttime and winter.
Don’t ask me what you take out of these places, cause I couldn’t tell you, but once you have learned to walk through them with your eyes open, all of life becomes richer. You become richer, deeper, more multi-dimensional. The spirit of creativity is born in these places. All of the greatest artists of all kinds are acquainted with them. Many deeply creative people have suffered from depression, which is interesting, because depression brings nighttime and winter to even a sunny day, and crashing, thundering, whipping storms out of any real sorrow.
The thing you have to remember with sadness is that it will pass. Even the grief of death lessens over time, and all the other sorrows will simply melt away. There will be other lovers, there will be friends, jobs, outings, fun times. So in the moment, you can look sadness in the face, learn from it, grow strong from it, grow wise from it, because you know it is not your only companion, not your constant companion. It is only the moment that belongs to it, not you, and not your life.
I know the holidays can be a really difficult time for people. Today there was a discussion among some people on an e-mail group I belong to, and I was surprised to learn that some of the warm and intelligent people I have been talking to for a couple of years are alone at the holidays. Many don’t have trees. Some can’t afford gifts. I know people who are getting through a first holiday season without a loved one, and some of us are getting through the 23rd…. Well, if there is good in your life, focus on that. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, focus on what you do have. Count your blessings, however many or few, however big or small. There are many people who are lonely at the holidays. If all the lonely people reached out to each other, what would happen?
And if all else fails, dig deep within. Grab your pen, your pencil, your paintbrush, clay, your yarn, your guitar, and write, paint, sculpt, sing, whatever it is your soul wants to use to mine that deeply buried treasure.
It’s one of my most deeply held beliefs that life is not an accident. We are where we are for a reason. There are things we are put here to learn, and things we are supposed to do. Everything we encounter along the way is there to help us to become who we are supposed to be, so we can accomplish what we are supposed to accomplish. Learn fast, learn well, and get on with it. A million cliches are filling my mind here, but I believe that it is only by doing this can we find real peace and satisfaction in life.
Blessings to all of you.
And of course, to you Michaela, all my love, always and forever.