Perennial Gladness. Perennial Sadness.
A lyric in one of my favourite songs is, “I walked into harder times, I walked out the other side”
Seems simple enough. It’s the same type of philosophy as the quote “this too shall pass”. Head down, just get through it until it gets better.
I understand this, because all you want to do when it hurts is shut it out until it doesn’t hurt anymore. But something I’m learning lately is the importance of embracing a feeling. Whatever it is, I feel it fully.
I was running errands one morning, and as the sun was coming up, the golden haze warmed the glow of the morning dew scattered across the fields. There were animals running free through the tall grass, that seemed to have a majestic touch with the calm instrumental music I had playing in my car.
Before I knew it, I was crying. I still don’t know why.
I felt happy, but the kind of happy that makes you sad, because it cracked open parts of my heart that revealed just how dark it was inside.
You know how it hurts more when you start going to the chiropractor again after a break, because it shows you just how out of align you are? It’s almost easier to stay jammed up, to save the process of working out the kinks.
That’s what happened. I had forgotten what life felt like with a buoyant heart, because I’ve spent so long trying to stay afloat.
So you know what I did? I cried. I kept crying. I stopped, I took pictures, I sang, I cried. I moved moment by moment through those minutes, leaving space for those crusty walls starting to crack, because I was navigating those new emotions, and undressing why I was feeling them.
I remind myself of the story of the seed, and how it has to crack to start growing. It has to be completely undone, turned inside out to be completely rooted. This opens the door to the directions that are only possible to a naked, demolished seed.
It feels safer locked up, intact. The only thing is, that’s it, then.
That’s where you’ll stay.
My heart has a funny way of letting me know what’s happening before my brain understands what’s happening. I anticipate change before I assume it, I feel visceral excitement before I know what I’m excited about, and I break down before I know I need a change, my shell starts falling apart, and it’s only then I know I’m starting a new growth.
If I felt those tears building and suppressed them, and with every turn signal shut myself up with “I’m fine”, who knows what unanswered emotions I’d have to chew through to understand the root of any upcoming problem.
To keep up with the rollercoaster, I feel what I feel. No questions asked. It leads me to the root of how I’m digesting what has happened, or how to approach what is happening.
I’m fine. And when I critically look at my life, I know I’m fortunate and have so much to be happy about. But it can be toxic to reason yourself out of bad moods. They’re trying to tell you something.
It’s not ungrateful to feel bad sometimes, It’s human.
Happiness doesn’t exits outside of hurt and sadness. We conceive it as the opposite, so in our minds, the absence of sadness is happiness. Simple, correct?
They juxtapose each other, and make each other possible. It’s like driving down a meandering road. Could you get to the top of each hill without the straightaway’s or valleys? They all work together to get you all sorts of places. One is not possible without the other. So feel it, and feel it fully, because the darker days hold just as much importance as the good days.
I often think of a book I once read, allegorically referencing a landfill at the end of a stream. You can keep up with the trash that keeps getting swept into the ebb of the stream, but at the end of the day, you’re just cleaning the stream. And you’ll always have to be cleaning that stream.What you need to do is take care of the landfill. Find the root, take in the gnarly mass, dive in head first, and deal with it, so you don’t have to keep cleaning the stream.
So embrace the garbage. It’s okay not to be okay. You can’t be all the time. Literally nothing else in nature blooms year round. Show yourself some mercy and have a bad day. Cry, be bummed out. You’re not mopey, your fully feeling life, and all of its gut wrenching, painfully colourful beauty.
What a blessing it is to feel everything so deeply – what’s life otherwise?