Wednesday, June 29, 2016

22 Zen and the Art of Lost and Found

Looking at Our Sadness[1]
Experience Has Taught Us: That for some, suffering is worn like a badge we've earned, and for others it is to be avoided at all costs.
Both situations are related to each other.  They are polar opposites; yet, they both define our inability to embrace our feelings and thus to be able to move through them to a place of acceptance of life on life's terms.
It is a painful process.
Our sadness is a healing feeling, and when we avoid it, healing can't take place.
Sadness is one of the many sources of our vulnerability.  Our vulnerability is important to achieving intimacy.  Sadness is a form of self-intimacy.
Experience Has Taught Us: That if we hide from our vulnerability or from our sadness, or if we try to avoid deeper, richer, thicker feelings, we often become hard, non-empathic and isolated.  Sadness is a necessary part of our natural recovery system.  It allows us to digest the events of our lives, to process them, and to pass them on, allowing someone else to have the benefit of our experience.
Statement of truth: Children who are hurt are seldom     allowed to express the feelings of hurt.
Corollary #1:  the sadder we were, the more vulnerable we were.
Corollary #2:  If, in our vulnerability, we were used and hurt again, it follows that we will naturally attempt to avoid the experience of our sadness because it connects us to being used and hurt repeatedly - consciously or unconsciously - our original pain - past and present.
Like trying to avoid bumping your sore elbow on the fridge door (repeatedly) as you walk by.  The harder you try the more prone to disaster.
Experience Has Taught Us: That sadness is healthy.  Sadness enables us to do our grieving, to move through our losses.  For example, as children, how many of us, when we were hurt or betrayed and left sobbing, got what we needed?
It was as simple then as it is now.  What we needed to hear was someone we trusted to say that our sobbing, our crying was okay.  We only needed someone close to us, someone we trusted, to label and affirm our feelings initially, so we could learn to do that for ourselves, and then, with some practice, to eventually do the same for others.
"I know you're hurt.  It's okay.  Go ahead - cry.  It's okay.  I'll be right here, if you need me"
Not many of us received something like that - being listened to and understood.
How many of us have had our feelings of sadness affirmed?  It seems so simple, and yet it happens so seldom.
Most of us were talked out of our feelings or made to feel bad about feeling sad.  We got ignored or teased or made
fun of.  Sometimes we just got told not to cry - "don't worry, everything will be okay. " Sometimes we got told that if we didn't stop, "then I'll really give you something to cry about."
All of this denies our feelings, which in turn blocks our healing processes, which in turn denies our innate sense of vulnerability, that thus blocks any hope of future intimacy with others or with ourselves.
Something so simple and so small, how could it be so important in its absence?  But it is!

[1]           Taken from Experience Has Taught Us
–175 Missing Pieces

1 comment:

  1. For me, the thing that got shut down even more than sadness was anger. Anger was not allowed in our house when I was a kid and when I was parenting my daughter, I shut her anger down too because it hit that uncomfortable, painful place in me.