Inviting sadness in for yet another conversation
I had a visitor in a dream last night. A very dear old friend who died several years ago. He was in my dreams, but as a much younger version of himself. A version that I had never known, since I met him later in his life.
And during the dream, I realized that this friend was someone who had already died, so I thought I must be dreaming. Interesting to have a dream within a dream. And I felt so very sad. Grief. Loss. An ache that is like no other, the ache of grief for those lost to us.
Sadness and grief are frequent companions to me now in my life. I suppose that comes with aging, as the losses mount up. I have lost family, friends, past lovers, and dear furry companions. That particular form of grief, for me, is like no other. The unconditional acceptance and love that I felt from my pets that I had not really felt before. Beings that I could be myself with, even with them right there beside me. Otherwise I can only be completely myself in solitude. Perhaps this is part of being an only child, I don’t know.
How to deal with this pervasive sadness. It is not that this is all that I feel. Clinical depression, I believe, is a different issue and sometimes requires medical intervention.
This sadness that I feel, to me, feels like the sadness that is part of life. The bitter that comes with the sweet. The ache of both loss and joy, different sides of the same coin.
I can sometimes feel immobilized by this. And I do my best to sit with it and allow the feelings to come. I must admit that I am not always completely successful with this and will medicate at times with chocolate, carbs, and TV. I have more work to do on this.
And it’s all ok. It’s ok to sometimes have to get away from the intensity of the feelings, as long as it is not in a self destructive way or in a way that then becomes a way of life. I want to feel it all. Even when it is so hard and painful to go into and through the feelings.
So I am sad today. Feeling the ache of all those that I have lost. I miss them all. I feel the place in my heart where they still live. But sometimes I want to be able to reach out and touch them, feel them close to me, hear their voice and breath, sit beside them and talk. Or simply sit beside them and be.
I feel the ache of years gone by. My youth. Some of my dreams and hopes. My younger body, my younger face, my younger self with what felt like limitless dreams. I see photos of myself from the past and wish that I could have appreciated more of who I was back then. So many years spent in harsh self judgment. In trying to please others, which is impossible to maintain. The cost of trying to do that is beyond measure.
I feel the ache for this earth and its creatures that we have destroyed to the point of extinction. I feel the ache of the trees that we cut down. I feel the ache of the natural cycle of life. The need for the hunter to survive. The ache for the prey that will help to maintain that hunter for a bit longer. The earth that seems to be hurtling toward its end, with severe climate change and all the consequences of that.
I feel the ache of those in poverty, hunger, and war.
I feel the ache of people misguided in their attempts to feel some sense of control in this world, not realizing the cost of their actions or beliefs.
As my skin grows thinner, so does my boundary with all that is around me. It is as if I can literally feel the pain of the changes outside of me, as I struggle to accept the changes within me.
So today I am trying my best to sit with my sadness. I am grateful to be able to write about it. I will begin another sketch for another painting. I will try to create space for the feelings to be and to come out where they will.
I sat outside this morning, sipping coffee and simply being with the trees and birds around me, with the quiet of a Sunday morning. I am grateful to be able to do that, to be here now, to feel it all.
I realize that as I continue to age, all these things become so much more precious to me. Partly because I realize that I, too, will someday be gone. That it is all temporary, and a gift to be cherished while we can, while we are still alive, breathing and feeling it all. Sadness and joy. Bitterness and sweetness. Love and loss. Life in all of its exquisitely poignant glory.
So hello sadness, my old friend. I’m listening.