Nothing beautiful in the end comes without a measure of some pain, some frustration, some suffering. This is the nature of things. This is how our universe has been made up.
- Desmond Tutu, The Book of Joy
Sitting with the sadness is something I talk about a lot to my Alexander students. Allowing ourselves to feel sad, to have compassion for ourselves and to acknowledge all our feelings is very important in self-healing. I’ve learned to be pretty good at it on a personal crisis basis. Sitting with the tragedy of the entire world, however, is something new. Something overwhelming.
It helps me to think about this pain, suffering and loss as part of the greater cycle of life. Time and time again, tragedy leads to new awakening, to a greater appreciation of beauty. All around us, spring is happening. It’s no accident that Easter coincides with the resurrection of the earth each year.
The spring season may be the single event that is keeping me uplifted, a place to find joy in the madness. The rains that soaked the earth last night worked their magic on my garden. I looked out the window as the sun came up this morning, and I swear that my plants are twice the size they were when I went to bed last night. The birds are singing joyfully at the idea of being alive in the spring. We have survived the latest storm. Today, right now, that’s enough.
Staying with your feelings
Set up: Find a comfortable chair to sit in where you can place your feet in contact with the floor, sit in meditation pose if that’s comfortable for you, or lie on the floor in constructive rest position. You want to be in a place where you feel grounded, at ease, and where your body is able to rest comfortably for 15-20 minutes.
Breathe in and out, noticing your breath. Don’t change it, just notice it. Notice your heartbeat. Feel your physical connection with the ground. Allow yourself to become physically present to yourself.
Tune into your feelings. What is going on now? Notice any sadness, frustration, anger or pain that may arise. Don’t do anything to change them, just witness your feelings. Thank your inner judge for showing up, and then tell him/her that you don’t need them right now. Sit with your feelings without judgement. Have compassion for yourself as you would for a dear friend. Stay with yourself, mind and body, until you feel the sense of urgency around these feelings diminish. Send them love. Give yourself a hug.
Slowly, when you are ready, open your eyes and return to the outer world. Take your feelings with you - it’s alright.