Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Sadness and patience and the art of staying productive

I've noticed that we do not often talk about sadness. We talk about depression (it's a disease) sometimes about grief (there's counselling for that). We do not talk about what it's like to be sad or how sadness enriches our lives and perspectives. We do not talk about how sadness slows us down and interrupts our thought patterns and makes a change in us.

I'm sad today. There are lots of reasons, good reasons. Some are old reasons, anchored to this time of year. Others are current heartaches. Some are not really my own, but they are close enough. And some are things that have not happened yet (but they will happen one day).

One of my most firmly held beliefs in life (and presuppositions in my work in NLP) is that we are here to live our lives, not escape from them. Sadness has a place in my life because I have (almost always) stopped trying to outthink my life or work around it. So today, I am agreeing to feel the tightness and tenderness around my heart, to be distracted, and to slow my pace to what I can do well while I am sad.

Small steps. Chores. The creation of order. These are things I can manage when I am sad.

Tomorrow I may feel better or different. I may be ready to climb a mountain or wrestle a demon. Or not. Part of the discipline is noticing what is possible in the present and making the most of it: doing the right tasks for the moment while keeping in mind all that needs to be done. I cannot be sad forever. But neither do I need to hide from my sadness by making myself busier than necessary.

I honour the values and people and loss when I slow down and let myself feel what I am feeling. Most of all, I honour the self that is aware and awake and knows what I need even when it is not popular or easy. Patience may be less about how we respond to others and more about how we respond to the feelings we wish we did not have.

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