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Why being sad is okay with me

Thursday, October 29, 2009 by Marianne Elliott

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Antonio*: good friend, loving husband and father, great listener, straight talker and UN Peacekeeper. May he rest in peace.

I'm sad today. Yesterday suicide bombers and gunmen attacked a UN guesthouse in Kabul and
killed nine people. On the same day a car bomb in Pakistan killed many
more. I went to bed last night with sadness and I woke up with sadness.
But I don't mind being sad.

When I am sad my heart is tender. I feel the deep presence of love that sits beneath the sadness and transforms it into compassion. When I am sad I am also open. I feel the pain of those who suffer, but I also feel the incredible stability of that love. I am no longer afraid of drowning in my sadness. I understand that it arises out of love and that love is big enough to hold it.

So I don't mind being sad. I think it is what our heart and our true nature require in response to times like these. In the sadness our hearts soften, the barriers we have built between ourselves and the rest of the world crumble a little. We feel the truth that we are all always together. We experience the power of our own compassion. In sadness we are very close to love.

Today I'm sad and I'm just fine with that.

*NB: Antonio died last year, not in the attack yesterday, but he's in my heart today.

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9 Responses to "Why being sad is okay with me"

  1. amy says:

    thank you for sharing your tender, open heart with us. i read the news from countries experiencing conflict and feel sad about the suffering of all those involved. reading your words adds another layer to my understanding of the situation/s and my response.. if that makes sense. thank you.

  2. sas says:

    beautifully put.
    there is something universal and humbling about the sadness isn’t there?
    my tender, sad bits are sending love to yours xxx

  3. JenBlack says:

    YOU are in my heart today Marianne.
    Love, Jenny

  4. softer, tender and open.
    i’m just fine with that, too.
    yes, we are together in it ALL.

  5. Paris Parfait says:

    Well said…so sad about Antonio and all those who died in the latest attacks. Amidst the sadness, I am reminded of the courage and strength of spirit of all those amazing men and women risking their lives so that others’ lives may improve. xo

  6. Lisa says:

    Thank you for this important, heart-wrenching reminder.
    This past weekend, I heard Andrew Harvey ask “Do you have the courage to sit in the middle of your own heartbreak?” To which, I could proudly respond, “yes”.
    Thank you also for sharing Antonio’s photo. What a beautiful, robust, and friendly man.
    From my heart to yours…
    Hugs and Namaste

  7. Marianne says:

    Thank you for seeing Antonio. I loved him like a brother or favored uncle. He was a true humanitarian in a soldiers uniform. A terrible loss to many.
    Sent from my iPhone. Please accept my apologies for brevity or typos.

  8. Helen says:

    Sorry this comment is so late, but I’m slowly working my way through your blog and felt compelled to comment here, even if noone will see it.
    This article struck a real chord for me as it touches on something I’ve experienced but not ever really seen or heard expressed before. And it’s helped me to understand my own feelings.
    I went through a difficult time in the middle of last year as my dad was diagnosed with inoperable cancer and I broke up with my fiance 2 weeks later.
    While it was obviously unspeakably hard, I did learn from that time that there is a strength and beauty in grief if we allow ourselves to truly feel it. The depth of my devastation spoke of the depth of my love for my dad, and I really felt and treasured that.
    I felt as though I’d been stripped to bone. And while it really was as painful as that sounds, it also meant I was stripped back and closer to the my true Self (and therefore God/Spirit, and therefore everyone and everything else in the world) than I ever had been before. I was raw and bleeding, but I was blessed.
    I think we have a bit of a problem with “negative” emotions generally. We tend to think that if we’re sad or lonely then there’s something *WRONG* with either the situation or the person experiencing the emotion, and it must be fixed, and fast. We don’t take into account that shade makes light shine brighter. And surely we’re here for DEPTH of experience.
    We also tend to have a great fear of sadness, which is crazy because fear is ultimately a far more debilitating and destructive force than the sadness itself.
    I and my family (like anyone) still have a long and bumpy road ahead, but I feel so much stronger and sure of myself knowing that sadness and grief CAN be borne, and maybe even treasured a bit.
    Thanks for your insights and helping me to understand this Marianne. x

  9. Marianne says:

    Oh Helen, that must have been a tough, tough time. 
    Thanks for responding to this post. Ive learned to make friends with sadness, and love this poem by Rumi, which I suspect youll relate to as well.
    THE GUEST HOUSEThis being human is a guest house.
    Every morning a new arrival.A joy, a depression, a meanness,
    some momentary awareness comes
    as an unexpected visitor.Welcome and entertain them all!
    Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
    who violently sweep your house
    empty of its furniture,
    still, treat each guest honorably.
    He may be clearing you out
    for some new delight.The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
    meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.Be grateful for whatever comes.
    because each has been sent
    as a guide from beyond.– Jelaluddin Rumi,
        translation by Coleman Barks

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