• Leslie Merrell

Today I Did Sad

Today I did sad. I didn't want to do sad. I didn't plan to do sad. I didn't enjoy doing sad. But I needed to do sad.

My sleep last night was fitful due to a migraine. It was one of those that doesn't want to yield to the medicine. It was one of those that seems to stick a knife into the bottom of my energy stores to create a constant drain of my energy. My body was depleted.

I got up and got ready, and did, by default, what I most often do with unpleasant emotions -- I resisted. It's not a conscious decision I make, it just comes from decades of practice.

The funny thing about resisting emotions is that they don't go away. Instead, they grow in intensity and/or urgency. It's like a toddler demanding my attention. The more I try to ignore or put her off, the more insistent she becomes. And, also like a toddler, when I turn toward her, and listen to her, her urgency and intensity lessens. She just wants to be heard.

With my body depleted, and my mind as well from my efforts to manage my thoughts amidst week eight of this quarantine, my emotions had become that insistent toddler. There was to be no putting her off.

When a friend asked how I was doing, my dam burst. Tears, and ugly crying, and apologizing, and trying to stop. She gently reminded me that "it's ok to be sad." I know that. But I needed the reminder. I know I'm strong enough to do sad. I think, in the moment, I become afraid that my painful emotions will break me if I give them their full voice. But, the truth is, when I stopped resisting, and just allowed myself to feel the sadness, it was able to wash over me and through me with a cleansing effect. I wasn't broken, instead I felt more whole.

I hope, with practice, I remember to more quickly and intentionally turn toward my emotion and allow it to have it's full voice, instead of fearing and suppressing it. After all, it's just a vibration. It is harmless. I can do sadness.