When sadness comes, welcome her as you would joy. She has a message too. Joy is simple to share; there’s something warm to hold onto.
But with sorrow, there’s an abyss that struggles to find the narrowest ledge. Grey drains to empty. The sands underneath shift with torrential rains. Midnight stays, and songs lay low with the bass of sorrow’s belly.
Sorrow is a warrior’s instrument reaching inside and using rib to strum heart. She is alone. Thoughts can drown there. Tiny opaque birds will peck at the remains of the shedding skin too small for what is to come.
In sorrow’s snare spiritual growth isn’t vertical; it wanders like plankton far out to sea – lost and speaks a language of eyes-closed-dreaming-wild. Its words burn defeat.
Sadness will engulf all successes and erase them to a dried shell abandoned on a beach. And there, the carcass waits for life to circle through.
Sorrow’s tears are the sea healing what feels insurmountable. The passage of time ends to let wind blow through the hollow holes of loneliness.
Only those who can recognize will hear the oboe’s lament. A bittersweet song of hope.
I spoke to Tired this morning and she answered in the same language as when air feels heavy right before a deep slow rain. We spent some time there talking about what is this Tired? And she replied, “It is more than being sleep deprived. It is more than a nap will fix. It is the lack of deeper connections. It’s where the soul weeps. Tired is tired of the clichéd. The glossing over, the petty advice, the assumptions and intellectualizing. Tired is tired of the repetitive worldly abuses. Tired is a cross-funnel of empathy overload. Tired is sadness at the heavy demands.
She continued, “I don’t have the ‘right’ words for this moment but let me sing to you.” And so, she did. It was a love song for hearts to mend when ready, pain to be seen, unfairness to be heard, strife to be witnessed, the poor to be fed, history to teach, agedness respected, differences acknowledged, hate crimes ended. Her song is still going with my heart pressed against her hand.
Carolyn Riker | Artist: Max Gasparini
This is what I know…
Stay near to the twitch and tremors of nature’s voice as trees speak through the footpads of earth’s song. Stay close to the ancient ways of solitude. No one can take that from you. Trust your heart for she knows the path. Protect yourself from those who steal your kindness. Keep your inner circle small and safe. Let go of those who violate. Notice how the wind answers the leaves and watch how the parched land drinks her rain so freely. Find sustenance in spirit’s flexibility. Keep open and listen and pause deeply into the reservoir of your fullest passions.
‘Art’ yourself. ‘Write’ yourself. ‘Speak’ yourself.
Become the dreams of your call. Feel into the medicine of your struggles: the anxiety of a thousand wild horses, a century of depression’s sinkholes of silence. Follow your addictions to where they may lead and ask what is lonely, bored, hungry, tired? What are these signals trying to feed? Above all, lovingly support the processes of your innermost needs and take heed to where they lead you and soar.
Carolyn Riker | Artist: Elicia Edijanto
It’s been awhile since I’ve written specifically about counseling. What’s been on my mind though, is how to find a counselor or a therapist that’s best suited for your needs. There are many options and sometimes it can be overwhelming.
Where do you start?
Carolyn is a licensed mental health counselor who provides counseling services via Skype, Zoom or by phone. She is also an author of Blue Clouds and writes poetry, prose and essays.
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