June 11, 2013

Sadness Is a Guide.


Photo: Carly Mountain

I used to be very afraid of sadness.

I feel like I never let myself experience true sadness until nursing school, which was about six years ago.

I was compromised and because of my actions, I was faced with what I had considered the most intense emotional state. All of a sudden, and without appropriate resources to really handle what I was being confronted with, I melted internally and became scared of these waves of emotion. But more than anything, what I do remember from that entire experience was completely rejecting any real conscious admittance of negatively charged emotions, primarily loneliness and sadness.

It took me three months to even be able to write down the words, “I am lonely.” Things would circle in my head, thoughts such as, “I don’t get lonely, I am never sad so I can’t be now,” and I would acknowledge them as true. I would believe my superficiality and fear regarding what embracing those emotions meant, and I was scared of the energy required in having them as part of me. Additionally, and honestly, I didn’t want people to see me sad for fear of what it meant about me.

So as life progressed forward, I was able to admit to myself that I was sad and lonely and that I needed support. I felt though that no emotions could challenge those that I felt in nursing school. Until this year.

This year provided me a level of sadness that I didn’t know possible. It is a void that eats to my core, and is something that I fully embrace as part of my life. I feel like the more sadness I can contain, the more joy I can hold. And so as of right now, I use sadness as a guide.

The sadness that I feel helps me understand and care for my soul. It allows me to understand what my needs are and helps me understand my inner workings. And if I listen to that sadness, and pay attention to the exact needs that are truest to my nature, I discover more about what Greer is and not what Greer should be.

Such a different space to be living compared to where I am now, but am so grateful for those years for they brought me to where I am now. There have been tragedies and triumphs and everything in between since nursing school, but I wouldn’t trade any of it.

A beautiful exercise is to embrace those challenging periods as they are happening, for in retrospect, we can see that they are nothing short of beautiful.

Sadness is a guide, it is not something to be feared or turned against; it is something to be embraced. So I embrace it in order to become better friends with me.



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Ed: Brianna Bemel

Reply to Karen katz cancel

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Karen katz Dec 18, 2013 2:37pm

there is a great concept from Pema Chodron-"sit, stay, heal"…..instead of trying to escape our sadness/loneliness/grief/etc…..we should just BE with it….it takes some of the power away from our negative emotions, when we see that they will pass, just like our positive emotions, and life will go on. I find it very helpful at bedtime, when as the lights go off, no matter how nice a day I had, sorrow and loneliness over the various problems and issues in my life flow into my being-sometimes just for a few minutes, sometimes longer. I breathe and remind myself that things will be better in the morning, that I will get up, have a nice strong cup of tea, go swimming or to a yoga class, see friends, go to work (I am a nurse also), and just in general live life. I have learned not to get so mired in the sadness, not to try to medicate or drink it away (I have been sober almost 19 months) and not to let it be a judgement on my life . (because part of me feels that if my life was REALLY great, I wouldn't get sad.) Good luck in your journey through life….through the happy and the sad times and everything in between!

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Greer Van Dyck

Greer Van Dyck, M.A. appreciates the quiet of the early morning hours. Proudly representing herself as a “realistic optimist,” she thrives on challenging herself in the workplace and on the playing field. She works for a startup company called TherapySites, who specializes in providing web based solutions for mental health care practitioners and gets geeked out over riding her single speed mountain bike. The work keeps her stimulated and always tests her creative edge and business savvy.
She references the words of Kahlil Gibran often and appreciates the wisdom of his words. One of her favorite quotes is, “Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.” Game on. Providing therapeutic services in and around Boulder, CO. Please feel free to call at 706-714-6500 or email at [email protected]