Emotional sincerity matters to me. I am far from perfect – but I am sincere.
Why is it that the world tells us not to be sad or angry or bitter or full of hatred? Why, even worse, do we get told that such feelings are unnecessary and wrong? This means that we have the feelings boiling away inside us – and no safe way for them to come out because of other people’s need for constant, if false, displays of happiness, calm acceptance, sweet-nature and endless shallow love.
We are told, endlessly, to think positive, to envision a bright future, to be upbeat and cheerful – and, when we are not able to do these things, when we slip into the darkness – which is, and always was, but the other side of the coin – others look askance, back away, try to jolly us out of our despair, get impatient, tell us we are self-indulgent and wrong-headed.
But, sometimes, we have to choose darkness; we have to face the entrance to Annwn, the Underworld, which is dark but also beautiful. We have to go to the cleansing and emotionally open pools and sanctuaries, glens and healing streams and weep and immerse ourselves in water and align our spirits with the source. We have to allow Sorrow’s Springs their place in our inner landscapes, and let tears form another small tributary.
We have to accept that we may not feel better immediately; that we may, in fact, have many layers of grief and sorrow and loss to shed before the light can stroke us gently and give us radiant relief. We have to accept that bite-sized emotions, snapped on and off speedily, are not real or desirable; that this endless need to get over it in ten seconds flat is neither healthy nor desirable; that the knitting together of wounds, be they abrasions of the skin or cicatrices within the soul, take weeks, even months or years, and not minutes.
Above all, I feel, we need to bring back a sense of the darkness being integral to our lives and experiences. We need to remind ourselves that no emotions are black or negative unless made taboo and named-and-shamed by those who seek control and fear the strength of their own inner weather fronts.
Weeping is not a sign of weakness or mental illness. It never was. The Creator gave it to us for a purpose – catharsis – and we dam it up so unwisely and very much to our detriment. Every time we tell someone, ‘Don’t cry!’ we are stoppering an essential safety release pipe.
What do we actually mean when we tell others not to feel the way they are feeling? Let me tell you: We are implying that WE do not want to see their raw selves; that, because we are unable, or unwilling, to access our own so-called dark emotions, we do not wish to be around anyone else’s.
The Holy Grail is not endless happiness and peace. How can it be? Life dips and soars. Intensity reaches both heights and stygian depths. Sobbing our hearts out, feeling the whiplash of grief, mourning all losses – none of these make us weak or negative individuals. Sometimes they are as inevitable as they are therapeutic.
I have a vast capacity for joy and laughter and pleasure and excitement and love. At present, however, there are very good reasons for my sadness and fear and anger and descent into the dark underworld of the spirit.
We can keep the faith – that we are on the right path; that this chapter will, eventually, end – without needing to promise unrealistic glory and happy-ever-after-ness. We can experience the vulnerable emotions without needing to call ourselves failures or pathetic.
Why is it that the world tells us these feelings are wrong, dark, forbidden and to be hidden?
The wrongness lies in the endless denial of nature’s safety valves and not in the feelings themselves.