Are you feeling sad today? Dude... I am too. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE rainy days. They are a lovely reprieve from the sun - a chance to go inward and cozy up with a movie or a book, loved ones, or even if you are lucky, nap. Rainy days are the little reminders to check in with ourselves to see what needs to be tended to and loved up on to help us feel our brightest most active self on the sunny days ahead. By providing our bodies the balance of surging forward in our active days and retreating inward on our sad or quiet days, we allow our bodies (our physical, emotional, and spiritual bodies) to be healthy. To live in inspiration and then live in integration. Yin and Yang. Without one or the other, we would be lost. By cherishing and loving both, we are balanced and restored.
Today where I live, it is early November and the day gets dark around 5 pm and that does not leave much chance for frivolity and recharging in the sunshine when one has a full time gig. This brings me back to the point of today's post: I am bummed. I am sad - not depressed - but down. And do you know what? That is perfectly fine.
It is more than okay to be down every so often. Whether it's society, gender norm stereotypes, or just other people not respecting that all emotions are necessary - there has been a consistent need in my life to "stay up/happy/upbeat/bubbly". One time, I went to a friend's birthday party in a quieter mood (not down, just quiet), and she got upset with me for "not being myself... people expected to see the funny joke telling Martha."
Um... welcome and meet the shadow side of Martha. She is quiet, cries on and off, and just wants to eat chicken noodle soup all day while watching Beauty and the Beast. This side of Martha is just as real, and lovable, as the goofy side of me... because without her, the bubbly side of Martha would be overwhelming to maintain and eventually run me into the ground. In fact, that very truth has happened to me many times in my life - where I am constantly up beat, active, saying yes to all the requests and showing up as the life of the party (even if I did not have the emotional/energy reserves), and I would get physically sick (colds, strep, body pains...) By living in a constant state of action, we burn ourselves up.
Similarly, in days that I would be in a quiet mood and beat myself up for it ("why are you so sad, there is so much joy in your life! get over it!"), I would never gain the necessary benefits of being listless and as such, wouldn't be emotionally rested. Thus, if day one of sadness was unsuccessful, guess what - here comes day two. As long as we ignore our needs to reset and recharge, we will continue to operate with an empty battery which eventually brings us further down.
Often, sadness is actually a call for help from your soul... It is an emotional flare saying "there is healing here that needs to happen!" However, for many people, rather than going deep to heal the root cause of the sadness (pain/trauma/shadow), they cover it up by staying up beat, or self-soothe on the surface. This is usually where (for many) retail therapy or addictive behaviors come up... that is because it is easier to put a bandaid on the wound instead of going inward and witnessing their traumas/shadows.* Many avoid addressing shadow aspects because it is understandably painful and once one recognizes how the fear/trauma/shadow holds them back from joy, they will have that acute awareness... and then one realizes it is their responsibility to change and heal - and well, its a heck of a lot easier to avoid, project blame on someone else, or self-soothe.
Lots of people defer healing their shadows because they fear change and fear their own power. So, it is a heck of a lot easier to buy things, drink things, take things, etc, instead of going into the emotional recesses of their selves. Perhaps if we normalized feeling sad, and encouraged self-introspection, and rewarded ownership over one's own emotions, then it might not be so hard to say "its time to stop the pattern, release the sadness, and heal the trauma." This is not a judgement, it is instead an observation. We all have choices on how to respond to our needs.... some make choices that address the body and soul's needs, some make choices that bypass or ignore the calls for help.
That brings me back to my point in saying that my being sad is okay. I made a choice this year to stop taking vitamin D. In years past, I would start taking vitamin D supplements mid October, in preparation for the darker days that bring me down. More vitamin D = more light = happier sunnier Martha. This year, in honor of my working with the wheel of the year and the energies of Winter - I have made a choice to bravely walk into the cave of my soul and sit with the darkness. I will find these moments of sadness and feel them, think about them, and speak with them. Where do you come from? What age did you start with me? Why are you lingering? I will listen and learn, witness the pains, and then in some fashion heal them. Each day of sadness becomes a chance to do the deepest forms of self-healing... and by healing the shadows of my hearth, more spiritual light and emotional balance can come in.
Are you doing any deep work this winter? If so, and you want to have some community for support - feel free to reach out. If you want to, but don't know where to begin, or need guidance, I would be honored to chat with you about ideas.
*for those with very deep traumas such as abuse or assault - it is advisable to approach these initially with trained professionals such as a Shaman, a regression healer, hypnotherapist, and/or a talk therapist.