I write here so often about the importance of letting ourselves feel our feelings as they rise, that feelings are the conversation we have with soul and the divine…but it’s not easy. Most of us have spent so much time learning to not feel. If we’re working with our dreams we will be brought again and again to a moment where there is a feeling or an unfelt feeling and the dream wants to teach us about this place, how to recover this quality of our soul. If we’re not doing dreamwork we can still learn to drop into a feeling to find the healing there.
A feeling to learn to stay with might be, for example, sadness. When it starts to rise…to discover that it’s trustworthy…how sadness is a grace…a liquid grace that can move through us and heal us. And if tears rise, all the better, salty water that is necessary to conduct electricity…the electrifying connection of our soul to the divine. As we learn to trust our sadness we let it move through us as it will…all the way through. We don’t try to name it, figure out why we’re sad…we let it have its way with us.
Since I was a girl I’ve known this place of sadness rising…an ineffable longing…or a deep loss. I discovered I could be with it, honor it, deepen it…by playing a piece of sad music…music that was even sadder than I may be at that moment. The music became the catalyst for the sadness to move. It might take ten minutes…it might take a whole evening…but something in me knows to honor the sadness. I can’t say I was able to do that for all feelings; it took working with my dreams for me to even know there were feelings underneath that needed and wanted to be felt…but there was something about sadness I always trusted…it is incredibly personal and intimate.
Over the years there have been a number of musical pieces that supported this movement of sadness through my body and, for me, I have found that Barber’s Adagio for Strings will open me fully to the sadness…dropping into the exact place where the bow meets the violin strings…the notes, like tears, flood my body.
This has now evolved into a meditation and a teaching for me. Listening to Barber’s Adagio for Strings, I am Dante being guided by Virgil through my own inferno…being shown the places I’m disconnected or stuck, places I’ve been deeply hurt, places I’ve deeply hurt others. I never know what I’ll be shown in those moments…but there is neither shame nor blame nor story…there is just the healing liquid grace of sadness.
Next time you feel sadness rising, if you can, don’t push it down or walk away from it. Consider immersing yourself in the feeling waters of a piece of music that evokes even more sadness and let the music, the tears, move through you…they know what to do.
(Image: River of Tears by Echo Brosnan)
Mary Jo Heyen is a certified Natural Dreamwork Practitioner working with clients in person, phone or Skype. Learn more about her work with dreams at www.maryjoheyen.com.