The other day, my kiddo laid it out plain. Feeling sad because things aren’t the same as they were yesterday, is the gist of what he said, when we surveyed the damage from the atmospheric river slash deluge slash super rain event.
I’d been in a tumble-dryer of emotions – feeling grateful, perturbed, worried, lucky… a great big swirl of stuff. But when I sat with that a while: “I feel sad for what is lost”, I thought, yeah, that’s about it. (Thanks for nailing it once again, eight-year-old.)
I feel sad for what is lost. For what we are losing.
And it’s quite a big and overwhelming sadness, because the losses, they do add up, do they not?
Naming it can be helpful, as the graphic above does so well.
And also, it can be not-so-helpful, because I don’t really want to be trapped in that crazy-flower swirling Venn diagram overlap of so much shit-that’s-going-wrong. (Systems collapsing, it seems. Also, Joanna Macy calls this The Great Turning. It’s a collapse, and a blossoming, too.)
I share this mostly to normalize feelings of distress or stress or anxiety or overwhelm or sadness. I’d venture to, without any professional qualifications, say, that if you are feeling stress, distress, anxiety, overwhelm or sadness right now, that actually doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. Oh friend. It’s probably a deeply healthy response.
Not to say that staying in that place of overwhelm, dwelling there, as it were, is ideal. I think we want to try and let those feelings move. Meet them, and let them move through us. And cultivate the supports that allow us to do that without collapsing – a practice, a place, a therapist, a circle…
And know that there are resources, and there are people, who are working hard, to try and cultivate that capability in our communities, in this region. The Whistler Blackcomb Foundation is one of them, and they’ve been funding a host of offerings, before and during the pandemic, including the Sea to Sky Safety Net Support Resource Hub, a resource hub of self-care tools and local services to help connect you to mental health and substance use support.