This morning my daughter Eve went with her father to go and see her grand-parents and cousins. After I shut the passenger door of the car and watched them drive away I went back inside the house and stood in the hall. I felt sadness swell through my body, as I felt the emptiness of my body reflected back to me in the house.
Somehow the quiet of the house and the fact that there was none of the usual detritus strewn across the floor felt odd. Clinical even. The kitchen was immaculate because no one had yet had had breakfast – Ben was going to pick up a breakfast muffin for him and Eve on their way out of London – a worry sprouted: would the sadness stay with me all day?
Ladies and gentleman let me introduce you to the sadness dance…It’s is an awesome little tool I have been working with over the last 3 months or so – inspired by Karla McClaren’sbook The Language of Emotions (I’ll be going into more detail in a future blog).
One of the chapters talks about working with sadness – how to release it so that you can touch more deeply into the heart of what this particular emotion can teach you about where you are right now. I have also been using it recently when I am awake in the early hours and need to release tension from my body and relax.
Recently it has become a part of our family life so that if Eve or I ever feel sad, we dance. Which has been so helpful as our family has been going through a lot of changes recently and along with the pauses, we’re starting to communicate with each other in a way that is enhancing the family dynamic. In whatever shape or form it may appear. Sometimes it’s Evie who voices first where she is. Sometimes because she can see I am sad even when I haven’t noticed and sometimes because she wants to tell me how she is.
“Mama sad,” Eve will say sometimes.
“Yes I am,” I’ll say.
Or sometimes, “Actually right now I’m alright.”
“Evie’s sad.” Normally we speak a little about it keeping it simple and then we dance!
It’s an abbreviated version of what Karla recommends, as my daughter is 2 so I am taking it slowly with her, but this has become a treasured tool in helping her (and I) communicate with each other how she may be feeling in the face of some big changes. (For a more in depth explanation of how to work with sadness, please check out this article here).
So we get up and we dance and stick out our tounges and waggle about – all softly, because there’s another dance, the angry dance where the movements are stronger, harder that we use too and is just as effective (and fun) for shifting an otherwise potentially stuck state – and wait for our bodies to relax and the sadness to shift. This has also been awesome for me as I have been meditating for around 14 years but it has been movement and in particular dance that has really helped me release old emotions that have hung around long after their due date.
And the joy of this sadness dance is that others don’t need to do it, to get the benefit. The other day in the play park when one of the girls was upset and crying, Evie and I showed her and her sister the sadness dance and soon she was smiling and taking her coat off to play again. That was a sweet moment for me, to see how shifts that can happen for us can also create shifts for others. The little girl didn’t need to do the sadness dance. Her sadness shifted just from watching Evie and I dancing around, our arms lolloping about like orangutans.
So this is what I was doing this morning when the sadness was swelling in my belly and in the place where the solar system oscillates in the centre of our chests, I was dancing. Only for a few minutes. But it was enough. And then I sat and as Karla suggests asked my sadness the two questions that help shift it:
What needs to be released & what needs to be regenerated?
Today what needed to be released was the acknowledgment that my life has changed. That the family that we were is now altered. I do not know what the future will hold, only that there will be days when my daughter goes off with her father and I stay at home. And it is for me to throw the net open on what this time becomes for me. Whether I use it to work, see friends, walk, etc.
For what needed to be rejuvenated, the answer that came back was truth. To be more truthful to how my mind and body are feeling. Recently I have been operating on autopilot. I think part in shock that something suspected had finally happened and quite swiftly and also because however much change may be needed for us all, there are parts of me for whom familiarity is reassuring and safe. Here again maybe there is a chance for me to throw the net open and learn a little bit more about trusting the mystery of life. And by that I mean, when I stop trying to make things happen, when I stop bustling and fussing and slow down to feel the beat of my heart, there is a pulse to life that is nourishing on a level no crazy activity of mine could ever be. And that is something I would love to impart to my daughter. Trust a little more, control a little less.
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And till the next post here’s to throwing open the net everywhere and anywhere