I am working again. Last week I saw my first client since I quit my job last July. During the session my client was sharing her thoughts and feelings about some very significant recent changes in her life. Changes she neither anticipated nor wanted. She asked if one can feel grateful, frustrated and angry at the same time.
I can so relate to her confusion about her emotional reactions. While I am grateful for having this opportunity to work, I have had a flood of other feelings as well. One would think that after living with myself for 60 years I would not be surprised by the chaotic complexity and the intensity of my emotional reactions, but as usual I have been. I have felt joy, excitement about doing something I know I do well; but also, I have felt a rush of sadness and grief. In connecting with my client, her grief reached in and touched my own. Not surprising at all and yet, I wasn’t expecting it.
Later in the week I came across this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “ I dip my pen in the blackest ink, because I’m not afraid of falling into my inkpot.” It so spoke to me. Not because I am not afraid of allowing myself to dip into the depth of my well of dark emotions, but rather because I am so afraid of falling into the well of my grief and never coming out. At this point in my life I have certainly had many opportunities to experience falling in and coming out, but still the depth and intensity of my grief scares me. I like happy. I cling to the belief that happily ever after is out there somewhere even though I know it isn’t.
In reality, I am certain I don’t want happily ever after. I spent a good bit of my early adulthood with my emotions numbed out to a dull gray – my happily ever after state. While this saved me from the pain of my sorrow, it also cost me the full experience of my joy as well. I worked hard to open myself up to my full experience and it is my intention to be as fully alive as I can be every day of this wonderful life I have been given. Another quote that I love is by Kahlil Gibran. He says “ The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”