Honouring Pain Through a Pretty Sorrow

I strongly believe that what kept me going through most of my life, until I finally came to a place of healing, was my experience of beautiful sadness. I carried deep sorrow and was able to honour it and make peace with it by finding it both exquisitely painful and exquisitely beautiful.

In this way I grew friendly with my sadness. I knew nothing of beautiful joy, and that pure happiness simply did not exist for me. But I was strong in my beautiful sorrow. It was not “dwelling on my pain”, nor was it “moping”. No, it was a deeper and more complicated thing than that.

I hardly thought of myself at all. Instead, I would obsess over the beautiful sadness of endings, and the idea that all journeys would come to a conclusion. I found myself crying over seagulls, who always seemed to be flying home. I watched Autumn leaves falling to the Earth and felt this piercing, but gorgeous, pain in my soul.

I have to tell you, at my worst I was not eating at all and as I grew thinner I expected to completely dissolve into the Universe. This was some years ago now and at the time I decided I would experience my last summer. I threw myself into the experience of finality and leaving. I watched sunsets and listened to music that made me ache. This was the only thing making me feel alive and making the depression bearable.

And after a time I realized that another summer was coming around. It was a gift instead of a burden. Even though I had not experienced the ending I was looking forward to, I still had my pretty sorrow to uphold me, and in time I needed it less.

Eventually some remarkable things happened in my life and I was able to put the beautiful sadness behind me and feel beautiful joy instead. But I will never look at my pretty sorrow as being the wrong perspective. It was all I had, and it gave me meaning and a kind of contentment amidst great pain.

So I would suggest trying to see the pretty sorrow in things, if you find yourself in a long dark night of the soul. Music and art and nature are full of this beauty. If you can connect with it, then you are not alone, for you have found some edge of Spirit to cling to.

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