On Sadness, Pain and Love

It’s very rare that a client does not express a pain or sadness that they carry within them.

Change Coaching for me is a balance between compassion and challenge. We all need to be met compassionately in our pain by another. The challenge is allowing ourselves and our pain to be seen and expressed. To not be fearful of experiencing our own sadness. To be compassionate towards that we cannot change.

Life is not about being happy. Life is about feeling, being alive to and accepting all our emotions; the great spectrum and tide of the human experience; not editing out the hard stuff as unwanted. Too often we set ourselves the ideal of emotional linearity, biased on the positive slant and against the negative, whilst simultaneously and paradoxically experiencing daily the great curvature and flux of feelinghood.

It’s not what we feel, it’s our relationship to what we feel that establishes our constancy and balance.

The fundamental challenge of the human condition is to find compassion towards our own pain. To feel beneath it. It’s taken me until this year to finally realise or experience this for myself. To sit with pain and grief for long enough without panic, withdrawal or resistance to find the compassion or love within it. To go deeper inside. To understand that it’s part of me and the aliveness of living. That to experience pain is to love.

Life is loving, the need for love, the search for feeling love and yet the skill to meet love, however instinctive, is a deficiency in the emotionally intelligent broken hearted human. We breathe to love, it’s our connecting instinct and yet every time I see the challenge in a human to breathe freely beyond the tightness and the knot within their upper chest, I know we are constricted in our capacity to love freely for we squeeze breath through the absence, the abandonment, the hurt and loss stored in our bodies.

To defend against pain is to guard against love.

Whilst our chest constricts around the pain of our internal life, our heart beats and pumps, connecting from the internal longing; seeking expansion and connection to meeting, fulfilment, as we flare and rise and fall vulnerably in the glare of life around us.

Our life is a struggle around love. And yet as we breathe we fiercely love. But we armour and carry all the impurities of life’s slights from those that didn’t love us in the way we needed and wanted and hurt us, so that love becomes a fragile bud to guard from pain. From our self and from others. And so, how hard to receive it.

But the cruelty and beauty of heartache is that it brings us closer to ourselves. From there we can love again from a place of stillness, of compassion, until we can open up our chest again freely to what the world has to offer.