3 – Sorrow’s learning, and letting go
In the last blog I worked through Anger and how you can use it to your benefit. Sharing how it is one of the most curious emotions, always seeking to understand.
The next emotion we look at is Sorrow. One that we all know and has always been the most acceptable of all the 5 base emotions – Anger, Sorrow, Fear, Shame and Love.
Myself, yes I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for my life. Sad for all the things that had happened to me and for a long time I didn’t realise how big an impact it was having on all parts of my life. When I was diagnosed with depression in my early 20’s I knew that I needed to change the way I did things. I wish I knew about the emotional code then, but then I had to go through all that I did to uncover it within me and be able to share it with you.
Sorrow is easy to recognise and for all of us to understand not only why you feel sad, but also why others can feel sad too.
When someone we love passes away, or leaves.
Life not looking like the picture in our minds.
When people treat you badly.
When you don’t get what you want
The list can go on, if you let it. For everyone, why you feel it, is so different. Each of us experiences sorrow is different ways to, who we choose to be in it and how we let it affect us.
How many of you try to cover up your sorrow?
How many feel like you simply can’t show it?
I learned in my childhood to hide real emotions, and there was simply no time for sadness. It was my experience that another disappointment was coming about the corner. I did not know how to learn through my emotions, I did not know you could.
You need to feel it, whatever the emotion is. In this case Sorrow. Giving yourself permission to feel sad when you need to is the very first step. It is important for you to feel sad, disappointed or a little lost sometimes. It is important for you to feel each emotion based on what you feel is right and not based on what everyone else is saying how you ‘should’ feel. I will get to sorrows purpose soon, and yes it does have purpose. For now let’s look at the difference between allowing yourself to truly feel the full force of sorrow when it comes up and living in a constant state of sorrow.
How long do you stay sad? Truly there is no right or wrong answer. Each experience is unique and requires different amounts of time, depths of sorrow. However what I will say on this is, it is not meant to be a constant emotion that you feel every moment of the day. My mum passed away 16 years ago and there are still times when I feel far more sorrow than I have before, but these are only moments and they pass. I choose to go with it rather than fight it, because when I fight it, I become blind to what it wants to show me. So if you find yourself feeling sad more often than any other emotion then that last part of this blog is going to help you get beyond it.
Like all the base emotions Sorrow has purpose to help you learn. After all, why are we designed to feel first and think second? Answer – emotions are there for us to listen to, learn from and grow through.
Sorrows has two questions – What is the lesson? & What do I need to let go of?
Sorrow helps you learn lessons and let go, that is the sole purpose of our base emotion sorrow. So simple right. When you use Sorrows for its purpose it will help you release what you don’t need any more and take the lessons with you from the loss and challenges that come up in your life.
Feeling sad is not the issue, the only problem is when you choose to hold onto your sorrow, to carry it with you all the time, to live in it. When you choose not to see the lesson or what you need to let go of you can be blinded and will always to look to blame others for why you are sad, every time.
Take the time now to think of something that you feel sad around. Perhaps a story that you have be telling and carrying for a long time. You'll know when you have the right story, your body will begin to feel heavy.
Now I want to you ask yourself sorrows questions.
What did you learn through this experience? What do you need to let go of?
There are always lessons, you may need to dig a little deeper to get out of your own way to see them. Letting go can feel really challenging at first because you have created the habit of holding on. Take the time to keep looking a little more to find the answers to sorrow questions if you can’t see them at first.
After you have answered the questions, there will be changes to how you feel about the story, how you now view it and mostly how you will tell it going forward.
What are the differences? What does the story look like now? What has changed with how you look at it?
Now that you know how to use sorrow to your benefit, being able to move through sorrow with purpose will always leave you feeling more confident and stronger than ever.
Next time you will be reading about FEAR, one of the most misunderstood emotions.
Thank you and please remember – BE YOU and FEEL GOOD,
Ema Borg - Unique Phoenix
Written by: Robert Rabbin
Most of us have a governor on our capacity for full authentic self-expression.
A governor is a device that “automatically regulates the supply of fuel, steam, or water to a machine, ensuring uniform motion or limiting speed.” The governor we have inside us automatically regulates the supply of shakti, life force, in order to limit our ability to speak truthfully, to disturb the Universe with our primal presence and cosmic roar. In Australia, this governing device is called tall poppy syndrome.
My first direct experience of this tall poppy notion came one morning in a workshop I was leading, shortly after I moved to Australia in 2005. I wondered aloud why a few of the participants danced so delicately around an issue they wanted to discuss. They did everything but speak plainly. I encouraged them to speak more boldly and directly.
In our subsequent conversation, they said they had learned to not be bold or direct. They said that it wasn’t right to speak out too loudly. They didn’t want to stick out, or stand above others. They told me about the tall poppy syndrome, which I’ve come to understand as a kind of cultural suppression of creative self-expression.
The tall poppy syndrome is a topic that showed up in every one of my workshops in Australia, over the course of almost six years. It is a fire-walk that many have to take in order to break the hold of this socialization, their learned reticence to stand up, stick out, and speak brilliantly, powerfully, passionately, authentically!
When I asked one of my Australian friends to give me her definition of the tall poppy syndrome, she said, “Let’s not get too high and mighty, let’s not get too carried away with ourselves. We don’t want anyone getting too full of their own talent or accomplishment. If they do, why we’ll just cut them down to size. We’ll have no tall poppies in our fields!”
Another said, “Australians are carrying a national consciousness of unworthiness, stemming from our roots as a convict colony. When one of us tries to move into the bigger world, to dream a bigger vision, we briefly project all of our personal unmet ambitions onto him. When it turns out he is human and experiences a moment of failure, or is in our eyes somehow not good enough or undeserving, we pull him down justifying our own choice not to have at least tried to expand our horizons. Just like the elephants tied to the chains who don’t realize they are bigger than the chains, we are recreating our convict history via our tall poppy syndrome, believing ourselves to be prisoners simultaneously worshiping, fearing, and resenting the ones who break free.”
And another friend talked about the “cultural cringe, a peculiarly Aussie malaise, a leveling attitude that seeks to keep people chained to mediocrity: in thinking and doing and dreaming big dreams — but most of all, in speaking. We’re just not supposed to speak up. That would be big-noting and arrogant. That’s for the Americans.”
What a tragedy! To own our innate right to express our voice and vision, to exercise our intrinsic right to fully express our own aliveness and beauty and genius and creativity and wildness as only we can, is not arrogant or self-centered, but natural.
I think of how natural it is for children throughout the world to exult in discovering their creative and expressive powers! Once we can make a sound, we start gurgling, humming, singing, crying, wailing — wow, look, we can make sounds! Once we can crawl, and then walk and skip, you can’t keep us penned in! And then, we can draw! We can create with color, with pencils, pens, crayons, paint — on everything!
And then, to the dismay of all grown-ups, we realize we can make music by banging with this on that! The poet Derek Walcott surely wrote this line for children, and anyone, in the throes of discovery: Feast on your life!
Expressing our self in uniquely creative ways is natural. It is the feast prepared for us at the moment we were created. And it is also natural to want to be appreciated and recognized for our creative expressions, for they represent our very essence of being! Look at the gleam and glow of any child as they rush to show a parent or teacher their picture — all excitement, joy, and pride!
The only — I repeat, the only — appropriate response is overwhelming appreciation and encouragement. If we in any way ignore, disparage, or dismiss their work, we do the same to them, we will have hurt and wounded, perhaps fatally, their self-image and self-esteem, their enthusiasm and joy, their confidence and courage.
Since I have always been interested in the transformative power and inspirational potential of public speaking, I began to extrapolate this tendency to underachieve.
If people were guarding against authentic self-expression and self-censoring heartfelt sentiments, if people were aiming for the lowest common denominator, if people were afraid to be vulnerable and transparent, to connect intimately with others… what happens to people’s soul? How would this cultural leveling mechanism restrict and repress a person’s urge to rise above mediocrity?
What happens when you begin to speak in unauthorized, powerful, poetic, passionate ways? What happens when your speaking sets you apart, because you are clear, confident, compelling? What happens when you begin to speak the unspeakable, which rocks the status quo, or which gives shape and texture to new possibilities, new freedoms, new solutions?
What happens when you speak dreams and visions from other levels of consciousness, from other dimensions of being? What happens if you question a public official’s rhetoric?… Hey, that’s enough!
Stop right there! Who do you think you are to say such things? You have gone far enough. Now be quiet, mister, or you are going to find yourself in a world of trouble.
In a Sydney workshop, one woman told of standing in front of her class, I guess she was about seven years old, to show her picture. Everyone had been told to draw snowflakes. This woman proudly showed a picture of multi-colored snowflakes, not a single one was white! How original! How imaginative! How colorful!
Oops, no. The teacher had apparently lost too many important brain cells. What happened was that the teacher raced forward, grabbed the picture, held it aloft and began almost screaming: “Look at this! Children, look at this! This is wrong! Snowflakes are white. Everyone knows that! Have you ever seen colored snowflakes? No! Now go back to your seat and do this over, and do it right.”
In the midst of this public shaming, this poor little girl just then and there decided for all time: I am not good enough. I can not draw. I am stupid. I will never again dream, imagine, or do anything different.
These self-limiting decisions in the face of life events are the beginning of what I call diminished capacity, which is the major, if not singular, cause underlying our inability to lead truly authentic, happy, creative lives of intimacy and originality.
Once we shut down and close off, we are cut off from the very life-force we need to be whole, to be powerful, to be passionate, to be productive, to be successful in whatever way we want.
The tall poppy syndrome, especially as it pertains to speaking, is not proprietary to Australia. It is universal. Every society and each culture has sought to regulate speaking with bribes and intimidation. The antidote? Confidence.
Confidence is a choice to accept, own, and fully use our intrinsic, inborn, factory-installed right to fully express ourselves in whatever way we want, any time, any place, no matter what. We all have to learn to speak our truth from the depths of our being, heart to heart and eye to eye. We all have to transform diminished capacity into ferocious and fearless speaking and truth-telling.
This is where and how we connect with our life-force, how we inspire ourselves to dream big dreams, to take on unimaginable projects, to bring forth fire, and to learn to love the Earth. This is how we fulfill the promise of our life, how we share our true heart, and seed the world with soul-seeds of beauty.
I am going to blog and document the journey of creating 1000 Ripple Effects across the world.