As I held her delicate, frail hand I questioned why love is the only emotion to cause so much joy yet so much pain and grief. All I wanted her to know was how much she was loved and how grateful I was to have been her granddaughter. In the days that followed her passing, I felt sadness and guilt that I hadn’t spent more time with her than I did. Could I have done more for her? Could I have been a better granddaughter? I remembered the rare occasion we clashed a little and felt horrified that I may have upset her. She was my friend, my Nana and I loved her unconditionally.
The thing I have learned is that our darkest moments teach us to appreciate the light. We need to know what grief, sadness, disappointment and hurt feels like so we can understand and recognise joy, real authentic connection and love. One cannot exist without the other because only in the experience of contrast can we find meaning and understanding. Life is full of contrast…warmth and coldness, waking then sleeping, sweetness and bitterness, love and loss, happiness and sadness etc. It’s the contrast that lets us enjoy them. If you always felt wonderful, would you even know what wonderful was? Contrast is an opportunity to grow and evolve, to understand and reflect who we really are and helps us to deepen our connection with ourselves and others.
What we resist persists so next time you’re feeling a negative emotion don’t push it away or numb it out (which is a whole other topic for another day!) try accepting and acknowledging how you are feeling and say to yourself, ‘I accept I feel… (negative emotion) as this sensation, this feeling, is teaching me something about myself.’ Observing it rather than fighting it allows the feeling to flow through you without giving it power or letting it take root enabling a richer, deeper life experience.