In honor of Mental Health Month,
we would like to recognize that people are NOT okay.
What if grief, sadness, fear, death, were essential partners to
joy, happiness, and freedom?
In this time of The Great Reset, we are all facing our own version of personal reckoning.
This self-reflection moment has tested our resilience and caught many of us off-guard without the tools or practices needed to process the velocity of loss, grief, trauma, stress, and anxiety.
There IS a small amount of relief knowing that no one is immune from this reckoning. Our ability to process our day-to-day, take care of ourselves and focus on the work at hand, our attention and perspective are essential to framing how we see our own situation and show up for others, at home and at work.
As we investigate new ways of thinking and framing our lives, consider this:
There is no Grief without Joy, No Joy without Grief, and our ability to be present to the grief in our lives is in direct proportion to our ability to receive JOY.
What we have discovered is that GRIEF and JOY (along with many other opposing emotions) is a Continuum, often occupying the same moment, flowing freely from one experience to the next. Our ability to ‘go with the flow’ and stay in movement as we observe our experiences can have a significant impact on our physical, emotional, and mental health.
While there is a spectrum of ‘normal’ human despair (not including clinical depression and mental health issues) that is part of the human experience, we don’t often speak about ‘negative’ emotions hoping that our resistance or denial of them will deem them nonexistent. What if grief, sadness, fear, death, were essential partners to joy, happiness, and freedom?
Grief and sadness is just a place on the map. Don’t try to avoid it, resist it or escape through substances. Settle it, allow it, and it will go.
– Marianne Williamson
Consider GRIEF and JOY as an infinity loop, one relying on the other, flowing from one state to the next. This assumes a degree of detachment and a level of awareness practice, it IS possible. In spirituality, this practice is defined as nondualism, also called non-duality, meaning a mature state of consciousness, in which the dichotomy of “I” and “other” is “transcended,” and awareness is described as “centerless” and “without dichotomies.” It’s a BOTH AND concept, blended; a co-existence of experiences.
Finding the relationship between GRIEF and JOY has illuminated other nondual, co-existing realities like:
DOUBT and TRUST
APPREHENSION and POSSIBILITIES
FEAR and CERTAINTY
SAD and HAPPY
PESSIMISM and OPTIMISM
DEATH and BIRTH
SURRENDER and FREEDOM
The flow between these states in an infinity-style loop is also possible. What if one is not possible without the other? What if these seemingly opposing and opposite human states that we all experience at one point or another are actually part of each other, blended?
Learning from Personal Experience
I learned all of this from a personal experience in processing my mother’s death in May of 2020. She had a terminal lung disease and suffered quite a bit the last 6 months of her life. As I witnessed her struggle, it made absolutely no sense why my mom, a selfless woman who dedicated her life to serving others, would have to suffer at the end of her life. I prayed for answers and asked, “Why does my mom have to suffer like this?” The answer I received was, “She is learning to surrender, so she can be free.”
This idea of surrendering to what is seemingly was a completely undesirable experience in order for freedom to be possible was a huge learning for me.
If we can allow for the stuff that doesn’t feel good, is uncomfortable or intolerable, we can practice learning how to transform them into something completely new and something beautiful. Like the infinity loop above, we can flow smoothly between and within multiple layers and find grace in all we experience.
What I noticed as I witnessed my Mom managing her discomfort and preparing for her own departure was her being ‘of it’ but not ‘in it.’ She was aware and present to what was going on, but neutral and non-reactive to it. She definitely had her moments, but grace and surrender to what was happening around her and outside of her control was the primary essence of her response. She didn’t identify with her disease; it didn’t become her identity.
At the end of her life and now in spirit, my mom was and still is an embodied reflection of nonduality. I will be forever grateful to her for this lesson and all else that she is teaching me from “her new residence.”
I hope you’ve found some personal relief from understanding this infinity loop of human experience. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them here or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Intune, we are connected to the diversity, fragility, strength, and beauty of the human experience and are committed to helping leaders and organizations to care for their people. Leaders need to evolve how they lead and operate and create workplace cultures that reflect the changing needs of our VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) environment and address the challenges and growth opportunities it presents.