The Sanctity of Sadness


I don’t know how to speak on sadness. I still struggle with allowing myself to feel this one fully. Whenever a hint of sadness comes up, a list spews into my brain about what I should be sad about instead of what I am sad about, like a gag reflex.

The truth is, I am still guilty of trying to spiritually bypass when things get hard for me. I can be sad a lot. Even though everything in my life is circumstantially amazing, I still feel this tugging at my heart.  

I feel sadness for the Temple that was just shot up. I feel sadness about injustices. I feel sadness about what happened in Sri Lanka. I feel sadness about my cat, my beloved fur baby Patrick Swayze who has been missing for several days. I feel sadness that I didn’t have a fun and normal college experience. I feel sadness that my childhood self was pretty rejected and it has leaked into my life now.

And when I say that, I feel disgusted. I feel like I should be making gift bags for my pity party. Which is so warped. I allow myself to hold sacred space for others to process their sadness with no judgement, but the second something real comes up for me, I feel guilt about the sadness, and I think of 40 different reasons why I shouldn’t be sad instead of just feeling it.

There is a difference between feeling sorry for yourself, and actually expressing this very necessary human emotion. I remember on one of my apprenticeships, I met with an elder woman named Marie, who taught me all about Beauty. She would play with my hair and paint my nails and talk about Venus the whole time. And one day she asked me to wail with her. I looked at her so confused and hesitant, but never being one to say no to something new and weird, I grabbed her hands, and the hands of other women who joined, and we started literally wailing. The second I was in a sacred space for sadness, real tears started to flow. Then the sadness came out of my throat, my eyes, my nose, my being in huge waves of release crashing to the ground beneath me.

I cried for hours. I wasn’t even sure about what. The world, ex partners, my best friend’s heartache. I cried for my lineage, for my family, for children in pain. I cried about not having cried in years. And I cried about Marie showing me the beauty in tears.

After that release, I had the best night sleep of my life. I felt at home in my body for the first time. I remember meeting an old man at a coffee shop years later, and he said that he held men’s circles because one of his friends told him that he hasn’t cried in 60 years. Turns out ignoring sadness is pretty universal.

There is medicine in sadness. To feel sadness is to experience a sacred state. It is the thing that unites humanity in a huge way, and it is the key to sweet, sweet release. I think if we truly allowed ourselves to feel the sadness we inherently carry just by being human, we would all need hour long wailing sessions. But to be able to feel that, to hold it, and to let it move through you unites you to your ancestors, to your kin, to those around you, and to those far away.

Tears are the sacred fluid of the heavens that unite us in the darkest of times. Next time you feel sad, drop into it. Hold yourself. Let it move through you. Cry, my love. Release. And know that every time you do, you are healing the ones before you, the ones with you, and the ones after you.