Saturated in Sorrow

There are weeks when the world seems saturated in sorrow.

Bad things happen to people all the time but some of those bad things cut through all the layers around the heart that we’ve built up to protect ourselves from the pain of the world. Something cuts through, and all the tears trapped in those layers start to weep out.

The collective stab in the heart usually comes when innocent people, especially children, die because of some stupid war. And all war is stupid.

Perhaps shared sorrow pierces through all those tough layers of separation to some mysterious fine thread that connects each soft human heart. But this thread, if broken or damaged can leave us alone and stranded in ego and fear, which is probably the cause of all war.

Sometimes I wonder if the planet is like a sponge that catches all our uncried tears. Uncried because we are so busy with our lives that we don’t have time for tears. We don’t stop to feel the sorrows of the world because we are trying to carry our own lonely burden of sorrow, or just survive the ratty race.

So we harden our heart and soldier on.

Because I don’t have a television, I usually manage to avoid the pain of the world that’s splattered across TV screens most evenings from 6. But in the past few weeks because I’ve been on the road, staying with friends or in accommodation, I’ve watched TV, including the “News,” which I really think should be called, “Bad News.”

And I cry.

Not big loud sobbing tears but a quiet leaking, as if the sorrow is in my bones and oozing out of my skins through the gaps of my eyes. It feels as if my heart is made of lead and is cracked down the middle. My mind is like a zombie, though not the brain eating kind, more the “Doh” kind, with nothing intelligent to say about anything.

Funny that my mind should become silent as I watch the tragedy of the world, it usually has an opinion on everything. But about human suffering as a result of stupidity it is gob smackingly dumb.

And I want to weep for the sorrow of the world. I want to be touched deeply by life, because anything else is like psychological death. I’ve been there too and I’d prefer the weeping than the hardhearted alternative.

But now I’m home, I’m out of the loop of misery. No TV.

Yes, perhaps its avoidance, perhaps its ignorance. But to be honest I can find enough sorrow and misery in my own life, and in my work with the suffering of my clients, to fill an ocean, so any extra is likely to sink my heart.

Instead of soaking in sorrow I’ll spend my week seeking out the beautiful. Because, after a time I need to turn away from that sorrow and find some salve to soothe my heart and weeping bones. For me the best balm is beauty.

In some ways this feels like a deeper honoring of the human spirit, than to weep (well ooze) tears each night between 6 and 7.30. And it’s strange that beauty also makes me weep. Perhaps I’m just an old weep bag at the moment.

Beauty and shared sorrow pierce through the layers around the heart to some deeper connection between us all, that can be forgotten or lost in our everyday.

So, just remember, if you immerse yourself in the river of sorrows of this wide world, to come back to rest in something beautiful, something that nourishes your soul, your deepest being.

Read a poem, go to the gallery, listen to Bach, or better still, take your dog for a walk on the beach, or in the bush, hug a tree. Nature will always offer you Her beauty and nourish your deepest wild Nature if you take a moment to rest in Her.

Nature and beauty nourish the human spirit.

The human heart can break so easily if steeped in bad news, if it feeds too long on the sorrow and horror of the world. We need to feed it with wonder and beauty or we’ll sink the heart and drown in our suffering.

Let us go then, you and I, …..

Till human voices wake us, and we drown. TS Eliot



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