Beyond the Shadow of Sadness, Sorrow and Grief

How sadness, oppression and others expectations impacted my ability to “fully inhabit” my life and what I did to change my destiny

Greg’s Story…

“Throughout my life, sadness seems to have been a persistent shadow. Perhaps it had more to do with the fact that I buried my siblings, parents and grandparents. There is something that happens to ones perspective when you are the last surviving member of your birth family. At one time I thought there was something wrong with me. But it was just sadness that naturally occurs when one experiences profound grief.” 

Our North American society is experiencing unprecedented levels of oppression, accusations and persistent sadness. The world is witnessing Presidential Narcissism, from an individual who is only self centered and is always making the news. Yet he has not felt the need to build consensus, which in times past, the democratic systems of government would have screened him out. Yet, here we are, at a period in history where we have a great example of a self centered , indictable narcissistic that just happens to be running a country. 

The truth is many narcissists run families and business too. This article is not about any particular leader. Except, the current president of the United States is just such a great example of what happens to society when a narcissistic bully continuously berates and abuses others to get his narcissistic supply continuously filled. He just happens to be at the helm of one of the most powerful countries in the world. This happens everyday all over the world, whether it be a leader of a country or a family. Narcissists are everywhere. 

In our business, we keep hearing from our clients how much stress they are coping with. They go through periods of being extremely overwhelmed, even though they are high achievers still struggle to cope. It seems our society is laden with persistent sadness. This article is not as dark and sad as it might seem. In fact, this is a manifesto of hope. 

Why? Because, what makes us happy and sad is simple and complex. There are numerous factors which contribute to our sadness and our happiness. 

One thing which is true for every human being — we all get to have control over our happiness and sadness. 

It happens through our primary locus of control — the decisions, choices we make and the thoughts we think. 

Depending on what you choose to measure, misery or happiness, you will get a different point-of-view.

In researching this topic we found two contrasting mood indexes. The first was the World Happiness Report authored by Sustainable Development Solutions Network (part of the United Nations WHO) and then we discovered the Hankes Annual Misery Index

Apparently in the World Happiness Report, Canada ranks as the 7th happiest nation on earth based (calculated based on a combination of life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity). The United States ranks 18th — the nation that guarantees the right to pursue happiness in it’s constitution ranks surprisingly low.

Yet, when we look at the Misery Index Canada ranks 72, USA 69 (due to unemployment factors) and China 98th (due to lending rates)! China is less miserable than Canada and USA economically. That said – most all, except the most abused and oppressed people, have the potential to make decisions which could change the course of their Iives.

What might it take to truly embrace what makes your heart sing out loud? 

In our lives we can honestly say that we had to learn to let go of our struggles, embrace the magic of our own personalities and then bet the farm on what makes our heart-sing-out-loud (HSOL vs LOL).

When I started this mystical journey in 2015, I started writing a book (that still isn’t finished) to chase an idea — joy.

The focus of the book was to stop chasing happiness and focus on manifesting joy instead.

It has taken me all this time to feel comfortable and congruent enough with my own “walk of joy” to begin writing about this topic again.

I felt I had to put the book on hold because before I could embrace teaching and telling others how to Manifest Joy, I wanted to model it in my own life. 

What I now know and did not then, is, that I had to release my struggle with being sad and miserable. 

I had a really sad story — in a 12 month period — I had bowel surgery, hernia surgery, the death of my mother and the woman who promised to marry me quit on the relationship.

When I look back on some of my photos between 2014-2016 — the sadness in my eyes was quite evident. I was just trying to survive and get through the day. 

I made a decision to pause the book because I could not congruently speak with confidence about “manifesting joy” let alone be an example to others. I set out to discover what it would take to feel comfortable in my own skin. I had to take out a lot of mental trash and make peace with the choices I made — because I was crystal clear — I was the one who made the decisions which had created the reality I was now living.

The reason I was feeling repressed and oppressed was due to my own choices, thoughts and feelings. Damn that made me uncomfortable. 

It was a process of observing, confronting and examining my unconscious feelings and automatic negative thoughts. Dragging them out from the obscurity of my unconscious/subconscious into the full light of my conscious awareness. Which was painful and arduous — yet 100% worth the effort.

Slowly, a growing sense of liberty, lightness and freedom unfolded. With each step of awareness I moved one step closer to fully inhabiting my life.

Looking back I realize that a lot of my pain and suffering could have been prevented had I just not continued to settle.

Truth is this descent did not happen overnight. It was a subtle, gradual deterioration into the valley of persistent sadness. I got there through a series of choices and the only way I found to escape was to make a series of better choices.

The two biggest changes to my life came as a result of confronting my need for self care andself expression.

Unfortunately, sadness and oppression has many sources. When major life challenges or interruptions garner our attention, we end up asking “Is that all there is? Now what do I do?” For example some of the things that tend to get our attention are:

  • Rebuilding our lives after divorce
  • Dealing with the inevitable grief that sets in after the shock of the death of a lived one 
  • Looking after a sick child
  • Caring for an aging, frail parent
  • Dealing with an empty nest
  • Suffering and coping with chronic pain
  • Numbing out after bankruptcy
  • Self-Judgement 
  • Negative Self Image
  • Abuse 
  • Trauma
  • Chronic Pain

It doesn’t matter what the cause of your pain might be. What matters is what you chooseto do now

As harsh as that might sound it is the truth — no one makes change in their life without confronting their reality, nobody. Confrontation is the awareness key which unlocks the door which keeps us trapped in persistent sadness. The painful reality of your pain becomes the impetus and energy we need to move beyond it. Without a deep inner, driving desire for change — our society, families and friends make it too easy to maintain the status quo.

To experience freedom and liberty, we will have to embrace and summon up our courage to a level you haven’t felt before. 

Why is that? 

Because as you change, your behaviour will ripple out to those around you. People will look at you and think that you have “changed” and the truth is you have. You made a decision not to accept the status quo anymore. When you decide it’s time for things to change, it only occurs when you become the change agent, and the chief cook and bottle washer of your life!

Real Change Takes More Courage Than We Are Taught

If you are going to break out of the wallowing mess you are experiencing, something in your behavior, habits and beliefs will have to change. Otherwise, you will just keep doing what you’ve always done — your very own Groundhog Day in a continuous loop.

You deserve much more than that. You deserve the best of yourself to show up. Is this your time to summon your courage and stop justdreaming your dreams but actually begin livingyour dream. 

Every person who is a bit different or has taken the path less travelled has had to face their truth. They somehow learned to stare life down and give it the hairy eyeball. Each had to choose to carve out the image of life they had imagined from the roughly hewn, raw tree of life they had been given. You are no different.

The path less travelled is a lonely walk. It is also invigorating. With each step on this improbable path we affirm our self worth. The very act of choosing to walk alone and blaze the very unique trail that is your life — is a powerful affirmation. 

Every thought, deed and step taken rewires your brain. What was exhausting in the early days along the uncommon path, slowly becomes as effortless and natural as breathing. You build up your experience and your strength with every decision.

Strength builds each time one puts their shoulder into a resistance to conform to the status quo. When you are no longer willing to march as one of the blind masses who carelessly complies with external expectations — your life changes — you begin to see yourself and the world through a new set of eyes.

Each moment you make an uncommon choice to go against the grain and take the path less travelled, hope blooms. Your heart begins to hum a little tune of encouragement and hope. This is just the beginning of a beautiful new life unfolding Iike a flower. 

Know this!

Nobody is guaranteed to be with you throughout your entire lifetime. We choose to share our lives with others, which is the ultimate in self expression and one of our greatest gifts. To have a kindred soul with whom we can share our journey is an unimaginable gift. Yet, no matter who we share our lives with, each person walks a path that is uniquely their own, but hand in hand with someone we trust. 

Walking the path of individuality takes courage and requires commitment too. We have to be willing to carve out the image of the life we’ve imagined for ourselves. Plus, we crave to find someone to share it with. Certainly our family, friends and hopefully a special someone. A kindred soul who knows our heartache, our flaws and amazingly still believes in us and our ability to overcome. 

It took me 62 years to find a fellow dreamer, her name is Amethyst Dickson, my wife. A warm-hearted, generous soul who has the same audacious dream — to fully inhabit her life. We married in 2017 and had we not taken the road less travelled, we would not be living our dreams, together. We would have found ourselves sitting at the feet of others, who had long ago sacrificed their dreams on the killing floor of other peoples expectations.

Don’t you dare surrender your life, hope or your dreams. If the people around you don’t want to grow or even worse have become dream killers, you owe it to yourself to escape the dungeon of their dreams and dark mood. 

Just because they are frightened of their dreams or have surrendered their hearts on the altar of the worlds expectations, does not mean you have to. 

Right now you are standing at a point in time, it is called now, it is your only point of power. The power to create change always sits in the present moment. Don’t you dare delay embracing your truth and denying your dream. It is possible and F.U.N. — it is Foolproof, Unlimited and Natural.