Reconciling Sadness and Loss with Gratitude and Gain

© 2001 Michele Toomey, PhD


February 7, 2001

Movement and timing are so essential to liberation, yet they are so complicated to live out of with integrity. If we stay too long with a feeling or a mood, it can become exaggerated and too dominant. If we slide over it too quickly we haven't given it its rightful place. The reconciliation process is such a challenge to this whole dilemma of movement and timing.

Dealing with the post encephalitis memory loss and brain damage, heart ache and sadness become a familiar state. Doing the work to find the integrity of reconciling sadness with gratitude is obviously an on-going struggle. The gratitude of being alive is tempered by the horrendous effort it takes to live life with independence and fulfillment. The gift of enriched appreciation for intimacy with yourself and others comes at the price of brain damage. The tragic cost of brain damage has yielded greater depth of feeling and intimacy. How do these opposing states get reconciled? Where is the integrity for each?

We must go back to movement and timing. Too long and too much focus on one, sadness and cost, and too short and too little acknowledgment of gain, brings a depressive darkness to bear. Too much emphasis on gratitude and too much time given to embracing the gains that have occurred since brain damage, makes for a superficial euphoria.

Only you can determine the timing for the movement back and forth between sadness and gratitude. Only you can know where the integrity lies and how long you need to be with either. What you must know, too, is that neither by themselves stand alone. Neither is the whole truth. Sadness and gratitude are irrevocably intertwined. Reconciling the two requires you move back and forth between them. That is not arbitrary or changing. The timing for the movement is uniquely dependent on your own understanding of your need. You must attend, respectfully and lovingly, to yourself and respond to what you discover. Your sadness will have hope in the background and your gratitude will have sadness at its core. The reconciliation will be ongoing and you will travel with stability and integrity.

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