The other day, I woke up feeling sad.
There was no clear reason I could pinpoint. I just felt low.
Contrary to my usual state, when this happens, it can feel confronting, jarring and uncomfortable.
I was deemed a “sensitive kid”. Many times adults told me to not let things “shake me to my core”. I have been labeled an “old soul” for as long as I can remember.
I remember when I realized I would go to college one day and that one day my parents would die. I sobbed.
I remember on the eve of my tenth birthday grieving the fact that I never again would be single digits.
I remember crying a lot because of a lot of things.
I remember being confused about why other people weren’t crying too.
Fast forward to the person I am today, this part of me is alive and well. It expresses differently and sometimes the same.
Sometimes it shows up as a random feeling with no real reason, like the other day.
Sometimes it shows up as a very visceral response to a reality in the world, like social justice movement, climate change or terrifying and harmful rhetoric.
What I’ve come to learn about myself is that my emotions, especially the challenging ones like sadness, play a different role in my life than many people may think.
Sadness doesn’t make me freeze, it cracks me open.
Sadness doesn’t make me weak, it makes me strong.
Sadness doesn’t make me bail, it calls me into my humanness at a deeper level.
I’ve come to believe and experience that my ability to feel things like sadness is a skill and gift. It’s brave. It’s the willingness to feel it all and as a result, I can stay in an empowered state.
It’s not pretending. It’s real. It’s the totality of being human.
Lots of people ask me how I stay so positive all of the time. They wonder how I stayed in the game during the pandemic and they wonder how I keep going, seemingly without a flinch or stumble.
Much of my success is because I’m willing to feel sad. I’m willing to look at the world and myself as is, love through it and keep choosing loving action amidst a complicated world.
I am successful because of my willingness to feel sadness, not despite it.
Crazily enough, I chose this blog topic before Simone Biles announced her resignation in the Olympic games. While I am by no means a mental health expert, this proved to me two important things:
Feeling challenging emotions needs to be talked about more. And, if it’s something I experience, it’s likely that people in the collective are experiencing it too - which is why it’s so important to share.
There is such a thing as toxic positivity and bypassing. It's a problem.
So, what have I learned about sadness and how does it directly correlate to my success?
A few very important lessons and values that I hope can serve you toward success the same way they have served me.
Allowing myself to feel my emotions is the most powerful and productive thing I can do.
Something amazing happens when truth is acknowledged and surrender takes place: emotions can be felt and pass through. I can feel incredible sadness, let it move through my body in whatever way it presents and then I can access joy again. It’s powerful and it’s practical.
Feelings are just meant to be felt. It’s when they’re not felt or acknowledged when “stuck-ness” shows up.
I’m grateful that things make me sad and that I’m in touch with this part of myself.
I’m grateful that I am an empathic and heart centered person that cares about the world. I would be far more concerned if I did not cry about things. I’m glad that I am deeply bothered by some of the happenings in the world.
I take this as a compliment and something I’m grateful to have cultivated within myself.
I am a human and humans do not experience positive emotions 100% of the time.
This is just fact. And yet, many people avoid difficult emotions at all costs. It’s actually the most natural thing ever! We are multifaceted multidimensional beings. Feeling the complete canvas of emotions is part of the deal.
So even when I feel sad and can’t pinpoint the reason, there’s nothing wrong with me. I’m just being a human and not arguing with reality. It’s an exhale of love toward myself.
I can be sad and thrive.
I used to hold the belief that if I felt sad, I could not do my projects, make an impact or achieve excellence. Boy was I wrong about this one!
It turns out, I can have a good cry and then hop into teaching and holding powerful space for young people. I can be moving through big feelings and then teach yoga. Actually, sometimes these are the moments when I do the most powerful work.
Why? Because I’m being myself. I’m not putting up a shield. I’m able to be a clean channel for a purpose bigger than myself because I’m open and real.
This is conscious living in a nutshell: holding paradox. I can be sad and thrive at the exact same time. Two examples of this in my life were building a successful business during a pandemic and winning a major audition during a separation. Both eras included tons of sadness and tons of thriving.
"My ability to feel it all is my ability to have it all."
This is a sentence one of my coaches says often and it resonates so deeply! No matter on what end of the spectrum, this holds true.
My willingness to feel sadness is the same willingness that allows me to experience bliss.
My willingness to feel disappointment is the same willingness to feel celebration.
My willingness to feel grief is the same wiliness to experience love.
It’s my willingness to go to any edge and from this place, I create success. Personally, in my business, in my whole entire life.
Reframe: What would it be like to view sadness and challenging emotions as not a barrier to success, but your reason for your success?
What’s possible when you just let yourself be human and feel it?
What would it be like to let it move through and forward, rather than pretend it’s not there?
Is there something that causes uncomfortable emotions that you’re grateful for? Why?
If you knew you could be sad and thrive at the exact same time, what would you change today about how you’re showing up?
I’m not successful despite feeling sadness, I’m successful because of it.
May this perspective and my experiences light your path to a new way of moving through your days. One where you embody the full breadth of being human and know that it’s not only ok, it’s a power.
I have lots of things going on at Mindful Joy Muse that you are welcome to partake in! All of which are designed with the deep intention to teach and inspire others so that they can fully live. Others, aka, you!
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Today I welcome you into the beautiful knowing and perspective that experiencing sadness can be the reason for your success.
Not the other way around.
May this ground you, expand you and hold you in all the beautiful aspects of your human self!!
In love, being real and pursuit of a better world,