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How to Survive Bone-deep Sadness and Grief

Bad stuff happens. Really bad stuff happens. Big, hairy, nasty stuff happens to every last one of us which can throw us into a downward spiral of hopelessness, depression, anger, and pain. Jobs are lost, homes get foreclosed upon, people die or leave us, and elections don’t go our way. Often those wretched experiences unfold without warning and are completely beyond our control. So, when they do happen, what can we do to navigate them without losing ourselves in the process? The answer: Mindfulness.

As someone who speaks on mindfulness for a living, I was given a crash course in implementing my own strategies this morning. I am writing this through red, stinging, puffy eyes that have cried too many tears to count. My deep desire is to crawl into bed, throw the covers over my head, and let the darkness swallow me whole. Very few times in my life have I felt such emotional pain as I do right in this moment.

And yet…

Life goes on.

No matter how much sadness is in our hearts for whatever reason, we eventually need to step back up and rejoin the living. (Actually, we don’t need to; we can decide to energetically throw in the towel on living a meaningful, rich, thriving life and accept the consolation prize of a mediocre, victim-based, numbed-out existence.)