Heart of the Matter

A reader asked me, "On weekends I find myself booking a lot of tasks for myself, not only things I want to get done, but meeting friends, accepting invitations to parties, and the deal is a part of me knows if I just stop and take it easy and putter around with no real goal, I might get in touch with some sadness. It's like time clutter. It's the stuff that covers up the feeling of being sad. If I can just do things, I feel like I can cover up the sadness. But it doesn't work because I keep going and I get exhausted, but I can't stop, because if I do, I'll feel the sadness. So what should I do?"

I'd say you're doing pretty well because you're already open to your being sad. You know that you're sad. You're aware of the covering up. And you're not at fault.

We are encouraged to do things to cover up our feelings. Ads are always coming at us as solutions to feel better now. We think we can get or do something and whitewash anything that's dark and bothersome.

It's like getting drunk to not feel sad. It doesn't get rid of the sadness. It only adds a second problem of being drunk and the hangovers. Doing things to distract yourself from feeling sad doesn't stop the sadness and it exhausts you. This exacerbates the sadness, and makes you too tired to find a solution.

What helps is to stop stuffing yourself with the distractions. They aren't working. And you need a break. The solution is being with the sadness. Not sitting there sulking, saying, "I"M SAD." But noticing it. Maybe your heart hurts. Maybe you want to cry. You'll see.

This is where the healing begins.

And the amazing thing is, it takes much less effort than the doing of things to distract yourself. It's quick because it gets to the heart of the matter.