A theme that came up in a meeting recently was the idea that both good and bad things are happening all the time. This was a topic because the facilitator had wished everyone a terrific day, and someone commented that it’s actually a terrible day, hadn’t he heard the news??
The thing is, things have always been terrible. And they’ve never been better. Huh? How could that be?? There are dualities in life. Things are never all good or all bad all of the time. In fact, it’s only our own judgements and meaning-giving that makes them seem so at all. Nature doesn’t care. It doesn’t have a political party, favorite cause, or even favorite life form. It simply is.
That doesn’t mean we should give up or not try to do something about the things that matter to us. We get to decide what matters to us. It DOES mean we don’t get to judge others for what they do or don’t care about and what meanings they give to things and events. We’ll all differ in that, because we’re all unique. Some people may agree with us, some won’t. As a fellow meeting participant said “the same things someone sees as terrible may be great news for someone else, or vice versa.”
It’s all relative. “Good” or “bad,” “positive” or “negative,” etc. are things that are agreed upon or not, but they’re not fact. They’re judgement calls. And there are ”good” and “bad” events happening all over the world at any given time. What you pay attention to can direct the course of your life and how you feel at any given moment.
You can have a multitude of feelings in grief and loss. You may even have happy moments. We’re capable of holding more than one emotion at a time. In fact, that’s the default. Creativity is about navigating ambiguity, holding opposing things or ideas at once, in one space. Grief work is also about holding conflicting emotions and realities together. Past and present. Sad and happy. Guilt and relief. And so on. There’s no one right way to do it.
Feeling good during a pandemic can feel like an act of defiance in some ways. But it’s necessary to show that feeling positive (or even neutral) isn’t an affront to others feelings negative. Your misery doesn’t help, it just adds more misery. If permission to feel good feels like it’s needed, it isn’t...but you can give it to yourself.