The curse of looking happy

Only if it's the "fruit" of contentment

Only if it’s the “fruit” of contentment.

You’ve heard it before, “Well, [insert appropriate subject pronoun here] look(s) happy”. And so they are pronounced as such.  We go about our way.  They often go home and cry.  We too easily forget that smiles are often a coaxed response of self, not Soul.  In that way, they don’t equate to happiness that exists; oftentimes, they equate to happiness one hopes we believe exists.

I write this because I have a contagious smile.  It has opened doors and closed them gracefully behind me and it has also led others to believe that I am boundlessly happy at all times.  I was recently told this: “You’re always happy, Dani.  That’s a wonderful thing!” As I sat there perplexed by her comment, I asked myself, what is wonderful about that?

If I have learned anything, it’s that we were gifted a spectrum of emotion for a reason.  Every emotion is valid and deserves to be felt deeply, even sadness.  But many are uncomfortable with that.  We’re fed images and stories of others who “laugh through pain” and “smile through tears” and somehow that abnormality becomes what’s expected.

A dear friend told me in conversations past that, “an apple tree can no more grunt out an orange than an orange tree can grunt out an apple.”  That’s not what’s inside them.  So that’s not what will be manifest outside them.  As humans, we are a bit more complex than fruit trees, which complicates the matter a bit, because we can be wading waist deep in despair and still grunt out the” fruit” of happiness:  a smile.

Honestly, I think this goes deeper, much deeper, than we realize.  And since I’m a heart and soul excavator, I’m unafraid to search those depths.  I believe there is a certain discomfort for others when our feelings are not in line with theirs, like we might upset the balance of their happiness if we anchor into our sadness.  Or, a greater discomfort, that our anchoring into that sadness, makes them more aware of their own.

Take this example: last week we hosted a visitor from Brazil.  During a long car ride, R had an emotionally-charged phone conversation with a manager of ours.  My chest began to tighten and I seriously thought of making a run for it when he came to a rolling stop.  You see, I don’t deal well with words spoken loudly or harshly (actually, let’s be honest, I don’t deal with conflict well. Period.), so my immediate reaction was to shut down and find the nearest exit.  L, our visitor, was distressed, as I turned inward and became notably quiet, to which she asked, “Dani, can we just make the time nice?  I’m only going to be here a few days…can you just be happy and normal again?”  I thought about that and about the self-sacrificing person I have been for most of my life and responded:

No, I can’t.  I’m upset right now and it’s okay to be upset.  I’m not going to pretend that I’m feeling something I’m not to make everyone else feel okay.  I need to feel what I’m feeling in this moment so I can move past it.

And that was that: feelings were felt, subsequently moved through, and richer days followed.  My world didn’t end because I was sad, but in that moment, perhaps she felt hers might.

A few days ago I had another conversation.  It went like this:

P: “So, how are you?  I thought I was going to have to gather a search party!”

Me: “Well…I’ve been pretty sad lately.  You know this time of year is hard for me.”

P: “It is?  Why?  I thought you loved Christmas!?!”

Me: “I do, but this time of year everyone is out with their children making memories and creating traditions and I miss mine.  I miss the ‘would be’ of them and it makes me sad.”

P: “Well, I think you just need to work yourself past that.”

Me: “I really don’t think there’s anything wrong with being sad.  I want to feel it and feel it deeply.  If I do that, I’ll be able to get past it.  For now.”

And the conversation continued.  You see, she didn’t want me to feel sad.  My sadness made her uncomfortable because there was nothing she could do about it.  But if I moved past it, often by walking around it rather than through it, she would have nothing to feel uncomfortable about.

A few months ago, a beautiful friend wrote me this:

Dani, it is curious that when I read your replies on my iPad, a red heart appears at the end. On my computer, I see a heart with the less than symbol and a 3. I believe your heart is greater than 3, through the heartache you have suffered and your choice not to allow pain to define you.

I had noticed the less than symbol and the 3 but I hadn’t made that connection until her words brought me the much needed heart treasures of perspective and Light.  I know my pain doesn’t define me, neither does my sadness, or anger, or frustration or jealousy.  And I would much rather my face be a canvas painted by the raw emotion of Heart, than the domesticated emotion of expectation.

There is purpose in pain and sacredness in sadness.  When we allow ourselves the gifts of emotion, we open ourselves up to a better understanding of Soul.  So, the next time you see a smile, don’t assume it’s the fruit of happiness. And, especially during this Season of outward celebration, remember the inward suffering of those who received that diagnosis, are struggling without that/those loved one(s), or are complexly lost in a found place.  Extend some grace to yourself and those around you.  And remember: the world won’t come to an end if you let yourself feel, but your world might if you don’t.

Unless you extend your heart, do away with expectations, and ask.

Unless you extend your heart, do away with expectations, and ask.

  One thought on “The curse of looking happy

  1. December 20, 2014 at 11:58 am

    This is a beautiful post! My family isn’t the most expressive lot. Our idea of affection is probably a pat on the head. I am still learning that a simple thing like crying out loud can relieve so much of burden we carry with ourselves instead of smiling a smile you don’t really feel. I love this post!

    • December 24, 2014 at 5:55 am

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and respond. I certainly hear what you wrote of your family and am grateful you realize you aren’t defined by those ties and strands of DNA. We can choose another way. We can learn caresses. We can learn the joy of wearing a face that is our own. We can learn tears.

      With the dawn of each new day…we choose.
      And we learn.

      May you continue to, sweetie.

      With Christmas wishes,
      Dani

  2. December 20, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    I’ve always been very hard on myself and I’m pretty sure it’s rooted in the messages I picked up as a child. I was loved and accepted when I behaved, when I was gracious and kind, when I smiled and was cheerful. Anything less than that meant banishment – time outs or sent to my room until my attitude changed. It’s hard now with my own kids because I much prefer them to be cheerful and well behaved but I have a responsibility to encourage them to express their emotions, even if they’re inconvenient or unpleasant for me. I think a lot of people were raised like I was and have a hard time holding space for others’ emotions. Like you said, people are uncomfortable with things they can’t fix or control. One of my life’s biggest lessons has been to not shy away from another person’s pain. To not try to give advice or fix them or feel uneasy with what might be asked of me. The flip side of that lesson is to not hide my own pain, especially from people I trust and who have earned the right to know the whole me. I don’t know a single person who glides through the holidays without discomfort but I know plenty who pretend to! You are so right about this, Dani. Feeling is a gift. Struggling is a gift and sharing is a gift. Much love to you!

    • December 24, 2014 at 6:00 am

      Thank you for your heartfelt reply, Karen. And this: ” One of my life’s biggest lessons has been to not shy away from another person’s pain…The flip side of that lesson is to not hide my own pain, especially from people I trust and who have earned the right to know the whole me.”

      Beautiful.

      There really is a soul softening that tiptoes around sacred edges when we realize we are not fixers but extenders of Grace. I choose to have my face reflect a corresponding emotion. For me, That is healthy and an extension of grace to myself.

      May you continue to do the same, love.

      With the heart of Christmas,
      Dani

      • December 24, 2014 at 7:17 am

        “There really is a soul softening that tiptoes around sacred edges when we realize we are not fixers but extenders of Grace. ”

        And there it is. Full Stop.

        Grace Extended. Grace Extending.

        • December 24, 2014 at 7:19 am

          You know how I love the Full Stop ❤

          • December 24, 2014 at 7:38 am

            *silent nod, heart soar*

  3. December 20, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Dani – I was thinking about you recently, realizing it’s been awhile since we heard from you and understanding how holiday events trigger many emotions for almost anyone who is willing to examine their own souls. Even understanding all that, I acknowledge the difficulty we all have on witnessing profound sadness in those we love. We can’t help and we want it to go away.

    This season brings many warm memories and shared love, but it’s never untouched by the deep losses we each suffer that are with us forever. May we share kindness, empathy and honesty with each other to carry shared burdens.

    Warm regards, Sammy

    • December 24, 2014 at 6:11 am

      Sammy, I just loved your response: acknowledging that soulful sorrow and sacred smiles can and do co-exist. We are the extensions of Grace in moments of joyful noise and deafening loss. We are.

      Peace to your heart this Christmas.
      Peace to your heart this moment.

      With blessings,
      Dani

  4. mkk11304@comcast.net
    December 20, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Good, T. Sent from XFINITY Connect Mobile App

    • December 24, 2014 at 6:11 am

      Thanks, Mom ❤

  5. December 20, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    So beautiful, and all so true. Thank you for writing this!! I especially love: ” I’m a heart and soul excavator”!

    • December 24, 2014 at 6:13 am

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, sweetie.

      May you be blessed. Ever blessed.

      With gratitude,
      Dani

  6. December 20, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Oh, yes, yes yes! Love this post. “And I would much rather my face be a canvas painted by the raw emotion of Heart, than the domesticated emotion of expectation.” Absolutely! Infertility is what brought me to this inner place. There was a point in my journey where I realized that I had been robbed of more than enough, but that no one could steal my connection to myself if I would not allow it.

    “There is purpose in pain and sacredness in sadness” – yes, because they are ingredients of us. Precious elements of our whole that move through us, and even guide us, when not repressed or judged. I’ve learned in recent years that to honor and hold space for one’s tough emotions is quite the powerful act of self compassion. And it is also a practice, a practice it seems from this post you’ve gotten quite adept at!! I’ve also learned the more presence we gather for our uncomfortable states, the more potent and glorious our sweet moments also become. In opening ourselves to our own pain, we are actually opening ourselves to a much greater abundance; that is why I feel this post is so important.

    One of my favorites from the basic Buddhist philosophies I’ve been exposed to is “I feel that does not equal I am that.” This notion of refraining from judgment and the impermanence of emotion has freed me up, and has shifted my living of life for the better, quite frankly. It is funny we as a culture are so attached to happy when in fact happy is just an emotion, like all others, that comes and goes.

    Wielding a brave heart is often harrowing, but can also pay great dividends.

    • December 24, 2014 at 6:21 am

      I just loved this, Sarah:

      “It is funny we as a culture are so attached to happy when in fact happy is just an emotion, like all others, that comes and goes.”

      I think most people think of happiness as a state of being, a goal to achieve. I think happiness is fleeting. For example, I’m happy when I find some killer tights at Kohl’s, but without Contentment, the happiness fades and I am left with whatever filled my heart and soul before my great find.

      Contentment is soul anchored.
      Contentment is the fixed firmament.
      Content…is what I aspire to be.

      May you be, as well.

      With Christmas blessings,
      Dani

      • December 24, 2014 at 3:08 pm

        Hmmm, yes….I venture to say we’ve all been conditioned to hail happy as above or better than, when I suspect the truth is it’s just EASIER. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking the tights at Kohl’s thrill though – I would NEVER.

        I appreciate your contentment directive as it got me thinking about what has invited contentment for me as of late. And it has been the space I’ve created for myself to cuddle with tough and all too often taboo emotions, from rage to jealousy to all encompassing sorrow. How unexpected – yet at the same time so right – that should breed the opposite. Integration of self is key, but rarely a breeze.

        With that said, I have no doubt the valid channels to contentment are many – the above just happens to be the one I tapped.

        Ok, enough already. Time to get some Christmas on!

  7. Danielle de Luca
    December 20, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    I love you!!!!!

    • December 24, 2014 at 6:22 am

      Tambem te amo!!

  8. lkgaddis
    December 20, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    Reblogged this on Sophia's Story and commented:
    A fellow blogger recently posted an excellent description of the emotional discord many experience: sadness blends with happiness, grief mixes with excitement, anger overpowers serenity, despondency tramples on connectedness. While this sentiment is true for me year round, Christmas is notably difficult. December is full of sad anniversaries, much grieving, wistful thoughts of what could have been, and ultimately to the greatest loss of our lives.

    Beautifully written, this is a good reminder for those of us grieving that our feelings are valid. For those who mercifully don’t understand that kind of grief, it offers a delicate explanation of why tolerance and compassion can be the greatest gift to extend this holiday season.

    • December 24, 2014 at 6:33 am

      Laura, I am honored yet saddened this resonated with you.

      Thank you for reading, responding and reblogging. And thank you more for speaking up and out to and for all of those who have been touched by loss. Emotional education is paramount, so that there is a fullness in grief and connectedness despite it.

      We feel deeply, so we may live deeply.
      This is my heart and my prayer.

      With health and healing,
      Dani

  9. December 20, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    Dani, I don’t know much about you other than following you here for a few months and knowing that you want to have children and have not been able to. I have to believe that is a very sad circumstance. I cannot imagine being in your shoes.

    And although we have never met, and I presume never will, here is my take on who you are from reading your blog. And you do have a very infectious smile. I take that smile more as someone who is not obliviously Pollyanish about all of life, but rather someone who has chosen to live into the solutions. In your blog you provide inspiration and hope to many, including myself. You have chosen not to define yourself by your problems but by your solutions. In any circumstance, that is something to be grateful about.

    I completely agree on the heart and soul excavator. I thoroughly enjoy that process, but it can be incredibly painful, sad, and difficult. But I also know that when I do that work, I am more true to myself, and am better for the process. In so doing, I am better able to share my experience, strength, and hope – not with a huge all the time grin, but with a contentment of living life on life’s terms.

    Thank you for sharing your story. I read all of your posts and always grow from what I read.

    • December 24, 2014 at 6:41 am

      Robert, I must tell you I was brought to tears by your response. I read it treeside and let it be the salve upon wounds long open. Thank you for telling me that my words “provide inspiration and hope to many”. That is all I have ever wanted for this space–a place where people feel connected and Seen. And thank you for confirming that a heart and soul excavator’s work is never easy, but always worth it.

      With Christmas blessings, friend,
      Dani

  10. December 20, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    Being able to stick up for yourself and explain to those with outrageous expectations, that you need to be allowed to feel your emotions for that moment, is very brave of you. Well done 🙂

    • December 24, 2014 at 6:44 am

      I don’t know if it was brave, sweetie, but it was a Long time coming and definitely needed.

      Thinking of you and Yours.

      With the Heart of Christmas,
      Dani

      • December 24, 2014 at 11:37 am

        Same thing then – say what you need to say 🙂

        • December 24, 2014 at 11:42 am

          Thank you, friend.
          Happy Christmas Eve Day!! 🙂

          • December 24, 2014 at 12:04 pm

            You TOO! I hope to have time to write you a new email soon 🙂

          • December 24, 2014 at 2:27 pm

            I hope so, too, but no pressure, okay. Enjoy the next few days, Lizzi ❤

            Squeezes,
            Dani

  11. December 20, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Very proud to be a constant reader, and co-affirmer of things true, right, noble and of good repute.

    All my yes and amen Sis… And all my affirmation of the heart behind the face behind the smile… That heart with a song ever at its core

    • December 24, 2014 at 6:46 am

      You are much loved. Thank you for hearing my song and for singing it back to me when I’ve forgotten its melody.

      With heart,
      Me

  12. December 20, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    Christmas time is hard for me, too. I know my three children are happy in Heaven, but I still have some unresolved sadness in my heart. What helps is to focus on making all the children around me, little and grown up, to know they are loved. My husband and I enjoy singing to them. I have so many friends and family this year with health problems and sorrows, that it’s hard for me to be non-stop jolly. When I do feel like crying, I just retreat and let it out. Then I say a prayer of gratitude for all the wonderful people and things I have in my life. That’s what my latest blog is about. There are a lot of folks out there who are dealing with sadness this Christmas. Thanks for blogging about it, too.

    • December 24, 2014 at 6:56 am

      Thank you for sharing this, Kathleen. I think there will always be unresolved sadness. And that’s okay. I know that now. Despite dealing with things head on and riding the sacred currents of honesty and transparency, That stays. I have always said…no matter my level of contentment, I will always have three tiny holes in my heart. And I want them there. That is where They are buried. In me. In my heart.

      I agree that it is wonderful therapy to fill those around you with love, especially little children. I know that it doesn’t change the place I’m in, but in that moment, it changes Me. And That is worth its weight in gold.

      May your heart be blessed.
      May They be blessed.

      With Christmas hope,
      Dani

  13. December 21, 2014 at 12:31 am

    Your genuine voice, honesty, vulnerability and integrity shine through in this post. May you continue to find the resolve to speak your truth – in all its kaleidoscopic hues – and invite others to bare their vulnerabilities so as to “move” beyond them too.

    • December 24, 2014 at 6:58 am

      I am so touched by this. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. And thank you more for extending your hand to cover mine.

      With Christmas blessings,
      Dani

  14. December 21, 2014 at 8:25 am

    Wow. It is hard to know where to start . . . line after line of powerful words, Dani.

    I think those of us who are soul excavators, who cannot be otherwise, often make others uncomfortable, especially those who want to dance in the shallows. By allowing ourselves to walk through the pain and sadness we experience a dimension in living that most ignore or carefully avoid.

    I spent far too many years hiding my pain and “unpleasant responses” from others. (I have the same reaction you do to a raised voice.) How wonderful for you to respond with, “I’m upset right now and it’s okay to be upset. I’m not going to pretend that I’m feeling something I’m not to make everyone else feel okay. I need to feel what I’m feeling in this moment so I can move past it.” You know the truth that I discovered so late in life, that the hard things we think we are ignoring are really walling us off from a full life.

    “There is purpose in pain and sacredness in sadness.” Absolutely! Last night, after unannounced tears exposed the ache I still feel at my mother’s absence in this world, I realized that I would rather feel the pain, than not to have experienced that wonderful lady. Even the hole in my heart is better than a hard heart that cannot care.

    Dani, your smile is wonderful — I always pause and smile in return when I open a page to read your words and am treated by your lovely face. It is a gift, and I imagine your visitor felt bereft when your smile deserted you. YOU are the “canvas painted by the raw emotion of Heart,” and you bless us who read your words with the beautiful landscape of your rugged, true expressions. Thank you for writing, and living, with heart.

    • December 21, 2014 at 12:53 pm

      So well said Jane.

      • December 24, 2014 at 7:16 am

        She is such a love.

    • December 24, 2014 at 7:16 am

      This brought on tears, Jane. Thank you for your kindness, compassion and care. And thank you for looking past the skin and bones to the tender center of who I am. You are always welcome here, friend. Always.

      And this:

      “Even the hole in my heart is better than a hard heart that cannot care.”

      I must agree with this as I have three of my own whose purpose is not to harden but to hallow.

      May you be lit from within,
      Dani

      P.S. I know we have never met here (not yet, anyway), but I’m sure we have in the splendorous halls of Elsewhere ❤

  15. December 21, 2014 at 9:09 am

    This is so beautifully written. I particularly appreciate your comment of “extend some grace to yourself and those around you.” You’ve said this in similar ways to me before, and I just think it is so important to realize that what you see in someone is not always what is going on deep in their heart and soul. I think it is so important to be there to walk with our friends through the depths of all of our emotions and not just the “easy” happy moments. Lots of love to you through this Christmas season.

    • December 24, 2014 at 7:25 am

      Thank you so much for this, Perfect 😉 I truly believe that kindness and compassion are most needed when it would be easier to turn and run, both physically and emotionally. You and I both know the limits of words, yet kindness and compassion in deed are limitless, especially in moments of trauma and grief. Thank you again…not for hearing, but for listening.

      Much love back to you.
      And Merry Christmas.

      With heart & friendship,
      Dani

  16. December 21, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Thank you for putting into words what I’ve been feeling this year. I’m sad about some things and happy about others. Each emotion alone does not represent me. Each is only a part of me. By embracing all the emotions, I’m finally able to embrace all of me, accept all of me, and thereby learn to love others as I learn to love myself. May you be blessed.

    • December 24, 2014 at 7:36 am

      Judy, thank you for this tender response.

      It’s amazing how we find sadness laced with joy, contentment threaded with sorrow. Personally, I think it’s part of a Grander plan, that in such depths we should see light and in such light we should be Reminded through shadows.

      May you continue to find and live your truth, Judy, both in light and in darkness.

      And may you Love.
      Always may you love.

      With Christmas hope,
      Dani

  17. December 21, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    What a poignant and honest post, Dani. You do have an infectious smile and open heart and I felt your words in my soul.

    I once had a friend tell me many of the things you just shared. She then said, “What happens to your body when you are: sad/depressed/irritable/angry?” Take that physical feeling, recognize it, honor it and don’t be ashamed by it. It serves a purpose.

    You are SO right…we are given the range of emotions for a reason. I have no doubt that God knew what he was doing. Could you imagine a life and a world full of people with flat affects and measured responses for everything?

    I hate the sadness, but love the happiness that usually ensues. For whatever reason, we are wired for struggle…God gives us gifts to overcome.

    I’m sending you love, and a heartfelt smile, across the miles, Dani.

    • December 24, 2014 at 7:56 am

      Thank you for this, Michelle. Your friend was right. It’s so important to know what physical responses are associated with certain feelings. For example, when I’m frustrated or scared, I find it hard to breathe. Sometimes, I don’t recognize it and other times it’s like, “Okay, I get it.; tight chest equals threatened. Moving on and through.”

      I’m currently reading a book called The Desire Map. It’s part theory and part application about how desires move us and why we should set goals based on the emotions they evoke, rather than the goals themselves. It’s quite interesting the light it’s let in: like I realized two of the things I want most are being Held and connectedness. I had never realized how either was so important to me until doing this work.

      Anyway, book aside, I’m truly grateful that we have a broad range of emotion, that we aren’t affectless beings roaming through life untouched and unmoved. There is treasure in every emotion. The key is finding out how each fuels us for Good and letting it do so.

      May your Christmas be full of emotion.
      And may it be full of love.

      With friendship,
      Dani

  18. December 24, 2014 at 2:42 am

    reading this, i can see just why the article i linked to on facebook would have resonated so much with you. i get these words. losing our children at any point is so taboo, and i’ve found that so many aren’t able to let themselves go there… to that place of emotion or pain. and that is where empathy is lacking… when one can’t also feel pain with us. it’s such an isolating thing to through.

    right after we lost anysia, i was beginning to feel the isolation and the awkward silence, so i wrote this…
    http://justhowiseethings.wordpress.com/2014/01/19/on-our-hearts/
    i wish people would not tip toe around our loss. i don’t recall that i tiptoed around others’ before i went through it. i don’t know though. perhaps i never had the opportunity because many are so silent and private about their pain. i happen to think we should grieve in community. so, when there are so many who don’t, i think it creates a message to people who’ve never been exposed to such a loss that silence is what we want. but i wonder how much of a vicious cycle it is, because i have a feeling that in the beginning, many do want the community and connection of others in their loss. i know for me, i craved it. then, as time went on and i had to endure so many awkward, painful and hurtful conversations with and among even friends, i started to want to cocoon away from community, just so as not to deal with all that anymore. it had nothing to do with not wanting to continue to talk about my daughter… quite the opposite, actually. it had so much to do with desperately wanting to keep talking about her, and feeling like i could not.

    i always wondered why certain friends said to me that they were not sure if they could talk about my daughter. i can see when a stranger might think it. but when a long-time friend would, i wanted to cry out… don’t you know me by now? haven’t you been watching me go through this? can’t you see that i am an open book and that i want to grieve with you and not alone? sometimes i think their silence has more to do with them {and how they feel they would handle my loss if it had happened to them} than it does with me. i don’t know.

    all i know is that i wish it could all be worked out some day. perhaps more education about this kind of loss is needed in health class at younger ages??? so there is not so much taboo and people allow others to grieve when, where and how they need to on any given day without being afraid of it.

    okay… there is my two cents for the day. i figure i better wrap it up, because it’s kind of weird when someone comments on your post and their comment in longer than your post. =)

  19. December 24, 2014 at 8:32 am

    I believe there are those who are more comfortable staying away when waves of grief hit. Perhaps they don’t have the words or fear, if they find any, they’ll be wrong. And a greater perhaps–at least in my case–perhaps they take our silence as an excuse for their own.

    I’m sure you’ve experienced grief on so many levels with Anysia’s passing and because you have, you may be better at bringing souls into the huddle rather than directing them away. You have lived through one of the greatest losses there is and walked to the other side with arms and heart open. That is a beautiful thing, Georgia. And, while I don’t know you well, I can’t help but feel that Anysia left that as her gift: that despite everything, you can still open your arms and let people in, heart unhardened.

    It took me a long time to get where I am. Since I am one who suffered in relative silence for some time, I understand others’ need to pull away and anchor into self and Soul. I needed to do that to process everything that happened and to try to answer the unceasing “why’s” placed in head and heart (p.s. no answers on that front).

    Like you, I truly believe everything begins with education and that we treat others how to treat us. Many people didn’t know I wanted to talk about my losses until I came out and told them. Many people didn’t know that I wanted them to call or send letters on significant dates because they thought doing such things would remind me (as if I ever have to be reminded) of their short-lived lives. What I found is that I needed to be very intentional with people–even those I thought I should never have to–instead of taking for granted that they would just know, since they Know me.

    I think oftentimes loss and grief bring out the worst in us, when they could bring our our best. You chose. I chose.

    May others choose, as well.

    And may you and your Anysia be richly blessed this Christmas, her beside her Savior and you before them both.

    With heart,
    Dani

  20. December 30, 2014 at 8:16 am

    Dani, I wish I could string the following jewels onto a chain and wear them as a bracelet:
    “Honestly, I think this goes deeper, much deeper, than we realize. And since I’m a heart and soul excavator, I’m unafraid to search those depths. I believe there is a certain discomfort for others when our feelings are not in line with theirs, like we might upset the balance of their happiness if we anchor into our sadness. Or, a greater discomfort, that our anchoring into that sadness, makes them more aware of their own.”
    Honestly and tenderly spoken truth! I thought of you and prayed for you this Holiday, I am so encouraged by your willingness to be in close proximity to my pain. I sincerely hope that you feel my proximity to you and yours! Love, Gracie

    • December 30, 2014 at 11:33 am

      The tendency is to run when we see others in pain, but I can’t do that. I anchor in and prepare for the heart blows to come. It is my way (even when it’s better to walk away)….always has been.

      It is such a gift to pick someone else up, but it is a greater gift to let them stay down awhile, while you fight on. Sometimes that is needed. Sometimes it is wanted, too.

      Thank you for being in my corner, Gracie. I certainly know you are in mine.

      With heart & healing,
      Dani

      • December 30, 2014 at 2:08 pm

        Woman, I will stand back to back with you in any corner, I will watch your back. 🙂 Your kindred spirit in pain, Gracie

  21. January 1, 2015 at 3:18 am

    Very rightly said Dani! You know I’m quite a humourous person and most of the time I am cracking jokes and making people laugh. But when I have my moments and am sad, everyone looks at me like it’s so weird for me to be so. Almost like I don’t have the license to be sad. I never understood that and never thought of it from the other person’s perspective. But reading your post opens my eyes to a lot of things and assures me that it’ okay(sometimes even good) to feel things.

    • January 7, 2015 at 8:59 am

      I’m so pleased to help open up that conduit of self-love and self-acceptance for you, LynAn. I think it is normal to be pegged and shimmied into a Role by those in our circles (and oftentimes, outside them), but know we do not have to be the people we are verbally (or otherwise) told we should be. A humorous person has just as much right to dip into sadness as a grief-stricken person has to be hit with fits of laughter. We are Much more than our roles dictate: roles don’t account for beating hearts and aching souls…they just don’t.

      Blessings to you in the New Year, LynAn, in whichever way you hope and wish them to be received.

      With thanksgiving,
      Dani

      • January 16, 2015 at 4:40 am

        Thank you Dani for the soothing words in your reply. They strengthen me.

  22. January 7, 2015 at 12:55 am

    I love this post, Dani. Beautifully written (as always!) and so insightful.

    We wouldn’t have emotions if they weren’t meant to be felt. I believe that, like bodily pain, negative emotions tell us when something is off-balance and ignoring them or covering them up usually makes the situation worse. Emotions are meant to be felt and their underlying causes healed, like any other pain and injury.

    I will sit with you whether you have a smile or sadness on your face.

    • January 7, 2015 at 8:37 am

      I just love this comment…blessings to you, whoever you are…this is soo tender and strong!

      • January 7, 2015 at 8:40 am

        Her name is Annie and she is a beautiful poetess.

        Charissa meet Annie.
        Annie meet Charissa.

        *smiles at the meeting of two great wordsmiths*

        • January 7, 2015 at 9:11 am

          Wonderful! I knew I felt that kindred current!

          So pleezed ta meetcha!

          *Charissa curtsies*

          • January 7, 2015 at 3:39 pm

            Nice to meet you, Charissa! ^_^

    • January 7, 2015 at 9:13 am

      Annie, thank you for sharing your heart and for gifting me the blessing of acceptance, no matter my emotional state. In moments of trauma and grief, some people show up and some people don’t. I know now who will anchor into the deep pits with me and who will run. And there is treasure there. There really is. I guess sometimes you need a heart comrade to help you rise again and others you need her to simply say: “Stay down. I’ve got this one.” Thankfully, I have both. I hope you do, as well.

      With gifts of friendship and Light,
      Dani

  23. SS
    January 14, 2015 at 12:50 am

    “There is purpose in pain and sacredness in sadness”

    This really resonates for me Dani. As always your words speak right to me. I have come to cherish the sadness and pain that loss brings. These are deeply personal and intimate moments that I share only with my lost daughter, as you do with your lost children. Blessings and much love to you xx

    • January 14, 2015 at 9:14 am

      Thank you for reading and for your heartfelt comment, sweetie. Thankfully, we both see sadness is not the boogeyman it’s been made out to be. Oftentimes it is as necessary as its polar opposite…in my mind, sometimes even more so.

      So glad you’re back and Happy New Year to you, as well. May it be kind and Full.

      With heart,
      Dani

  24. June 26, 2015 at 7:31 am

    I am that ‘smile’. Someone recently told me she thought I had the biggest balls of anyone she knew, which normally would make me smile even more, but at the moment I just don’t feel like smiling, or being strong.
    Until I lost my daughter I had never cried out loud, pain racked cries, it scared me, but I was so tired of keeping it in and giving the ‘smile’.

    Your writing is absolutely beautiful and I’m crying now, reading words that resonate with me so much, I wish they didn’t as I imagine you wished you weren’t writing these posts, as beautiful and powerful as they are X

    • June 26, 2015 at 8:27 am

      I think people who let the emotions come and walk through them, instead of around them, have gargantuan-sized balls, Mands. You’re strong, despite the tears; you’re strong Because of them. With heart, Dani

Heart connections happen through comments. Please leave yours here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: