Sit With Your Sadness

Sit With Your Sadness

It seems like every day that something pops up on my news-feed telling me how to ‘think myself happy.’ It’s become a cultural preoccupation. But the illusion that we can live with a permanent smiley face does sadness a big disservice. Because while sadness and grief aren’t ‘fun’ emotions, they’re essential to living whole, healthy and and (most the time) happy lives.

Always triggered by loss of some sort, sadness and grief point us toward what matters most to us in life. Shutting ourselves off to it – whether distracting ourselves with busyness, denying or numbing it – also shuts us off to joy.

Shutting ourselves off to sadness – whether by distracting ourselves with busyness, denying or numbing it – also shuts us off to joy. It’s for this reason I was delighted to sit down with Liz Dawes who lost her son Conner to brain cancer at eighteen. The 18-month journey from Connor’s diagnosis to his death was marked with enormous angst for all who loved him. Throughout that time, and in the two years since his passing, how Liz has coped and channeled her grief is deeply inspiring. The Robert Connor Dawes Foundation founded in his honor has already raised over one million dollars for brain cancer projects.

​If you’ve ever lost anyone you love, you know how painful grief can be. Yet despite how it wrenches the heart, we all have the capacity to move beyond our grief, to reclaim our wholeness and live deeper than before.


Liz with her son Conner during his treatment for brain cancer.

I hope you’ll take a find a few minutes to watch my interview with Liz (above is part 2 of 5 – the rest are on RawCourage.TV) and that you’ll share it with anyone you care about who is struggling with loss in some way. Millions are. Particularly during this festive season when the absence of loved ones presses hardest on our hearts.

Warning, as you watch my conversation with Liz, tears may fall. But they can also transform. I know, because I’ve cried plenty.

As I wrote in Brave, after my brother Peter’s death I learnt that the only way out of grief is right through the raw heart of it. That takes courage. But it reconnects us to life.

So live and love with an open heart. Anything less is not truly living at all.

So sit with your sadness. It will turn this holy season into a healing season. As the great poet Kahlil Gibran once wrote: “Sadness is but a wall between two gardens.”

For more information on the work of the Robert Connor Dawes Foundation please click here.