November 11th marks one of the most sombre and important times of reflection for many of us.
It is typically recognized as Remembrance Day in Canada, where we reflect on the ultimate sacrifice provided by so many, past and present, so that we and others can live lives of freedom, happiness, and joy. Like any other holiday, many people will have mixed feelings over what it represents, or who it represents, or who it forgets to represent. I’ve travelled to Europe, I have seen the graves of the unmarked soldiers, and it is with profound Sorrow and Gratitude that I truly and humbly acknowledge their sacrifice.
Every emotion serves a purpose. It is weird when we see terms like, “negative emotion”, or “negative feelings”, because positive and negative are simply subjective experiences. Many, “negative emotions”, are rooted in sadness, and since we are not supposed to be sad, they are therefore marked as negative.
Yet, sadness is likely one of the greatest emotions that humanity has been fortunate enough to develop and harness. Sadness does one thing better than any other emotion, in that it Builds Connection. If we stop and think about it, the ability of a psychologist to do the job well requires them to access deep feelings of Compassion and Empathy, which are rooted in the sadness of experiencing another person’s pain with them. Of course, psychologists have years of training to help them navigate these deep dark waters, training that not everybody is fortunate enough to receive.
I would encourage everyone to seek Connection through Compassion, to allow ourselves the joy that comes through sadness.
For this Remembrance Day, I would encourage everyone to seek Connection through Compassion, to allow ourselves the joy that comes through sadness, and a deeper understanding of what it means to be human. Emotions like guilt, shame, and remorse, are also rooted in sadness, and many people find these emotions unpleasant. But even these emotions have developed to serve us. For example, if I miss my friend’s birthday, I may be wracked with guilt, and I will reach out and offer to buy them dinner to alleviate that guilt. However, in doing so I strengthen the bonds of friendship. Why? Because I feel bad. But after that dinner both my friend and I will feel closer. Connection through Compassion.
So, this Remembrance Day, I encourage all of us to seek Connection through Compassion, to allow ourselves to experience those emotions rooted in Sadness, Grief, and Loss, to inspire Gratitude, Appreciation, and Recognition in order to develop even closer connections with the people around us.
As we said on the farm, “honour those that have come before you, learn from them, so that one day you might have a little wisdom to teach those that will come after you”.
Come heal, grow and create together
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