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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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« What Are Today's Interesting Finds? - v8 | What Happens When You Leave Worry as a Last Resort? »

How to Unlock Gigantic Gifts in What Makes You Sad

Let’s face it. Life gives us an abundance of wonderful, which gets served along with the not so wonderful. Intrinsically I understand that if things were only good, without any challenges, we wouldn’t fully grasp gratitude. It’s in the diversity of experiences and feelings that we appreciate what it means to be human.

Recognizing this doesn’t make it any easier to handle loss, sadness, grief, and struggle. Our challenges add necessary layers to life that provide possibilities for growth and perspective shifts.

Each autumn when the leaves whither and drop to the ground, I feel sad and a sense of loss. These feelings intensify as the trees become bare and the landscape colorless. The part of fall I love most is when the foliage is showered in vibrant reds, oranges and yellows.

Recently, I mentioned this feeling of “fall sadness” to one of my friends. Instead of her agreeing with me, figuring that we shared this sentiment, she expressed that fall was one of her favorite times. She loved seeing the empty trees. The simplicity let her distinguish the branch and tree trunk shapes, patterns, and negative spaces formed against the sky.

What a gift she offered me! Her observations made me consider fall differently. Maybe the emptiness will help me see past the colorful distractions so I can more easily examine structures and foundations that need to be repaired.

While I’ll always prefer bursts of color to neutral palettes, I’m curious to try this new perspective. The absence of color and adornment will be my cue for securing foundations. With an unobstructed view, I can adjust the basics and prepare for growth.

What's possible for you? What ways help you approach transitions? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come join the conversation.





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Reader Comments (13)

What a nice take on fall - I never thought about the simplicity of winter before. Love hearing a new perspective. I am always sad when things come to an end. Years ago my wise mother told me it helped her to always have something to look forward to. Having an experience, a get together, or even a meal to anticipate provides energy to push ahead. Good times are always out there, we just need to remember that and walk in their direction.

November 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

I love the change of seasons and the transitions during that change. It's fun to embrace the beauty of each part of our green space for me and what experiences are associated with each season. I like to find the joy of each season and look forward to this. I look ahead to our family traditions of each season.

I love that you are embracing new perspectives on change and how sometimes that includes sadness and worry. These past blog posts are ways for us to look beyond the emotion and create awareness of how difficult emotions can help us in new ways.

November 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

This is a very interesting perspective to consider. Thank you so much for sharing it. Fall is my least favorite time of year. I'm a sunshine, daylight girl. The shorter days, lack of color and gray skies can dampen my spirits. As Seana said I look for things to look forward to: gatherings with friends, decorating for the holidays, baking goodies .. the list goes on.

November 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Quintana

@Seana- Just thought you'd appreciate that the conversation I mentioned happened this past weekend at NERCPO. You had something to do with the inspiration for this post. If it wasn't for you and organizing such a great event, I might not have had the opportunity to talk with this friend.

I love what your mom shared with you…about having something to look forward to. My mother in law believed that too. She had many health challenges, but anticipating planned gatherings with family and friends helped her shift her focus away from her medical issues towards what she treasured most.

November 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Beauty of life is recognizing that in absence of sad moments, the happy ones could become just dull. A bad moment is hard to go through, but once it's over, and happiness arise the good moment tastes sweeter.
My way to approach transitions is understand everything changes in life, and sometimes the changes are rough and leave scars.

November 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNacho Eguiarte

@Ellen- I'm with you completely that there is joy to be found in every season… the physically changes in the landscape and the experiences that are associated with each season. I like the connection you made between the seasons and the seasonal experiences. It's so true. A favorite fall event I'm looking forward to it Thanksgiving. I can't wait to have the family together.

@Diane- I hear you on the "sunshine, daylight girl" part. High five. As I age, I seem to be even more effected by the weather, the sun, the rain and the shine. There's a thread here with what you, Ellen and Seana have said. Find the joy in each season. It might come from the special seasonal events and gatherings, or the way we choose to use our time. Right now baking sounds good. Nothing like working with our hands and enjoying the wonderful aromas!

@Nacho- Such a beautifully healthy attitude! The yin and yang of emotions…each one enhancing the other. You're so right that change is a constant and they can be "rough." And then there's the flip side.

November 10, 2015 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I know that fall is always a double edge sword for me. I love the fall it is my favourite season, however I am not a fan of the winter season. So a few years ago I decided to embrace it and get out more in the snow. It helped me go through it instead of dwelling on it.

November 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJill Robson

@Jill- What strikes me here is how creative everyone is in figuring out ways to enhance the seasons that are not their favorites. I love your idea of embracing winter by being in it more. I tend to stay in…no sleigh riding or snowman building like I used to do when I was a kid. Having the right gear might help. I used to dislike rainy days until I purchased some tall purple rubber boots. Now puddles and rain no longer phase me.

November 10, 2015 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Linda, you so rounded out my perspective with your insights. The way you expressed it as an opportunity to not just 'look' at the shapes and spaces of trunks, branches and sky, but to 'see' (yes, Judith Ann Kirk) the structure and foundations ... and relate it to repair and transformation in our lives.

I've been in a state of awe with this season's incredible foliage - what a year! I love these vibrant, warm earth colors and use them in my artwork, but those colors only work when part of shapes and movement - the structure and foundation that brings the colors to life!

November 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Lasky

Beautiful post, Linda. I wonder if part of what you are experiencing is also a withdrawal from light. Winter days are shorter and for those of us that might tip toward seasonal depression, I think the lack of light can bring on the melancholy. I learned from a designer once that 80% of people prefer warm colors and 20% prefer cool ones. If you put a warm colored person in a cool room, they will simply be less comfortable. I deferred to my husband's love of blue for our bedroom walls, but the rest of our home is warm and light.

Great conversation, beautiful words.

November 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAlys Milner

@Susan- Thank YOU for being the inspiration for this post. Who knew that an brief conversation would spark such a dialogue. I'm glad you felt I did justice to what you shared with me. I love making connections with what I see or hear to other areas and ideas. I'm always on the look for sparks…and you my friend provided me with that. I agree too that this season is particularly gorgeous.

@Alys- You could be right. I DO love light…and especially sunlight. But I also tend to turn on ALL the lights to make rooms brighter. Your stats about color preferences are interesting and something I never heard before. I prefer cool colors, with a heavy lean towards purple and blue. Thank you for being part of the conversation.

November 11, 2015 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Fall used to make me sad, until 2007. That year, I went for regular early morning walks with a colleague, and realized that it was much more enjoyable than it had been during the hot, humid days of summer. I also went away during the last week of September, and the weather was simply gorgeous.

Awareness that winter is just around the corner now makes me treasure every pleasant day, knowing it might be a long time until we have another one like that.

You might find this blog post my sister wrote last year inspiring: November Beauty

November 13, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

@Janet- Thank you so much for sharing you sister's wonderful "November Beauty" post with me. I love how she discovered her own way of appreciating November's gifts through photography, walking, and pausing for moments of gratitude. The human spirit is amazing…always looking for ways to reframe our experiences to more positive ones. That thread is consistent in the comments on this post (and your sister's.) You have also expressed the gratitude piece and finding how the treasures of this season.

November 14, 2015 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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