I am addicted to sorrow.

Well, crap. That’s not really a great place for a life coach to be, is it? Yeah, let me run out there and hire the gal who’s addicted to sorrow to help me with my own schtick about my life. It’s bound to be productive…

 But that’s where I’ve been the past week or so. Which is ironic, since my family and I just got back from a great trip to Ireland and England—my husband, 2 kids and mother-in-law; and we had an amazing time. No one got sick, everyone had fun, we saw and experienced things we never had before.

 But what was my thought from the second we landed in Los Angeles to about 5 minutes ago? Was I thinking of the joy of the trip, of the excitement of school starting, of the thrill of getting my website live? Nope. I am addicted to sorrow. That’s what I’ve been thinking.

It’s made me a lot of fun at parties.

I’ve been thinking: How can I be a coach when I’m still so often sad myself? I’ve been thinking: This thought work is bullshit. It doesn’t really help. I’ve been thinking: I’ve got to get out of here. I’ve been thinking: Every decision I’ve ever made has led me right back to sorrow. I’ve been thinking: I should be happy. Why am I always so miserable?

I’m in a class where I’m supposed to coach with a buddy every week. I haven’t done this; I’ve been out of town, she’s been busy, the usual blah, blah, blah. But I felt so lousy this week, it finally dawned on me to call her. I have to say, she fixed me right up. Or—she helped me fix myself right up. 

She asked: “What are you afraid of?” Well, geez. I couldn’t possibly narrow it down to one thing, so I gave her a long list, a small part of which I’ll include here: I’m afraid if I really get in to life coaching, I’ll never act again. I’m afraid if I act again, I’ll end up having to leave my husband and kids for long periods of time to work. I’m afraid if I try to act again, I’ll fail again. I’m afraid of rejection. I’m afraid that I’ll never be happy. I’m afraid that coaching doesn’t really work.  I’m afraid that every decision I make takes me further from my essential self. I’m afraid I’m so damaged or flawed that I’ll never get better. I’m afraid I’m addicted to sorrow.

Being a brave soul, and because she was really listening and could hear the tears in my voice about the sorrow thing, she plunged right into that thought.

Here’s what she did. She asked what sorrow felt like. Heavy, leaden, soggy, wet, comfortable, cozy, omnipresent and familiar is what I think I said. Actually, I didn’t say omnipresent, but I just like that word and it fits. So—whatever. Writer’s license.

And then she switched and started talking to Sorrow directly. “Sorrow, what do you offer Sonja?”  Familiarity, protection from trying again and failing again, a way to remain in one place and not have to try anything. A way to be off the hook, is what Sorrow told her. “And Sorrow, what do you think Sonja would be like without you?” “She’d be lost.  Hopeful—then miserable when she failed again. She wouldn’t have any idea what to behave like without me,” said Sorrow. “I’ve been with her forever.” 

“But she wants a chance to grow. She wants to do other things. You’re keeping her stuck in this dark, damp place,” said Sheila to Sorrow. “No, I’m keeping her safe,” said Sorrow. “But she doesn’t feel safe, she feels so unhappy, and she’s so beautiful and creative and she wants a chance to grow,” said Sheila. 

And on like that.

You have to understand, as Sheila was talking to Sorrow, I was answering in Sorrow’s voice but I was also watching and the tears were just pouring out of me. My whole body was crying. She asked if Sorrow could leave and Sorrow came back with a resounding No!

The thought actually shook me to the core. Sorrow, leave? Horrors! Preposterous! Impossible! Terrifying. What would I be without sorrow? Remember in the book Hotel New Hampshire? Sorrow floats. That’s been my creed for as long as I can remember.

Really, Sorrow was not budging on that one. But…”I can’t leave her, but maybe I could transform,” said Sorrow.  “Transform into what?” Sheila wondered.  “Rain, “ said Sorrow.

……oooookay.  WTF?

But: “Instead of drowning her and being leaden, maybe I could be the gentle rain. The rain that helps things grow.”

“You could be nurturing,” said Sheila. “How would that look?" 

“That would look like the sceenplay she’s wanted to finish, since it’s about sorrow, or the cabaret she’s working on. It would look like helping other people with their sorrow.” 

“So you could let her show other people how to handle you, Sorrow? You could let her write about you and show you but not get stuck in you? Would that feed your ego enough to let her alone so that she could grow?”

And, imagine my surprise, Sorrow said yes.

And I felt better. Imagine my surprise.

I asked Sheila: “How did you know to do that? To talk to Sorrow directly?” She said, “I’ve never done that before. I was guided.” And then she said, “I just pulled it out of my ass.”  Ahhhh. Ass-pulled coaching! Now, that’s the kind of coaching I really understand.

So if you need a little hand with sorrow, feel free to give me a call, or for god’s sake, call Sheila immediately.

Sorrow floats. Maybe. But—for today at least–out there. Not here, not in my heart, not where I actually live.



This entry was posted on Friday, October 22nd, 2010 at 5:43 pm and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


4 Responses to “I am addicted to sorrow.”

  1. Keisha Gallegos Says:

    I love ass pulled coaching!!! I think it's the very best kind! I love your writing style, and your honesty. I am proud of you, and proud to call you my friend.  And an ass kicking coach :)  

  2. Jean Linington Says:

    Wow! Does THIS sound familiar to me. Thanks for sharing it, and I think I owe you for a session! Thinking of sorrow transformed into gentle rain is starting to help me already. 
    You are an ass-kicking coach!!
    Love you,

  3. Nance Says:

    Thank you for this wonderful insight you have no idea how this has helped me today!
    I have been working through a foggy sorrow for some time now. 
    Transforming the sorrow and its heavy weight into a soft rain works for me …..Seeing it differently a new perspective always helps……….
    Thank you,

  4. LaTara Says:

    This was a great article. My aunt is a life coach and we actually have these kinds of conversations with emotions and different versions of myself or other people in my head. For some reason it really does help! I hope things have gotten better for you since this realization!

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