Category Archives: Sorrow

BOO! When Happiness Is Scary

We’ve all had those moments – utter despair, blinding rage, simmering anger.

It’s from that place that “happiness” is the most scary.

It’s scary because:

  • It’s almost inconceivable that we could be happy again
  • It’s such a huge shift that if feels uncomfortable to contemplate…much less actual do
  • It’s scary to fake it through because if you’ve lived long enough, you know that stuffing dispair, rage or anger just means it’s gonna leak out again later…probably at the most inconvenient time!

What to do?

First step: feel the feelings…no matter how uncomfortable.  If there is any way you get get alone for even 15 minutes to just have a crying jag or a hissy fit…it’ll help

Next:  don’t aim for happy, go for “neutral”.  Think about your basic human needs:  get enough sleep, eat healthy, nourishing foods, get out and breath fresh air, take a walk, exercise even.  Try to avoid sugar, alcohol and junk food…that stuff tends to take us on a roller coaster ride.  We feel better for a bit then wham we’re down again.  Try your own experiment here and see what works for you.

Then: When you’re at neutral, now it’s time to start thinking about being happy.  What made you happy in the past?  What are you dreaming about for the future.  What happy making things can you provide for yourself?

Need more tips?  Check out The Happiness Handbook for more info about how to clear the crap, decide what makes you happy, communicate it effectively and then…get your happy dance on.

This Halloween…hopefully only the trick-or-treaters will scare you!



The Road Back from The Dark Night of the Soul

I’m a rather calm, grounded, happy … even sparkly…. person.  So, when people find out about “my road”, they usually can’t believe it.  Not in the “no, you’re lying way” but in the “you’ve got to be kidding, I would have never guessed way”.

So, they wanna know how I did it. How I “turned out so normal” after…let’s just keep kindly referring to it as “my road”.

Well, “gentle reader”, there is no Rx for healing. Each person has their own healing language that works for them.  The trick is to just start.  Pay attention to what you are drawn to – a book, a class, a form of spirituality/meditation/prayer.  Maybe it doesn’t wind up being “it” or a cure-all for you but it will probably lead you to the next thing.

I’ve got a saying on my fridge that says “What if the next step is a leap of faith?” – Oh gosh, I can’t express enough how much I hate that!!! <insert wobbly giggle here> I want to see/feel/hear/taste/touch/sense the next stepping stone before leaping. I’m not a fan of “splat” and I’ve got huge “trust” issues in god/the universe/whatever…because of “the road”.

So, each leap of faith, is done while shaking…(or convulsing) and having to trust god/the universe/whatever to provide a decent landing spot.  Cuz frankly, although pain and sorrow have been quite the fertile muse…I’m willing to be mused in another way now…thank you very much.

lalala, rambling a bit here, sorry.  So, at the back of The Happiness Handbook is a whole list of resources that worked for me, one at a time throughout the whole journey thus far.  But if I had to give the top 3, I’d recommend that you check out.

The linking concept in each of these resources is that our minds are a very powerful tool. We don’t need to be at the “effect” of the crap that happens to us, we can “cause” or co-create the reality we want…it may take awhile, but we can do.

Oh, and as you saw in my recent alanon blog, a 12 step program has a certain perspective into a person’s behavior that may work too.

So, to those in the midst of “the dark night” – the pain is a guide, get support and above all…you can do it. After every night, there is a dawn and a new day.  (And…once you get through your first dark night…the others are easier to handle – what!? other dark nights?  There’s not just one?  Jenn, what the?????

Ahh, dear “gentle reader”, no one knows what lies ahead on the road – we only know that our “emergency kit” in the trunk keeps gaining tools!

To a lighter heart, and a warm loving smile on all our faces,


The Happiness Handbook and Boundaries?

You know, some days it’s just weird having a blog and a book about happiness when…I’m not.

We’re working on a CD called Excavation in Urban Fiction; mining our old emotional baggage and finding that sorrow is an ironic muse.  So, of course in “excavation” some of this old stuff, it’s rich, it’s interesting…but not necessarily happy. – When we win the grammy for it, I reserve the right to change my mind! 🙂

Anyway, I digress from the blog title.  Awhile back, my best friend came over and said they had gotten themselves into a pickle and needed to detox.  I’ve been through crap and back, I’m healthy and have a healing vibe in my home so could they detox at my place?  We discussed it for days and looked into what the symptoms we could expect to emerge, what support there was for my friend and for me.

In the end, it came down to looking at what my own answers were to “what makes me happy” in my book.  Would my friend come out of this healthy but would I wind up crazy unhappy?

It was a very heavy decision, since I love this person with my big open heart and being from Minnesota, kinda used to just always helping!  But having the clarity from my book, it was with a heavy heart that I said “no”.

My friend checked into rehab and I checked out alanon. Thank goodness that I’d actually done my book!  By me knowing what makes me happy and using that to set my boundaries, I actually made a healthy decision for both of us.

Happy now?  Ahh, no…not really.  I’m looking at myself through the lense of alanon and there’s some behaviors I have had in the past that…sting.  But in the immortal words of Scarlett, “tommorrow is another day”!

Grateful now?  Absolutely, positively!  Check out what I’m grateful for this Thanksgiving.



PS – oh, my friend is awesome and inspiring and doing really well!! Yeah, happy dance 🙂

Isn’t it weird how a person can both be happy and unhappy at the same time!

Calling Songs

So we talked about catharsis songs that release emotion, let’s balance that out with songs that call in positive emotions like love and peace.  The only caveat is to choose songs that are about the emotion NOT about the longing – otherwise you are calling in the action of “longing” not the action of “having”.

Here’s some ideas and remember to sing these big and full out too!

  • Imagine
  • Don’t Worry Be Happy
  • TNT (AC/DC)
  • Back In Black
  • I Dont’ Wanna Miss A Thing
  • Love In An Elevator – hey, you call in what you want, I’ll call in what I want 🙂
  • Feel Like Makin Love
  • Aint No Mountain High Enough
  • Love Me Tender
  • Tusk (Fleetwood Mac) – This one just makes me happy and peppy.

Leave a comment about calling songs you like to use.

Next time…let’s actually move onto happiness!

After Release – Then What?

After you’ve had your catharsis, you’ve moved out crappy feelings (yeah) and left a “void”. As we know, voids must be filled!  So, here’s some ideas for replacments:

  • Gratitude (at a minimum – “Thank God that’s over!”)
  • Smile
  • Your vision for what comes next (I like this one!)
  • Sing a calling song and call in love, happiness, peace

Leave a comment about what your replacement feelings are.

Next time:  Calling Songs

Catharsis Songs

So, you know I’ve been working out this sorrow so you’ve probably popped over to the Urban Fiction site to see if we’ve put up any “new works” snippets.  Hehehe, I’ll just let you wonder and check out the music!

Catharsis songs are songs that help you release emotion.  There’s a trick to singing

Rock it out!

Rock it out!

catharsis songs though:

  • You have to actually be willing to release the pain, sorrow, anger otherwise you’re not only wallowing in it but you are calling more of the same to you.
  • Put the feelings in your heart and sing it from there (forget singing in tune or time or putting vocal frills on it – just sing it like you mean it – like you wrote it).

Songs either release emotion or call it in.  There’s more on this in the UF Blog.

Here’s some catharsis songs I’ve used.  Sing ’em full out, be the freakin rock star. (Again, shut the windows so you don’t make the neighbors cry!).  The following evoke different feelings to be released; some make me stomp and rant, others make me cry:

  • My favorite is a Lakota song that’s more of a wail. I’ve been out in the wilderness and really gave the moon a piece of my mind with it. I’ve also sung it with the rocking and moaning technique. If you’re in one of my work shops or at a UF gig, ask me about it and I’ll teach it to you.
  • I Will Survive
  • You Oughta Know
  • Piece of My Heart
  • Goodbye to You
  • I Will Remember You
  • Angel (Sarah McLachlan)
  • Desperado
  • Crazy Baby (Joan Osborne)
  • Yesterday

Leave a comment with your favorite catharsis songs.

Next time:  Once you release the crappy feelings…then what?

Techniques for Moving Anger and Sorrow

When we last left our story, I’d just had a sorrow inducing event and was choosing to experience the sorrow and anger rather than stuffing it.  But I chose to move the feelings through me and not get stuck in “the story” of what happened.  So here’s a few tips for experiencing the feelings and releasing them.  The same one doesn’t always work for me so here’s a menu of options (in no particular order)!

  1. Write a letter and express yourself however you want. You are free to use words you wouldn’t say, to use bad grammar and to make spelling mistakes.  When you are done – burn it or shred it (Never send it, that won’t help!)
  2. Yell or scream into a pillow
  3. Go to a batting cage and really whack that ball (a personal favorite)
  4. Do the Rock and Moan. Sit on the floor, rock back and forth and give a low guttural moan. If you have a hard time crying but need to, this technique can often provoke the crying (sometimes in your neighbors if you don’t close the windows first!).
  5. Sing catharsis or lament songs.

Finally, always end your “session” by returning to gratitude and love.  You don’t have to suddenly “love” the person you’re pissed at, you could love yourself or the dog. Try not to love ice cream though, that can have unpleasant side effects 🙂

Leave a comment with your favorite catharsis technique.

Next time…Catharisis songs!