Today was the last day of the Kaiut Carnival Intensive Retreat here in Curitiba. It closed with a morning of Francisco beautifully sharing his thoughts on what we had all just experienced, and the impact he hopes it will have for us as we return to our day to day lives.
I have been to a variety of retreats, workshops and conferences over the years. And whenever it comes to the closing remarks and the hugs good-bye I walk away with a heavy feeling in my heart. I have just experienced something inspiring that will leave me forever changed, and now it is over. I have just connected, often deeply, with new people who share my interests & values and we now all go our separate ways. I am usually quite sad.
But today it is different.
Today I am feeling sad. But I am feeling more grateful than sad.
Francisco spoke this morning about how we shouldn't strive to stop feeling negative emotions like sadness. We will surely fail; as to be sad, angry, frustrated, fearful or whatever else is to be human. When we feel any of these things we should acknowledge it in our minds and then separate ourselves from it. Just accept the emotion, and not let it overwhelm us. Not let it control us. It is something that we are feeling but not something that defines us.
So today as I recognized the familiar sadness upon the end of something meaningful, I acknowledged it and then turned instead to the feelings of overwhelming gratitude I have for having had the experience at all! I invested my energy in this sense of gratitude. And amazingly, the sadness faded in just a few hours. Not the typical few days.