give me
the labors
of everyday,
for that’s what I sing. 

Pablo Neruda

 The conjunction of soul and of sorrow is apt. It takes going through age and experience to fully get the ramifications of what it is to be oneself. We could say that in a stillness arising from accessing the sources within, a shift happens. We are composed of many experiences – the satisfactions and the sacrifices; the aspects that make for inner and outer security and safety; the secrets we keep from ourselves and others. We become self developed from doubt to serenity as the spiral of emotions courses through our being.

Life is a spiral, aging and the process of development, going up and down and side to side. We might feel solemn, serene, secure, stylish, subtle, with or without shape and definition. As we roll with these feelings, we might find ourselves like the serpent coiling and recoiling to the events of our lives. A sudden burst of spirit and being, a stagnation and sleep, a sacrifice and surrender to what is, are all elements of a day.

Soul is spirit and passion, compassion and passionate. We say someone is soulful when we catch their spark. But, they feel soulless in sorrow. The drain. The sadness, the overwhelming lack and the sorrow that goes to the bone. The soul cries and sobs. It is devastates. Sorrow reigns. Why? Why suffer so?

We ask what our soul wants. Do we ever know? Should we? Is the sorrow there to bring us into the depth of our being that we would never otherwise venture into? It is hard, just plain hard work.

Aging is a separation, even a sorrow from what was, how we were. It seemed unchanging before in prior years, and yet change, and we within it, was always occurring. All of life is a movement and a dying, like the sun dies in the evening and comes alive in the morning. This is an intense process that requires all the emotions and feeling of intense involvement. We cannot hide in the shadows, or merely remain an observer or erase the talents and skills we are meant to develop. We arise each day and sow the seeds of our being, all the more doable as we continue to develop consciousness.

The letter S must include the concept of the self, symbolized by the alchemical philosophers’ stone composed of silence, spiral, substance, soil, seeds, suffering, sacred and many more attributes. It is beyond the everyday world yet includes that world. It is the beginning and the end. The self as a concept in Jungian psychology means a spiritual approach to what it is to be a woman, what it means to live to the fullest, how we best express and most fully are known and to know others.

Perhaps surrender, true surrender is a task for this older time of life. Is surrender sorrow? Or, is it connection with soul on a profound level that takes our life into un-presumed directions. It is possible that it is only at this later stage that we begin to ask the questions , the real ones and these include soul and sorrow.

Is sorrow part of your soul’s journey?

46 Comments on S – Soul and Sorrow

  1. Sorrow is a sign of a life well-lived. To experience true sorrow is to have cared about another so deeply (beyond the self) that their absence leaves a void that can’t be filled. Living fully is risking the heartbreak that comes from caring. The sorrow is there to remind us that it was worth it.

  2. The truth of suffering is to find the middle way, to be mindful of cause and effect. Of course I have experienced sorrow – and desire and wanting to always be happy and warm and secure. We teeter on the razors edge.

  3. Hi,
    “Soul is spirt and passion, compassion and passionate.” This mixture can also be found in the hours of sorrow. It is there when we open ourselves to allow it to blossom and our sorrows become lighter.


    • Thank you Patricia. Those hours of sorrow – opening to it can be extremely hard, yet is necessary for full blooming to happen .. how well you put that. ‘It is there when we open ourselves to allow it to blossom and our sorrows become lighter’.

  4. Sorrow is definitely part of my journey. Sometimes there’s a good reason for it; other times, I tend to take on the woes of the world. It’s something I am still learning to live with and work through. For a happy person, sorrow can be hard to take, and yet it happens.

  5. Susan, your posts are so deep, so full of truths, that I feel if I reread them, I’ll find more every time. This struck a chord with me today: “We become self developed from doubt to serenity…”–YES! The link to sorrow is beautiful: “Aging is a separation, even a sorrow from what was.” I believe sorrow is the key to serenity. A life lived in sheltered contentment does not produce serenity. Only by navigating the highs and the lows do we achieve inner balance.

    Fantastic post.
    Guilie @ Life In Dogs

    • Thank you so much Guilie. Those who have not experienced sorrow may not see the link between it and serenity. How well you put that: ‘Only by navigating the highs and the lows do we achieve inner balance’. Each unique navigation brings us closer to ourselves. Thank you again.

  6. Lovely post. I try not to let sorrow affect my soul too much. It has to be dealt with, but it does not have to permanently penetrate the soul. I certainly don’t view ageing as sorrowful. In fact quite the opposite, it’s been very liberating for me.

    • Thank you Judy for your comment. The soul is affected by sorrow and sorrow widens one’s perspective and perception which can indeed be liberating as one ages.

  7. Hi Susan
    I feel that sorrow helps define us. Who we are, where we want to be, and how we view and relate to others. Beautiful post.

  8. I love the multiple ways you consider the letter S in relation to our lives and soul’s journey. Lovely post that made me think, although I don’t associate sorrow with my soul’s journey.

    • Thank you Stephanie. Many of us do not feel deep sorrow on our journey, and that is how it is many times. May it continue thus for you…

  9. The image is so powerful, Susan, as is the post. Sorrow is part of life, and maybe the soul’s journey, but I try to quiet the mind, as you said, and let the healing begin. The aging I’ve experienced so far made me a lot more emotional, for some reason, many times in very good ways.

  10. A beautiful post, Susan, and thought provoking too. I think that sorrow is part of every soul’s journey in it’s balance with happiness. It was comforting to read your words that the soul knows how to heal itself. We can’t always initially see the way forward in times of sorrow, but things do tend to work out in the end. 

  11. A beautifully poetic introspection. So much to contemplate in your words. I find myself trying to stay ahead of the sorrow. I hope to never be captured by longing, regret, or disappointment. Aging doesn’t have to be sad, but for many it can be.

    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  12. I have been fortunate so far in that my life consists, on balance, of a sense of well-being. Yes, sorrow comes with loss of a loved one or news of a tragedy. But it doesn’t pervade my life. Nor do I worry much about my soul, whose existence I doubt. Is there a “Me” beyond my physical body? I wish I knew.

    Thanks for your thoughtful post, Susan.

  13. Amazing words, Susan. Your writing flows so beautifully. I always go to the sea for images to help with the transition from joy to sorrow. Not literally though, I’m landlocked, over a thousand miles from the nearest ocean, but thinking about the waves and tides helps. I try to think about heaven too, the eternal joy we have there. The light at the end of the tunnel.

  14. Sorrow is one of the paths in our journey,and we should stop to honor those who have passed and the causes of our other sorrows that have led to deeper understanding and appreciation of what we have in life. Pause, reflect, and then journey onward.

  15. I think sorrow is what intensifies our soul. We need the light and laughter, but also the darkness to make us well-rounded. The soul helps us to be gentle and caring of others… to connect with nature. It is our heart. Boy, what a thought-provoking post for so early in my morning. Today will be a very interesting day, I can tell. Thank you.

    • Thank you Gwynn, not only with nature and others – ourselves as well. You put it so well being ‘well-rounded’. No doubt there will be jagged edges from time to time …

  16. Susan, I usually don’t feel the sorrow, if I am able to not be attached to what happens so much. I trust it all flows, that what happens that seems sad likely will be the right thing and turn to joy… sometimes harder to do than others. But this sunny Spring Earth day, I have great hope! Beth

  17. Thank you.

    This is a very thought-provoking post, Susan. As much as one would prefer to not have to be subjected to sorrow, it is only through transcending sorrow that one can truly understand happiness; much as one appreciates rain after drought; light after dark and so forth.

  18. Soul and sorrow not the first S that springs to mind when speaking of ageing. In my life the obvious S is non existent, so that is my Sorrow!

  19. Hi Susan – sometimes we need to take time out to be with ‘soul’ .. and we need to take time out when sorrow or shock comes calling … thankfully sometimes we have time to adjust, I feel for many who do not have that time …

    Susan you’ve said a great deal here under your S for Soul and Sorrow and I feel for those suffering too … as to ageing … we’ll all be going that route and if we can learn before it comes to accept gracefully and act accordingly without rancour .. it really helps – I was lucky to have seen three elderly depart having set excellent examples – a lesson to learn from … be prepared for the future (whatever that might be – and certainly that is not easy for many) ….

    A great read .. Hilary

  20. Sorrow is a part of every soul’s journey. Some seem to learn from it, others let it devastate them.

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