I'm writing this having recently returned from a week away; I say this with enormous gratitude as the current economic climate has made it incredibly difficult to for some to even consider taking time off, let alone flying to sunnier climbs and let's not forget the dimming shadow of Covid, and we are swiftly reminded of a time when we couldn't even leave our homes, let alone contemplate a holiday.

However, in my sadness at being home, I am grateful for the paradox - my sadness can only exist because there was also joy; one can not live in isolation from the other.  It can be a different way to think about some of our more challenging feelings, but it can be helpful to recognise that the presence of sadness, despair, anguish, grief, anger (and any others you want to chuck onto the bonfire) can only make themselves known in the face of opposition.

For example, can we really feel loss if we've never have had the pleasures of the presence which no longer exists?  Can we experience anger if we've never passionately cared enough to evoke such a powerful response? 

Of course, nobody wants to feel these feelings, in fact as humans, we will do pretty much anything to avoid them; numbing behaviours, escapism..... sex, drugs, alcohol, shopping, gambling, exercise, excessive scrolling, busy, busy, busy all to ward off feeling anything other than happy, at all times. But a permanent state of happiness is an unrealistic expectation as well as denying us the complete, wholehearted experience of what it is to be human

So, I am left thinking about the challenge of sitting with the difficult feelings, of how these can become beacons of hope that light the way back to the "easier" feelings; how knowing that we can only experience one if we have felt the other and finally, that in experiencing the darkness we know that we have also experienced the light; that it lives within us and we are already well equipped to locate and activate it when we need to.