Sadness – Its Beauty, Poetry and Relevance to Business

I’ve recently realised sadness is an emotion I find difficult to contact. Also that sadness has it’s own beauty, poetry and that sadness is relavent to business.
I dont’t find it hard to be sad because I’ve nothing to be sad about but because I’ve bought into the story that sadness is a “negative” emotion, got good at cheering myself up to get on with things and have armoured myself against the losses in my own life in the process. This now strikes me as limiting as I want to live life to the fullest and that means looking in the sad dark corners too. I also want to be able to relate to others in distress and am aware that this isn’t possible without being in touch with my own sadness. So, an hour of music ballads later here’s a poem about sadness. If you’re scared of feeling blue or emotion in general you may want to give it a miss, pop a Prozac and get back to work.


The face of beauty hides under a veil
– not the woman of magazines and excitement
but a quiet lady who kisses your forehead while you sleep;
– not the beauty of fireworks and drunken revelry
but and wizened man in Spain, quietly holding his best friend’s hand.

What we can’t stand to look at
creeps up on us at night
and blinds us in the day,
to the suffering of others.
The pain I deny
waits like a wolf
to sink it’s yellow teeth
into the mango of my life.
It demands I visit it over and over
until the pain is as obvious
as a corpse in the market square.
And our sadness sings our love
bolder than blossom and poetry
announcing what we truly care about.
Our sadness whispers tenderness
like a bee kissing an orchid goodnight.
Rachel we didn’t know you would leap into the dark,
– I cried for three days and nights, as the rain came down, on the other side of the world
and I still can’t go over that bridge back home.
Jason you did what you felt you had to
and left us behind asking why
– a smaller family, that doesn’t dance to every song anymore.
Sally – at 16 I loved you like Spring loves the cherry trees
and each time I think of you now, with your Neruda and gorgeous baby Ella
I wish you well and my heart is crushed, like crystal quail eggs in a car wreck.

Even if I’ve learnt from these things
And it formed the man behind the tears
I’m still sad when I taste the salt on it’s kiss.
I’m still sad that my parents lost the love they had
I’m still sad I saw a nameless man bleed to death, while policemen smoked and joked over him.
I’m still sad I walked over children in rags on my way to breakfast.
I’m still sad I held my mother tight as spinal tap number XXX went in, and she shook in fear
I’m still sad that there were windows in São Paulo, broken with a loved one’s head,
and that there are windows boarded up in me today.

This is the other side of beauty:
Good things happen to bad people
my tears and snot and cursing wont change that.
And the tears and snot and cursing honour it all.
That lady at night I mentioned earlier
is kissing you goodbye
as she leaves you for another.
That old Spanish man
has traded his grandchildren for cancer
lying still in the church.
If you live long enough
everyone you love will leave you with your sadness
and that’s the price of admission
to life and to happiness.
Sadness and Business

This blog aims to bring together worlds that are normally kept apart. How then does sadness apply to business today? I see the training world infected with the false smiles of “positive thinking.” I contend that his denial of the other side of life can get organisations in trouble. What part did over-optimism play in the current crisis? Can we question constant economic growth as an imperative – or are the downs OK as well as the ups? In the present climate many businesses, and perhaps more importantly many of their customers, are feeling sadness, loss, even despair. Do we have the courage to take time to listen to the messages within this and come out wiser? Can we keep connected to our humanity while laying people off or losing clients we need to take care of our families? Or are we just going to paint a smile on our faces and push through regardless?

So What: Sadness is good, personally and professionally


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