Joy and Sadness are the names of two pivotal characters in Pixar's new stellar film Inside Out. They are emotions personified in the form of animated micro-beings living within a young girl's mind. Along with core memories that create foundations of personality, these emotions help operate her external movements, thereby playing a crucial role in her development.
This movie is deeply touching, and it sent me on a contemplative journey of my own. How have key emotions shaped my personality, and how do they continue to influence my path? Worthy questions. In AYP, we call this self-inquiry. We are inquiring into the inner workings of our self, and by doing so, we can illuminate the darkness.
The answers we come up with in self-inquiry are not necessarily factoids of knowledge, but rather reconciliations and rejuvenations to keep us going in a robust direction, and to make us more whole. Jesus said: "Your faith has made you whole." In the same way, our self-inquiry can make us whole, especially if we do it in a heart-opening manner.
As it turns out, joy and sadness intermingle. Joy does not eradicate sadness. In fact, sadness is equally important and valid in the grand scheme of things. I can recall shining moments in my past where this proved to be the case. For instance, in little league baseball, I played as a pitcher, and what joy there was when throwing from the mound and winning the game as a team! To play a part in winning, and to experience the camaraderie of struggling for excellence—how fulfilling!
Of course, we didn't always win, and that's where sadness came into play. Only with sadness did the picture become whole. From the losing perspective, there are tears and disappointment. It is not a celebration, but a mourning for what has been lost. But as a team, we kept going, not holding resentments against the victors, nor losing hope in our future chance of winning.
Loss is inevitable in life. It's how we cope with the loss that matters. When loss is taken in stride, with stillness as the foundation, there can be a joyful sadness, as paradoxical as it seems. In recovery, we can allow sadness to occur, and let somber emotions slide across the surface of our inner silence, without needing to shove them away, or cling to them. It is the perfect storm. We are the perfect storm.
In the film, the young girl finds solace in her sadness when she opens up her heart and asks for help. What she thought was a detrimental loss turns out to be a fantastic new beginning.
If you have suffered loss, you can ask for help by seeking out the best methods of transformation and transcendence through AYP. If we let sadness play its part, naturally and functionally, our joy will be all the more fuller because of it.
P.S. If it isn't clear enough, I highly recommend the movie. ;-)