When was the last time you cried? Oh I’m sorry if I bring you back to a bad place with this question (presuming they weren’t happy tears). Hopefully they were.
Maybe you cried watching the news (because there are far too many things to cry over in this world). Perhaps your tears sprung out of universal humanity for the suffering we feel helpless to change, or out of empathy for a friend or colleague. Maybe you sobbed in sympathy for a family member. Perhaps it was your own direct experience of sorrow or physical pain that brought on tears of frustration, desperation, grief. I’m sorry – I hope you’re not welling up again now.
Or maybe you need to.
How many times do you reckon an average toddler cries per day? My 5-year-old still turns on the waterworks –that ‘delightful’ blend of whining and tears – several times a day, or so it seems. I can’t remember how frequent it was during his toddler years but I reckon more so. After all toddlers have had plenty of practice as babies – crying on average 1.5 hours per day as newborns, before escalating to 3 hours (aghh) a day at 6 weeks, then averaging 1-2 hours a day at 6 months (according to Babycareadvice.com).
I can’t find photographic evidence of the tears over the years (who takes pics of their child crying?) But you believe me don’t you?
The thing I find amazing is his ability to turn tears on and off like a tap – just how quickly they literally spring to his eyes, and how fast the dam can literally burst. And then the flood of release, and all is right, well until next time. (I’m particularly amazed at how he can be crying one minute and offering a cheeky compromise the next, as if the crocodile tears have done all the negotiating for him – no chance, see you later alligator).
So while I can see the tactical (manipulative) nature of tears sprung from a sensitive (self-serving) 5 year old, I can still see the benefits in letting it all out.
But we don’t, or not often enough – not even sentimental sops like me. Sure I might well up in a sad movie (being over-sensitive is a little endearing isn’t it?), but I hold my true sorrow at the back of my heart with the best of the stoic/emotionally repressed, unshed tears trapped behind stiff shoulder-blades, my rib-cage locked like a clamp around my broken heart lest I get hurt again.
So I write my way to releasing and sometimes a few sad drops fall. They’d stain the page I was writing on only here I am, tapping away at a computer. It’s not the same.
I do yoga and heart-opening meditations (read about cracking open the heart chakra), I listen to sad songs and watch soppy movies becomes sometimes they do set me off, and I try to feel deeply in the present.
I tell myself – you may tell yourself – that scar tissue has no feeling, but that doesn’t stop heartache hanging out behind our hearts. (Respiratory issues like pneumonia are a result of fluid on the lungs – literally unshed tears surrounding the soul).
That tightness in your shoulders may be from too much sitting at a desk, but think also about the past pain you’ve locked away for safe-keeping rather than facing – a burden on your back, a hunch at the shoulders, a pinch at the chest. Why do we think we can experience true joy without the balance of real pain (loss comes with the gift of gain)?
There’s such a thing as laughing yoga – if you haven’t heard about it watch this video – it’s hilarious of course.
And then there’s yin yoga, which could well be crying yoga. Something happened a couple of Sundays ago, in an emotional (magical) two-hour yin yoga class – the final one for our teacher training.
Something happened and I can’t explain it, but I felt it as being wracked with sobs and I understand now what it is to crack open the heart. A breakthrough – when I work out what door the break leads me through I’ll let you know.
Meantime, pass the tissues. And I’ll pass them back. Go on – have a ‘good’ cry.
You’re welcome. Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT.