“Live to the point of tears.”
It was 8 o’clock in the evening, I should have been upstairs finishing the dishes or helping my husband with showering all the kids in preparation for bedtime. Instead, I was downstairs crying on the heap of fresh laundry I had just laid out on the couch, and thinking all sorts of confused and depressive thoughts.
I’ve never been ashamed of crying though. I’ve been called sensitive, overly empathetic, emotional, but I prefer to say I’m human.
Compassion, humility, wisdom, and authenticity only come through tears. They are the rain we need to stay vibrant and alive in the inevitable and often prolonged wilderness of life.
Like the earth after a heavy rainstorm, our inner, often parched soul, receives much needed attention from our physical tears. Body and soul are colliding, connecting, and collaborating for our good. Although messy, it is a necessary part of becoming a whole and healthy human being.
The next time you sense tears coming on, please don’t stop them. Instead be their advocate.
Here are a few ways to welcome them and cry well. (is that even a thing?!)
- Normalize crying. It’s okay. You’re okay. It does not mean you are going crazy or you are trying to manipulate anyone. It means you are fully engaged and participating in your reality. Life never lets up, does it? Without permission, it pummels us to the ground regularly, dare I say, daily.
- Grab the tissues. Dab the mascara, blow your nose, wipe your cheeks, and most importantly just let it flow as much as you need without interruption.
- Cry in the light. Here’s what I mean. Unload the burdens, feel the pain, press into the aches, but don’t let the darkness take you out. Wherever you find yourself with your tears, be it in the shower, laundry room, on a walk, in your bedroom closet, or kitchen floor remember you are not alone. Flip on a lamp, crack a curtain, light a candle- let hope in even if it’s only a flicker. You might feel bedraggled and beat up, but all of heaven is with you. Tears don’t need to scare us, they are sacred.
- Allow the realities of life to flood you. Welcome the fears and doubts, troubling thoughts and spiraling negativity. What you are sensing and experiencing is real. Tears signal you are stopping to consider the harshness of life, you are coming face-to-face with suffering, and entering it fully. This is a gift not many of us are willing or ready to receive. (See number five)
- Remember, tears are a gift. They are not silly or a sign of immaturity, quite the opposite actually. Tears mean you are fully alive and moving toward wholeness. Welcome your watery eyes with thanks.
The river running down your face is evidence of the Divine winding through your soul, carving a path for beauty to grow.
- Make grief a part of your normal life. Learn to love lament and hold it with joy. Grieving over the death of a friend or a family member is culturally acceptable, but so too is grieving over the thousand unnoticed and unannounced funerals that we face each day as we participate in the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.
- Take care of yourself. After the tears have subsided, be sure to make a cup of something hot and comforting, reach for the quiet wisdom of a beautiful book or poem, or find rest in the soothing ritual of a long, hot shower.
Cheers to tears, my friends, this is part of doing life well.
This October Series (where I’m endeavoring to write every day this month) is about giving myself permission to make a mess. I’m letting the words mix and bleed together with freedom. And more importantly, I’m asking you to join me. I’m attempting to put scattered ideas into feeble words, I’m telling unedited stories, I’m taking us on an intimate journey. You can read the first post here.