“Tears are a river that take you somewhere….tears lift your boat off the rocks, off dry ground, carrying it downriver to someplace better.” ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Why have we become so ashamed of crying?
Why have we coiled away from the women and men who courageously open the floodgates to their troubled soul?
That dangerously high level of emotional expression that seems to have petrified most of us from the ability to connect and heal with our sobbing friends.
Men, no longer seen to sink their moistened cheeks into their lover’s bosom. Women, no longer valiantly singing their soul’s cry from the deepest of caves in public eye.
Why has this natural and healthy cleansing of pain been looked upon as a weakness?
For most of my life I’ve struggled with being, what others considered, hypersensitive.
I would cry a lot. Streams of salt water would drip from my chin uncontrollably the moment someone called me names, I wasn’t included, during years of loneliness and emotional torment of living a life that was suffocating me. It seemed to me that my body had an overeagerness to tear up.
How did I feel about my sporadic and frequent crying spells? Completely mortified.
During any one of my tearful moments I would watch as my lover, friend or acquaintance would look around uncomfortably, hoping we were invisible to the outside world, that no one would notice there was a woman going through a mini-breakdown across the table from them.
Then came the damaging words, “Tara, be strong. Come on, stop crying.”
In our calm and orderly modern world, posters and advertisements have unfairly marked this tender passage as “unstable,” “being a pussy.” or even “psychotic.” Might this be a dark ploy to prevent deeper connections with each other? Ourselves? A way to heal?
These feelings of shame that we now often feel as we burst into tears, has created a much greater problem. The attempt to dam the rivers of emotional journeying, that was once seen as so magical, has created a hardening of the soul and a disconnect from one another. And of more especially, ourselves.
In the middle ages men and women alike were written as openly and repetitively weeping in times of dread. Jesus was noted to weep many a time in the Bible. Warriors from the medieval writings of Beowulf cried painfully at the death of their comrades or spiritual dilemmas.
Weeping women were never hidden behind curtains. There were paintings, tapestries and statues all depicting the strength and naturalness of women sobbing their hearts out with great strength and beauty.
Sacred, public, private, ritualistic, internal, embodied and transitional; crying was seen as an open display of what it was to be human. These emotional cavities were not to be hidden, they were portals to understanding our very core.
On a more bio-spiritual level, if we believe that each tear carries with it a vibration of energy that has been stored inside of our souls, isn’t allowing that unwanted energy to stream down our inflamed yet valiant faces a healing by physically emptying out our grief?
Honoring that moment as an actual change in ourselves, rather than quickly wiping it away in shame, is the beginning of our growth.
Okay, so yes, sometimes, oftentimes, most of the time bawling through our transformations is messy. There may be slobbering, snotting, dripping, blubbering, face contorting and spitting. It’s wild and uncontrolled, manic and bizarre. It can sometimes be silly and ridiculous. It’s miraculous and fascinating. It’s all of these spectacular energetic combustions all at once.
Similar to another fascinating and manic combustion called the orgasm.
Crying and orgasms release the same euphoria that follows the rather messy and spasmodic episode. We release what we need to release in order to reach a place of calm and stillness, being emptied and lighter; healthier.
As we move forward, a race of awakened and enlightened beings, the time to reassess this crying shame has come.
How are we reacting to our brothers and sisters brave enough to peel back their sentimental layers, publicly and without filter? Are we recognizing their strength?
We are not stronger because we show no emotion. Nor more of a man because we can squash pain and sensitivity into the pits of our stomachs until we feel nothing. We are not stronger women by hardening what is soft, or running dry the rivers that flow naturally within.
We are stronger when we can water our wounds and nourish our stories without shame.
So let the tears come, and don’t be frugal with them.
Let them soften your cheeks and dazzle your eyes.
Let men and women wear their tears proudly, as they break through another layer into joyfulness.
Author: Tara Minshull
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Flickr/Kris Krug
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