I woke this morning to the gentle patter patter of rain falling on our tile roof. I love that sound. It felt so gentle and nurturing and I lay their imaging how the soil was drinking and soaking it in after such a dry spell, how the plants were enjoying the moisture so that they could grow and other day, and I heard the birds frolicking joyfully in the trees.
It was like Mother Nature was shedding tears of joy for the world and bringing life, thousands of single tears that accumulate in ponds which flow into rivers, then lakes, then oceans.
So life supporting.
Sometimes, like this morning, the rain is gentle and nurturing. Other times it seems thunderous and angry in great swirling storms creating powerful torrents of water that sweep across the countryside. Then the storm recedes as quickly as it came.
Other times the rain just falls, for days, consistently and unrelentingly like the earth herself is heaving a great release and doesn’t stop until she is done. That release fills parched streams, dams and rivers - filling the cup of life.
In all of these moments of teardrops of rain Mother Nature is just doing what she needs to do when she needs to do it. Restoring the equilibrium and balancing the big picture.
It occurred to me that human tears are the same.
We shed tears of joy, love and happiness. We shed tears in short angry storms, in releasing grief and anxiety, in empathy for others. Our tears flow deeply from the rivers of our souls in joy, sadness and anger …. All expressions of what we need and are feeling at the time to bring equilibrium back into our lives.
And just like Mother Nature …. afterwards, when the tears have stopped, everything is greener, fresher, fuller and more vibrant.
The trouble is that Western society has taught us to hold back our tears and emotions. We have been trained to think that to shed a tear is a sign of “weakness”, that to show how we are feeling is in appropriate and unacceptable and something to be ashamed of.
How many times in your young life were you told “stop crying”, “I’ll give you something to cry about!”, “Suck it up”?. There was absolutely no recognition from others of how you were feeling or what you needed at the time and to make matters worse you took on board an untruth that to cry must be bad and something to be ashamed of. Instead you held back, swallowed your tears and pushed down into the depths of your small bodies all of the emotion that would have been easily released in a teary moment and an acknowledgement from others that you were feeling sad, angry or hurt. As you grew into adults you have been so conditioned that this is the only way to do it and at some point accepted this as true for ourselves.
As adults you put pressure on yourself every day thinking that you have to be seen to be the strong one in your family and at work. You hold your breath, swallow hard and keep your emotions in check and then smile (grimace) triumphantly as you do when you have to sit on your travel suitcase to close it after you have tried to fit too much in there.
What happens when you hold back emotions for too long?
The trouble with held in emotion is that is doesn’t go away. A life time of holding back and holding in is hard work! It takes so much energy to hold back in the first place and so much more to keep it there for long periods of time. You become tired, stressed, overwhelmed and at worst in physical pain, poor health or even illness.
There comes a time when the internal pressure becomes so great that everything comes pouring out at once like the clothes that spring forth messily and with force from the bulging suitcase after the clips have snapped from the strain. It may only take a small, seemingly unrelated thing that does it … like the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. You are now in crisis mode. Your whole emotional body is out of equilibrium with the rest of you.
The great news is that is doesn’t have to be this way. There alternatives to always feeling overwhelmed, loaded up with the responsibility of having to be everything for everyone else, full up to pussy’s bow with the stress of life.
Accept that showing emotions doesn’t mean you (or others) are weak
It’s okay to cry when you need to. This may range from a good weep over the death of a friend or loved one to just having tears well up in your eyes because you are genuinely sad, cranky or moved by some experience. If you feel you can’t do this in certain company that’s okay too. Just make the time soon after to sit quietly with yourself and allow yourself to truly feel what it is that you are feeling. It might be sadness, anger, stress, being anxious. Acknowledge how you are feeling and accept that it is the right thing for you right now. It’s part of being human just like the feelings that go with joy, peace, and calm.
In the movie Courage under Fire, Meg Ryan as Captain Karen Emma Walden there is a scene where she is being criticised for displaying a short burst of teary emotion when faced with a highly volatile and critical decision to make under heavy enemy fire. “Oh great! The Captains crying” said one of her team … “It’s just tension … it doesn’t mean s..t!”, she yells back. Captain Walden was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honour for holding back the enemy so that her team could escape in a helicopter after being shot accidentally by one of her own men. Was she weak in that moment, or gathering her courage in her own way to face what was to come?
Be genuine with yourself and others
How many times have you been surprised by a friend who always came across as strong and unaffected by life trials and tribulations, only to find out they have been bottling things up and are really not okay?
Being genuine about how you feel at the time is an important part of honouring your own journey and builds trust with others allowing others to be clear about how they can relate to you as well. I once worked for a person who was delivering the team a message about the “state of the nation” and during the message he was clearly getting emotional as tears briefly welled in his eyes. For me it was in that moment that my respect for him grew and my commitment to the team was enhanced … I really appreciated him being genuine.
What about in your family life?
Are you genuine with your partner and your children in the way you share your emotions?
Imagine if you could have a conversation with your teenage daughter saying that you acknowledge that she feels frustrated and angry right now and then giving her a hug and allow her to release her tears around that.
Imagine being able to say to your partner that you are overwhelmed and stressed at work and just need some understanding around this right now…. and maybe have a little cry as you hug each other.
Do you think that would give you the strength to go on?
Do you think that would bring you closer together as a family?
A magic moment maybe?
Develop your emotional intelligence
When most people hear the word “emotional” they immediately imagine a person crying, screaming and generally out of control. Breaking down uncontrollably at work is not what I mean. It's about having emotions without getting emotional.
Having emotional intelligence is the difference between being able to say “Right now I am cranky!” as opposed to angrily throwing a plate across the kitchen or storming out of a meeting slamming the door behind them in anger.
It’s being able to say “I have just lost my partner and I am full of grief and sadness” allowing others to see and respect your sadness as opposed to bawling uncontrollably because you have tried to bottle it up.
The key to emotional intelligence is learning about you and what makes you tick internally. You are invited to take sessions in Breathwork, self-awareness, or learn mindfulness and meditation techniques. Find something that resonates with you. Understanding how to face your own personal emotions, how and why your react in certain ways to certain experiences is the secret to being able to keep the suitcase light and easy to carry through life.
So next time you hear the rain falling on your roof spare a moment to reflect on how genuine you are being with your emotions. Let the tears flow and the magic grow.
Breathwork is a breathing technique called conscious connected breathing (CCB). It is one of the most powerful, self-generated, transformational tools we have to access our own essence and potential. Conscious connected breathing brings awareness into your breath by consciously connecting the inhale and the exhale and creating a breath cycle that by passes the body-brain system to unlock and release stored energy at the body’s cellular level.
Breathwork seeks to bring about a deeper connection and understanding of your Self, to bring about being fully aware, fully alive and freedom from the emotions, fears and self-sabotaging patterns that have been limiting you up to now.
Continual conscious connected breathing over a Breathwork session energises the body and may bring old memories, feelings and physical tension into awareness. This provides an opportunity to release the unwanted energy and clear unresolved issues, limiting beliefs and past events in our lives that are standing in the way of us reaching our potential.
Each of us has an incredible ability, through Breathwork, to unlock a powerful self-healing process for personal transformation. Breathwork sessions provide an opportunity to activate the natural healing process we all have.
Breathwork sessions can be done privately or in a group. To find a Breathwork Practitioner that will work with you in a safe and supported environment in your area go to Find a Practitioner
My passions are nature, people, and building cultures of cooperation, harmony, sharing and reverence for life. I enjoy working with people to help them understand themselves and others so they can reach their full potential in life.