Monday, July 16, 2012

I Woke Up Crying

There were tears in my eyes this morning, and a vague feeling of something off kilter; a feeling of being hurt and upset yet I could not remember an accompanying dream to account for this occurrence. The tears were just there when I woke up, my pillow a little wet, and I felt a momentary sensation of sadness. Has this ever happened to you? 

Overall, I am easily moved to tears. It all starts in the heart, moves up to the throat, and then spills out of the eyes. 

I cry when women and children suffer injustices and are abused, not only in my neighborhood, but half way around the world.

I cried when a young woman in our town was abducted from her job at a coffee stand and later found dead in a local lake. She was so young and innocent and the world was rolling in at her feet and she didn't deserve to die...but who, really, deserves to die? 

I cried when my old neighborhood friend was killed in an auto accident, even though I hadn't seen her for decades.  She was endearing and funny and we used to climb trees and play baseball and race each other up and down the block on roller skates.   

I've cried buckets over personal failings: when I've hurt someone with unkind words, or they have hurt me with a stinging betrayal. 

A good long session of crying takes away the pain; it breaks you down, opens up a hardened heart, gentles your senses, and washes away internal pressures that inevitably build up in living day to day and making mistakes along the way. 

Another time I remember waking up crying is when my first boyfriend broke up our relationship in favor of another girl's attention. That day and the weeks that followed, I cried me a long, winding and very deep river. 

Then, as time passed, I built a bridge over that river and walked across to the other side. 
Yes, love hurts and eventually the tears of sadness do dry up.

Jane Teresa Anderson, a dream therapist who studies and writes about the unconscious mind, suggests that when you wake up crying for no apparent reason, it may be due to a past grievance you were unable to express. Maybe you accepted a hurtful situation as normal or something to be endured. Maybe you never truly grieved the loss of someone in your life, not necessarily a death, but a breach of friendship or divorce; or maybe you are experiencing a longing never fully acknowledged and it comes to the surface through your tears. 

How many times have you laughed so hard, you cried? If you can't weep with your whole heart, how can you laugh with abandon?

I don't have the answers, but I like how an old sage described crying. He said that crying is the highest of devotional songs. One who knows crying, knows true spiritual practice. If you can cry with a pure heart, nothing else compares to such a prayer. 

That is how I prefer to view the boatload of tears in my a prayer. A prayer announcing to the universe that I am alive, that I feel my fellow man's pain as well as his joys...

...that I will mop up the floor when I'm done, put on a new pair of shoes and dance in  acknowledgement of all the grand emotions that waltz into our lives, unbidden.

Tearful moments, a letting go of the flood-gates is profoundly healing. 
As is laughter.

Joni Mitchell  in her song, People's Parties, says it best: 

"Laughing and know, it's the same release."


  1. "There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief . . . and unspeakable love." -- Washington Irving.

  2. So true, Monica. I'm a rather teary person myself, and often feel my dreams when I wake in the corners of my body. I love that last quote: we gotta get it out, don't we?

    1. Feel my the corners of my body. Lovely!

  3. Oh I loved this post Monica. I'm a crier too. I sometimes feel like the tears are just letting out some of the toxins accumulated via hurts and other times feel they are just joy overflowing. A helpul event either way!

  4. Agreed. Crying is not so much a breaking down as an opening up.

  5. wonderful, monica. tears as emotional songs. i am a rather leaky faucet—i cry happy and sad tears, as do many members of my family. we're quite the chorus!

    1. I suppoose some of the best songs ever written started with the blues, as well as gospel music...aching hearts

  6. This has happened to me a few times, but only since I am no longer young, as in old. I could never remember a dream that would have triggered it, and I did not go to bed sad. Yet I would awaken crying softly and feeling melancholy. The feeling would disappear rather quickly. I think it may be because of "left behind youth" and being on this new path. Or maybe because I finally "get it" and recognize at a deep subconscious level the suffering of the world. It is comforting to know others have experienced this. Thanks for sharing and the beautiful picture that went with it, capturing it.