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 halfway 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’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 life…as 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 acknowledgment 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.
“Laughing and crying….you know, it’s the same release.”