I’ll be honest. I cry a lot. I always have. Sure, I’ve been labeled as “overly emotional”, but as I get older I have begun to truly appreciate this part of me. Life can be crazy–and that is not necessarily a bad thing. When you really think about it–life is truly a ride–an emotional roller coaster and at times it can feel like we forgot to buckle in. I like to use the roller coaster comparison because when you are riding a roller coaster you have two options. You can clench up, freak out and try to control the ride or you can let go, surrender and trust the experience. Whether you choose option A or option B–the ride is the same but your experience will be very, very different. With that being said–let’s talk about crying. Many of us have been taught that crying is shameful. That is it a sign of weakness. To say I disagree is an understatement. Crying, for me, is like a superhero power–it allows me the ability to let go. Think about it–have you ever felt worse after a good cry?
The thing is–most people DO feel better after a good cry. Yet we rarely let ourselves go there. It’s been studied– Crying can be a powerful stress reducer as well as a mood enhancer. For me, crying is a great way to release stuck energy. You know, that pit in your stomach or knot in your throat. And, crying isn’t just about the sad moments. Fro me, crying is a result of being overwhelmed with emotions and they can be happy or sad or anywhere in between. I like to think of crying as a form of active meditation. We meditate to quiet our minds and sometimes the best way to achieve quiet is to let go of the tornado of emotions pent up inside.
Why am I writing about this today? Well, it just so happens I cried a bunch this weekend. Okay–it was not a total tear fest– but I did well up on a few occasions and I heard that voice in my head saying
OMG–why are you going to cry right now? What is wrong with you?”Fortunately, I was able to over-rule that critical voice in my head (a skill I have been working on for a long time). I allowed myself to cry and it felt so good.
I am sure you are wondering if something terrible happened? Rest assured. It was quite the opposite. I had the opportunity to work in San Diego this weekend and I was fortunate enough to sneak in some much needed “me time”. I made time for some yoga–on a paddle board in Mission Bay. AMAZING! The beauty of moment, the sun, the water, my breath and my practice–well, it was a perfect storm of awesome and as my emotions began to bubble over–I cried tears of gratitude. I cried again, later that day, as I sat on the beach in meditation. Sheesh. There is something about the ocean that slays me every. single. time.
Then, I called home (via FaceTime) to chat with my son, Hudson. I find it to be so difficult to travel as I miss him so much my heart hurts. His smile–his face–each time he said “I Love You” and “I Miss You”– my heart was ready to burst and I missed him so much –I had to let some of it go. I cried. I felt better.
Then, last night, when I got home we watched the movie, “Inside Out”. It was my first time seeing the movie (hello–it is intense).
Sidenote: Hudson is a very emotional kid. He feels it all and that is one of my favorite qualities that he possesses.
Back to the movie. There was this moment when the imaginary friend sacrificed himself to save the day. Hudson was snuggled in my lap and well–we both cried. This was a really special moment because I wanted him to know that it was okay to cry. I also wanted him to know that he did not need to worry about the fact that I was crying too. We cried together because we needed to release those emotions.It doesn’t mean we are weak. It is not shameful. It is real. We have to strive to be real instead of perfect which is not even definable.
Crying isn’t always about sadness–it is about letting go. Crying is also a way to embrace and recognize our emotions without shame or judgement–instead we just greet them and surrender to them.
And on the roller coaster of life, unbuckle your seat belt and throw your arms in the air. Scream if you want. Cry if you feel it. Allowing yourself to surrender just may be the most powerful thing you can do.
Hands in the air…tears streaming down my cheeks…
In awe of life.
Photo Credit: Story People by Brian Andreas