Magical and spontaneous was how my tears felt yesterday during a Sangha (a spiritual gathering). I had no idea there was any sadness built up in me as we began the discussion, yet the theme of the day was “May all animals be happy and surrounded by love”. When it was my turn to share I started telling everyone about my precious mare, Dee, who is aging and not well. Dee has been my animal soul companion for many years. As I began to share about my horse with this loving group the tears just came. You know the kind I mean, they start in the corner of your eye and just when you think no one has noticed, they escape down your face.
At the end of the gathering my horse and I were put virtually into the center of the healing circle. Prayers were offered up that we might both be at peace with whatever is to come. Of course sitting in such unconditional love made the tears flow even more. Now the nose was dripping!
As Charles Dickens says in Great Expectations “We need never be ashamed of our tears.” Instead of feeling uncomfortable and ashamed about crying, as our society has led us to believe we should, I took a hard look at what happened so unexpectedly. I found some interesting research on how crying reduces stress and enhances your health. Neuroscientist Dr. William H. Frey II, PhD, at Ramsey Medical Center in Minneapolis studied tears and crying for 15 years. Through his research he found that our tears contain stress hormones that are released from the body through crying. Great news, don’t you think? It is actually healthy to cry! If our tears are left bottled up they can lead to stress related disorders.
As I sat in that sacred circle, with kindred spirits, my tears were releasing stress hormones and having a healthy effect on my body. Imagine if I had held them in? So let the magic of healing begin with a tear. Don’t suppress what needs to erupt. “There you go…let it all slide out. Unhappiness can’t stick in a person’s soul when it’s slick with tears.” Shannon Hale, Princess Academy
Learn more about crying, “For over twenty years as physician, I’ve witnessed, time and again, the healing power of tears.” Excerpt from Judith Orloff’s wonderful article The Health Benefits of Tears. Judith is one of my favorite authors. I am sure you will enjoy all of her work.