I cry often.
I don’t often cry alone. But I do often feel lonely when I cry.
I cry in yoga. That’s my sacred place. It’s my one, two, three or four times a week ritual. It’s the time (and place) in my day where I can trust that I can fall apart if I need to and let whatever emotions are coming up flow without stifling them.
And these tears sometimes come in weeps, sobs, or quiet sorrow. There’s a certain strengthened tenderness and quiet solitude intimately tied into my own personal experience of grief.
In the face of what’s happening in my own world, I’m tender-hearted and I don’t attempt to deny it.
I am no longer afraid of the tears because I spent too many years of my life running hell or high water to push them away.
You gotta feel it.
I’m particularly grateful to have a teacher who holds a space for students to safely honor these emotions with personal integrity. May we all have a place where we can authentically honor what we’re feeling. That’s my hope for a happier world—that we clear our emotions when they’re are out of balance to walk our paths in a more strengthened way.
But sometimes, I don’t want to feel it. I push it away. It might not be convenient at the time, it might not be popular or well-received or I may be in a time or place where I do not feel safe to express myself in that way.
It’s lonely. It’s so damn lonely.
Recently, I was in a weeks-long period of really feeling it, and I mean sobbing every single day I was on my yoga mat. And then, after a matter of a few hours of support and getting clear on why so much crying, I felt back in balance with my strengthened self.
Clearing our intense emotions so we can become stronger and get back into balance is like a muscle—if we don’t use it we lose it.
Several days later, I wasn’t really ok, but I didn’t really want to feel into it. I coped with other things. A friend was in town so we drank and laughed and had a good conversation. On the surface, it was hard to know anything was wrong.
Today I went to a pre-family dinner yoga class not with my regular teacher. It’s a Thanksgiving Day tradition of sorts when I’m actually in town. It’s a save-my-sanity move prior to being with my parents.
“Lean on Me” came on toward the end of class and I started tearing up in a quiet, tender tears running down my cheek kind of way.
With all the pushing away of emotions and the avoidance and the not wanting to feel into being human, hearing this song triggered what it means to be human, and what it means to live in our own authentic truth even when it hurts like hell.
In the spirit of being honest, the reason why hearing this song was a painful truth was that I push people away when I’m struggling. I don’t ask for help or support. I have a fiery independence to just get through the suffering when oftentimes, I’d be better served just asking for some support, some help, someone to lean on.
May we all have that person we can lean on when we’re struggling, even when we don’t really want to show our tears, our emotions, and our imperfections that come with the territory of being human.
Author: Caitlin Oriel
Image: Leandro Puca/Unsplash