Where are the Tears?

12 thoughts to ease your fears about letting teardrops fall.

I never expected a diagnosis of Cancer. I was completely blindsided. That day in February – the day before valentine’s day, Dr. O called. “Is your husband at home with you?”

That could mean only one thing. “Colon cancer.” A simply stated fact, delivered like a package by the UPS Guy.

I accepted the package. After all, it’s not like there was a choice.

But what was strange, was the calm I felt. No wailing sadness. No stifling grief. No blazing anger or crippling fear.

“How come I’m not freaking out?” My psychologist smiled in response to my question. She was not the least disturbed by my calmness and lack of tears.

“I’m okay,” I told my friends and relatives . . . and I meant it.

My brain must have automatically translated Dr. O’s words into stark, clinical facts.

I thought that in the days to come, reality would kick in, that fear and grief and sadness would come, and with them the tears that everyone around me (including myself) seemed to be expecting.

My rational mind was telling me I should cry – it is good to cry. But I kept asking, why should I cry? What on earth should cry about?

Maybe I should cry because I don’t like having cancer with all its concomitant symptoms and complications.

Maybe I should cry to assure myself that I really have acknowledged this latest defect in my body.

Maybe I should cry so that I can adequately grieve my loss.

At the mirror, on the face staring back at me there is no sign of the missing tears, only the calmness you feel when you know the Almighty’s got your back.

I’ve never thought of myself as emotionally repressed – quite the opposite, so I’ve now  given myself permission to cry. Let’s see what happens.

Here are 12 thoughts I think would ease fears about letting the teardrops fall.

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Big Girls (and Boys) Don’t Cry: But You Should

It’s good to cry sometimes. 5 benefits of tears you probably never knew about.

You ever heard of a “Crying Club?” A place where you go to cry. They exist. No fooling. I saw it on the internet.

Now if you’re thinking about someplace like the ‘cry room’ at church or the theatre downtown (those sound-proof, viewing rooms where desperately embarrassed parents hustle off with bawling babies), think again.

These clubs are for adults and not only for high-strung, overly emotional women, or liberated men who’ve proudly tapped into their ‘feminine side’.

Crying Clubs cater to everyone, including businessmen.

Apparently, crying clubs have been around in Japan for years – rui-katsu they’re called, which literally means “tear seeking.” Even some hotels like The Mitsui Garden Yotsuya Hotel has designated rooms just for crying.

In Britain, the first crying club – referred to as a Misery Club, opened back in 2007 – “Loss.” That place was a hit! It said so on the internet.

So what’s all the crying about?

The official word now is that it is okay to cry – no not just okay, it is important that you cry . . . sometimes.

“A good cry or two can naturally heal us both physiologically and psychologically.”

Lizette Borelli: Medical Daily

What a relief ’cause I have to admit, I was one of the crying-est little girls ever! When my brother teased, I cried; forced to sit at the table until I finish a meal (eating was never one of my favorite activities), I cried; mommy insist that I “open my mouth and say hello” to a not particularly friendly-looking neighbor, I cried. Heck, I even cried when I thought about crying! And don’t you dare tell me “don’t cry” that just made it worse.

I’d like to tell you that I grew out of it but in all honesty, I can’t. Not quite. You just probably won’t catch me at it. After all, everyone knows that crying is just an embarrassing display of emotions that shows how weak you are, how immature you are, and leaves you with puffy red eyes, a runny nose and a bruised ego.

Wrong! Wrong! And wrong!

There are scientifically supported health benefits to crying.

The Japanese are such strong believers in the health benefits of crying that they’ve taken that wisdom to the next level. Some cities in Japan now have ‘crying clubs’ calles rui-katsu, where people come together to indulge in good old-fashioned sobfests.

Serusha Govender: Web MD

 

A few minor technicalities before I go any further.

There are 3 types of tears.

Basal tears – that every man, woman and child produce every minute of every day (and night) to keep their eyes wet.

Reflex tears – the chopping-onions / allergy-season / something-in-your-eye kind.

Psychic tears – the face-stinging / heart-breaking kind; emotional or stress related out-pours. Nothing to do with mind-reading or divination.

5 Health Benefits of Tears

1. Keep your eyes healthy

Tears keep your eyeballs from drying out and getting so red and gritty (dry eye) that it irritates the living daylights out of you and you have to bolt to the nearest pharmacy to grab one of those tiny expensive bottles of moisturizing eye drops to do the job that your tears should do in the first place; lubricate and wash away dust and debris.

2. Kill bacteria

Tears contain a chemical called lysozyme – but don’t worry about the scientific term. What is important is that it can kill 90 to 95 percent of all bacteria in just five to 10 minutes. I wonder, does that have anything to do with the reason why characters in fairy tales can be magically healed by single tear drop?

“Tears also travel to the nose through the tear duct to keep the nose moist and bacteria free.” 

Medical Daily.

3 & 4. Reduce pain & improve mood
If only teddy could cry.

“Why are you crying? It doesn’t make anything better!”

Yes it does.

When you feel pain (whether physical or emotional), crying signals your body to send in your personal EMS – endorphins, the natural pain killer and “feel-good” hormones.”

Crying probably won’t fix the situation but it may reduce your pain and help you feel better. Research suggest that crying is as good or even better than most anti-depressants (people with mood or anxiety disorders not included).

So if you should stub your toe on the table leg so hard it makes you cry, don’t fret about the tear drops. Your body would simply be trying to help you out.

5. Reduce stress

This particular super-power is unique to emotional crying; psychogenic lachrymation just had to use that term. It sounds so scientific that it totally wipes the embarrassment out of bawling like a baby during a sad movie.

But back to the point.

Crying actually reduces stress even if the original problem doesn’t get solved. I saw I this on the internet too.

“Tears are your body’s release valve for stress, sadness, grief, anxiety, and frustration.” 

Dr. Judith Orloff: Psychology Today

Here’s what happens.

When you’re all emotional or stressed out (and feel like jumping off the nearest bridge – as my Sis would put it), your body produces certain chemicals. These chemicals trigger the production of cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone. Too much cortisol can cause serious health problems (like heart disease and high blood pressure).

Emotional tears act like a stress hormone regulator and actually flushes those toxic chemicals out of your body. Cool huh?

So next time you find the world is getting on your last nerve, consider abandoning that “stiff upper-lip” British mentality and let the tears flow.

 

“When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a way that when you die the world cries and you rejoice.”
Native American Proverb
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Living in 3D: A Beginner’s Guide

3 simple practices that could add depth to your life.

I was smiling because the sun was shining on my toes . . . and it felt so good! That’s the truth. There was nothing else to smile about – not that I can remember – only the bright sunlight and the warmth on my toes sticking out from under the blankets.

Maybe I should start at the beginning of the story.

So I was in the critical care unit at the hospital – one of those fish-bowl like cubicles with the curtain partially drawn. Just thirty minutes earlier, Nurse Terrie had piled on a third blanket because my toes were so cold. (Actually, my toes are always cold but I didn’t bother her with that confession. I was just glad for the temporary warmth of another blanket.) Continue reading “Living in 3D: A Beginner’s Guide”

Be Your Valentine

Does your name top your valentine list? Should it? Learning to love yourself.

Valentine’s Day wasn’t going to sneak up on me again this year. I was determined.

So a couple weeks ago I started making my “list” –  names of all the people I really love. My intention (get this), was to send each person on my list a personal note, handwritten of course, in my most elaborate script; penned with my one-of-a-kind handcrafted glass quill, on rolled parchment paper (specially ordered).

But wait! There’s more! I would stamp each note with an appropriately colored rose – red, pink, white or yellow.

Sounds so romantic doesn’t it? Real fairy-tale stuff. Well that was my intention – until I found myself broadsided.

Continue reading “Be Your Valentine”

Pink Blanket

Wrap yourself in warm, healing thoughts.

I bet you’re wondering why there’d been no new posts since November 2016. Well, the truth is, I went home for the holidays . . . to my homeland Barbados. You know, The Great “There’s-no-place-like-home-for-the-holidays” Migration.

GAIA
I went home for the holidays: Grantley Adams International Airport, Barbados

Okay, that’s not be the complete truth – even though I think it would have been a darn good excuse. But it wasn’t the tedious preparations for the trip that distracted me. Continue reading “Pink Blanket”

More Happily Ever After

Habits for your Happy-Ever-After: Part 2

When it comes to living happily ever after, there’s good news and there’s not-so-good news. The good news – happily ever after is possible – at least that’s what I believe.

The not-so-good news – we’ve got to put in some effort; there’s no yellow brick road guaranteed to lead us there and Emerald City does not hold the answers.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road???
Follow The Yellow Brick Road?

Dorothy, the cowardly lion and the rest of them already tried – treking all the way to Emerald City only to find that Oz, the Great and Powerful didn’t have what they thought they needed to be happy. They had it all along!

It’s the same with us. Continue reading “More Happily Ever After”

Happily Ever After

Habits for your Happy-Ever-After: Part 1

So the Princess married her Prince Charming and they lived happily ever after. . . as the fairy tales go. But what does THAT mean? Is it even possible in real life? And if it is, what would our happy-ever-after look like?

It’s pretty tough to explain what happiness is. Have you ever tried? Efforts date back to Aristotle and Plato centuries ago.

So here’s where I think we should make sure we’re on the same page. And maybe a negative definition would be helpful.

Happiness does not mean ‘feeling good’ Continue reading “Happily Ever After”

Let The Sun Shine In

If you think only plants need sunlight to flourish, think again.
Research now shows that sunlight is vital to our health.

 5 Good Reasons for being in the Sunshine

shadow-leavesI love the sunshine. I love the way it draws patterns on the ground when it pokes through the leaves of the trees; the way it lights the marigolds in my garden and makes them glow like burnished gold; the way it paints silver linings on white pillowy clouds towering in the sky; the way it Continue reading “Let The Sun Shine In”