Sometimes when I allow the suffering around me to fully enter my awareness, I just want to cry, and I’ve finally learned to say “that’s okay”. More people are homeless and hungry, children are cooped up, mothers and fathers are faced with parenting challenges they never dreamed of, those in abusive environments lack protection, so many people old and young are dying unnaturally and unexpectedly and without the comfort of family and friends. If you are human at all and you open your heart, how can you not feel the need to mourn for yourself and others.
Compassion means literally “to suffer with”, and it’s important to not bury our compassion in our effort to stay strong and positive. Please don’t misunderstand! I don’t propose that we let ourselves fall into despair or into the habit of “ain’t-it-awfulling”, addictively watching disaster information or constantly commiserating with others. On the contrary! More than ever, we want to use all the tools at our disposal to stay hopeful and healthy, and that includes acknowledging ALL of our feelings. It takes a lot of energy to keep ignoring uncomfortable feelings, even more so when they are outside of our conscious awareness. It’s like mountain climbing with a hidden and unnecessary hundred pound weight inside you. When you give yourself permission to have a good cry, the tears will honour all those who are suffering and wash away your own sadness. You will feel lighter and find all the energy you need to continue on the high road with a right mind and an open heart.
Tips for a good cry: 1) compartmentalize by setting a time and place to cry; 2) play music that will help evoke the repressed feelings of sadness, anger, despair and go with it and stamp, dance, and sing it out; 3) get into a hot bath with lavender oil, and with music turned high if others around; 4) take a drive to a remote road or park where nobody will see or here you, scream and cry “your heart out” in the safe privacy of the vehicle, and afterwards benefit from the balm of surrounding nature; nature around you.
Let’s not be afraid of our feelings and let’s allow for the full range of emotions to be felt and appropriately expressed. If these seem like “desperate measures”, you might say that they are called for in these “desperate times”. Stay aware, stay awake. You are a hero!!!