When I see someone cry, I can feel my heart open. Empathy immediately comes in human to human when we witness someone’s tears. A tension is created where our emotions get moved as the observer. Most of us feel touched deeply when we see tears.
I cry often and when I feel like it. Living on an island with sea all around, if I am feeling low then I head straight to a quiet beach and have a good cry into the ocean. It feels the best release with a loud sobbing session to go alongside. It feels such a release when the emotion literally moves through the body to a new place. I know I will feel differently after crying – there is a sense of feeling inner emotions on the move. Facing emotion is something that is so good to learn and avoid just heading for numbing the painful feelings with friends, alcohol, drugs or food to distract.
Yesterday, I had a neighbour at my house who was sad, felt that life was dealing a tough hand and couldn’t see the wood for the trees. I sat with her and watched her cry and sob. Held her and listened. The tears came streaming through with breathing that was anxious and fast. That moment of sharing her sadness together and witnessing her tears was a big healing for her and for me. She said she felt at that moment that it would never get better. As it got later in the evening, she went back to her home to sleep and rest. I let her sit with her troubles for a day or so at home to experience and have the emotions move through and regroup. The day after that I messaged her – she told me things felt so much better and she was feeling lighter and to just have someone there to watch and be there without changing anything made a big difference. Witnessing other people’s pain helps them a great deal to be seen and felt and loved. An activity involving little action, yet so powerful. And pain moves. Emotions move. They never stay the same.
The fantastic Rose-Lynn Fisher did a creative study of 100 kinds of tears. She photographed tears through an optical microscope at a time when she was going through tough waters. Would tears of grief look different under a microscope than tears of happiness?
In the water that springs from our eye ducts as tears there are different blends of chemicals, proteins, minerals, hormones and enzymes. In the photographs of Rose-Lynn, tears appear like lunar landscapes and area maps that look so different they feel other-worldly. Take a look.
Tears are a release. How amazing they have such different structures for all the different emotions. Our body is incredible and a constant source of amazing potential.