"More than happiness love wants growth, a widening and deepening of awareness...whatever prevents (that may cause) pain... love does not shrink from pain." Jack Kornfield
Yesterday, counting out important pills the doctor had instructed me was necessary for my health, I discovered a two week shortage. I called the pharmacist in N.S. feeling they could be mailed or sent by FedEx. Yet I was not sure. So in my happy, seemingly no problem life (in the moment, at least) I started to tell her my dilemma. Emotion blocked my voice. She asked, "Are you crying?" When I could speak I told her yes but I had no idea why, other than I felt helpless. Then feeling embarrassed, I apologized. What I did know was the tears had nothing to do with pills or the pharmacist. I had experienced unreasonable stress.
Growing up in my generation I learned tears were shameful and revealed one as weak and a mess. One thing, it was hard on the self-value to be a mess and they seemed only to get me in more trouble. Besides, anyone that cried very long, past a few minutes, would be "cracking up". So for the next numerous decades hardly a tear pass my eyelid.
Then I attended Elizabeth's Kubler-Ross's** workshop on "Death and Dying". The first few minutes she told us to look at the back wall -- Kleenex boxes were from floor to ceiling. She informed us those boxes will be gone when the week is over. My response was, "What is she talking about? And what have I got myself into?" One young woman who had four small children recently learned she only had a few months to live. I had four small children! However, the majority of the seventy participants were not dying but they had their pain -- childhood and adult wounds. These long buried hurts surfaced. Men and women cried. I thought, "Humpty Dumpty is falling off the wall and how is she going to put these people back together."
A surprising thing happened. Tears helped them identify their sources of pain, stress, fear and other emotions. By the end of the week, the Kleenex boxes were gone. The healing that happened was truly "other worldly." And no one was more shocked than myself. I had learned tears and healing are partners. They are flags, sign-post to places in us that are not free and need some loving tenderness. Rather than "fall apart" I now knew the paradox. Tears heal. We aren't a mess (just feel like it). I won't "crack up" and if I want to cry for a week I will. One of my daughters when younger was crying for some, now forgotten reason. Her brothers had teased her. I watched. Instead of backing down, she advanced stating, "I'll cry if I want because I am crying strong."
An age old belief had been shattered. Tears are our friends. They point the way to inner growth-work, healing and freedom. Growing and learning do not stop but just begin when we leave grade school. Life offers everyone the opportunity and choice to expand our often cramped, wonderful selves, inviting one to clean out darken corners which hunger for light and healing.
Back to the present -- the pills. What to do? I know from experience to follow the emotion. What did I feel? Nothing much at first except helplessness. I continued the pursuit. Hmm, definitely self-pity -- a much maligned virtue and healing treasure. Does not this hurting need our own compassion and understanding in order to heal? I called someone who was following her own trail of crumbs through a dark wood. We talked. She asked some questions. Describing the situation and hitting some sore spots, the old wound got identified and cleaned. I hung up with more understanding but did I have a greater freedom?
How many Tucson pharmacists will I have to ask the "pill-question" to before I can do it without stress? I ventured forth and wobbled on the first try. By the third, I had the freedom I sought. An ancient friend of mine once told me, "The opportunity to do our personal pain-work leads to the most honored human state, consciousness of Presence."
* Image source: Vyozovskaya - fotolia.com
** referred to in a former writing