I thought they would stop quite simply. I opened my eyes, packed away my yoga mat and proceeded to breakfast. But the tears continued to fall. The beautiful embrace of my fellow students and yoga teacher made me feel grateful for the environment I was in. This was a safe and sacred place to explore my feelings but I needed to take myself off to be alone.
This grief burst started as a trickle of love touching my heart at the end of a 2-hour yoga practice. I felt connected and loving towards myself in a way I had not experienced before. I spent the last 2 years learning about grief and gaining self-knowledge. I had an intellectual understanding about my emotional life. During this practice of yoga, connecting physically, something integrated, an energy began to move inside of me and the tears began to fall.
GRIEF BURST. A POEM.
I shrivel into a foetal position wishing I could be comforted like a baby, there are times in our lives when we physically resume to the child, when we are sick, when we are elderly and when we are grieving.
It is not words that I want in these moments, it is actions.
The embrace, the shoulder to cry on, the box of tissues bought to me, the glass of water placed by my side, my hair stroked, my lips kissed, the smile that tells me I am loved, I am seen, I am okay.
I wimper and cry like a toddler in distress, my breath changes from fast to slow, sometimes hyperventilating trying to catch my breath. It turns to screams and carnal sounds as I dive into pillows to disguise the noise.
My jaw tightens, my face contorts to explore all the unpleasant dramatic expressions that I would prefer to do behind closed doors.
It exhausts me, every part of me.
This deep well of pain that I do so well to contain.
Thoughts of stopping myself pierce my mind.
My thoughts scanned the earliest stages of my life.
Why bother taking life so seriously?
Where do I go when I die?
Stop! I need to get on! I have a schedule to attend to, I don’t have time for this shit!
Countless tissues surround me filled with snot.
Will it ever stop? Will it ever stop?
I feel not.
Deep breaths, tears popping, rolling down my cheeks, 1, 2, 3, 4 hitting the floor.
The roar of grief needs to be released,
If I don’t allow it out, it will creep up on me in a darker way.
I placate myself, it is okay, it is okay.
Let myself feel, let myself heal.
Now that I know tears like this,
The tears that I can’t turn off however hard I try,
I will let myself rest
Until every last drop is squeezed out
My breath is steady
And I feel gratitude for my cry.
When I was younger and overwhelmed with emotions I had no idea what was happening to me. I would blame everything else in my life for these feelings. I did not understand that I had not yet confronted or felt the sadness of the most profound losses in my life. I felt a lot of shame about being sad. I felt misunderstood because I couldn’t find anyone that knew how to nurture me in my times of emotional struggle. I think there is so much pressure to ‘be happy’ that we don’t honour the necessary process of feeling the sadness. And it can be difficult to honour the sadness of others.
If you relate to this, I encourage you to feel your feelings and create a nurturing environment to feel your negative emotions. It is so easy to pick up a distraction – the food, the drink, the cigarette, the internet, the schedule, the busyness. But every time we cut off from our feelings, we are cutting off a piece of ourselves. Emotional releases are not a sign of weakness, but of strength to explore every part of ourselves, the good and the bad, the comfortable and the uncomfortable, the fun and the not fun.
Life presents us with a continual series of losses: the loss of a job, a relationship, a pet, etc. Any change is an opportunity to conjure up feelings of grief that need to be explored and felt.
It’s not about making things better; it’s just about feeling the feelings. Because if you don’t they can start to manifest as physical or mental ailments. You may then have something visible or visceral to deal with. Largely these will be by-products of the feelings we have not attended to.
Someone said to me, ‘you are always laughing and smiling, you are always happy.’ I thought, wow, if you could have seen me yesterday. I couldn’t help but wonder how my habitual giggle and my ability to make light of so much had impacted her.
I have never wanted to burden others with the depth of my pain, much preferring to laugh and smile. I do shine bright in moments, but that is not all of me. That does not represent my full emotional range.
We all have it. We all have our light and our shadow that makes us who we are. The layers and depth of our soul are what makes us curious and interesting. You never know what battles people are trying to fight day in day out. So, let the sadness fall out of you. Let the uncontrollable moments be out of control. Show your depth so others can witness you. We can become closer with ourselves and with others as we share what’s really there.
I loving memory of our Dad, Peter John Nash xxx