Have you ever felt like you just wanted to climb up in your mother’s or grandmother’s lap and cry. To cry, to be held until there are no more tears left?
I’ll never forget the first time I met Isabel, a lovely, petite, 20ish Hispanic woman with beautiful long black hair. Our first meeting was at the psychiatric hospital where she was an inpatient . She was admitted to the hospital because her emotions appeared to be “out of control.” I don’t remember the exact diagnosis. I suspect it was hysteria.
Her husband, of only one year, was killed in an alcohol-related car crash. The feelings of shock and grief, coupled with abandonment, fear, and self-doubt were overwhelming to this young woman. These emotions were not only too much for her, but her family and friends could not handle seeing her this way. So she was hospitalized and sedated. That was the norm at the time for dealing with these kinds of issues. Put her to sleep so when she came out of her sedated stupor, she could wake up and then have the experience of all those unattended feelings. UGH!
Somehow, she survived the hospital experience and was discharged. I saw her as an outpatient several times. In the last session, she said she felt stronger and asked if she could come back close to the first anniversary of her husband’s death.
A year later, when she entered my office, her skin had a gray cast to it like a shroud. I started the session as I usually did. But it became apparent talking was not what she needed.
She needed someone outside of her circle of family and friends: someone neutral. Someone not emotionally attached through a familial cord. She knew or at least had an idea of what she needed.
The session proceeded in a way that was, for sure, outside of the box. I found myself asking her if she would be ok sitting on my lap. She did, and she began to cry. She wept from the depths of her soul. She cried, and I rocked her and held her for 45 minutes. No words were spoken. The only sound was her sobbing and the subtle squeak of the chair rocking.
She was a beautiful example of bravery, how courageous of her, how wise. She knew what she needed even though it was out of the ordinary.
How many times in your life have there been “no words” to give credence to how you felt, just raw emotions. Perhaps in those times, you would have liked to be left alone to scream, maybe stare blindly at nothing for hours, or cry your eyes out. These kinds of behavior go against societal norms. And then you have those well-meaning people in your life who aren’t comfortable seeing you so upset. They see you in pain and want to fix it or worse, want you to get “over it.”
We all have times when we are experiencing so much emotion roiling around inside of us. Roiling is an interesting word. When I looked it up, I realized why that particular word came into mind. It means “to make turbid (cloudy) by stirring up the sediment of the dregs.”
Consider what happens when someone dies. There’s naturally sadness and grief. Those emotions stir up more than just the immediate pain of the loss. Intense thoughts and feelings reach down into the depths of our souls and stir up the dormant emotions, the unfinished business that we have packed away — the dregs.
While attending a workshop years ago, as I was processing God only knows what, the woman working with me looked into my tear-filled eyes and said, “Tears water the garden of o ur s ouls.” I’ve never forgotten that experience. From that moment on, I realized that my tears could honor my emotional processes and glean the threads of wisdom they carry. Scary at first, but courage has a way of setting in and supporting our intentions.
Isabel knew that on some level. She found the space she needed to take this next step in her healing. She knew her “Soul Garden” needed watering so she could heal and move on with her life. She knew also, that it was OK and safe to fully express her emotions.
Life throws all kinds of situations that “roil” our innards to the point that things become so cloudy that we can’t see our way out. It’s during these times that our Warrior Goddess comes to our rescue. It’s that inner wisdom within us that we draw from to take a stand. It’s an energy that can carry us forward from an awakened place where conscious choices are made in how we respond.
Take a deep breath, and connect with this vital energy. Connect with that courage within you, as Isabel did. What is your inner wisdom telling you?