Whether it's an event you are attending, or a project you've undertaken crap happens. No matter how positive you are (most of us are not Eckhardt Tolle or Byron Katie) your best laid plans can go awry at any time. How you deal with the stress of it is what's important. And each of us deals in a different way.
Males and females tend to cope with stressful situations differently. But both experience the stress nonetheless.
Generally speaking, males tend to be more outward. They get angry. Likely, at least in part, because we still teach boys that it's not okay to cry. And though I'm not male, growing up I was taught that crying was weakness, even when there was plenty of reason to bawl my eyes out. So crying isn't usually my first response.
Of course, my upbringing didn't prevent me from crying at all. It enhanced the experience! When you live in a no-crying zone, it often takes the experience into the shadows, where it is somewhat safer. At least it did with me.
The human body cries out (pardon the pun) for release. The pressure builds and builds. And if one doesn't allow the release of the dam, the consequences are often more painful and strike in every aspect of our lives.
When stuff goes unexpectedly wrong, I get upset. Just like most people. Especially when I've worked really hard on a project that either has not come together the way I intended or if the expected results are short lived. And then, depending what else is going on in my life, I sometimes move from being upset to being angry.
I never get angry enough to hurt someone. But I do get angry enough to toss a garden hose more firmly to the ground than need be. Or plunk down a bucket or jug with more fervour than required. Even with meditation, yoga and regular exercise, I'm still not immune to these short-lived flashes of anger. Though I'm working on it.
Eventually the emotions overtake me. Which of course is fueled by the story I tell myself in the moment. All this work and now I have so much more work to fix the fix before I can fix the original problem!
This is a pattern with me. I take on projects around the house that require fixing or maintenance. I do all the necessary prep work. I then apply whatever product I'm using for the fix. Only to find that somewhere along the piece, I'm having to redo redo redo. This "pattern" will be a topic for another post, because today I want to share something I learned over the weekend about tears. Yes, tears. Especially since tears were a part of my weekend garage floor project. Another day's post.
Technology has now made it possible to see what we could never before see. I've never before seen what tears look like under a microscope. Until Saturday.
In what is sure to be considered ground-breaking work, micro-photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher shows us that tears of stress look very different than tears of laughter or tears of change or grief.
In her work, The Topography of Tears, I would say that the photo that struck me the most was what tears from onions produced. If I could use only two words to describe these kitchen-based tears it would be "cedar art".
Tears of release resembled geography. Though part of it looked as though it was a picture of the lines of squares and rectangles of farmland taken from a plane. In fact, many of the extraordinary photos had me thinking that what I was looking at were satellite images and skyscapes. Check them out at the link in the paragraph above. They really are quite remarkable.
Fisher's work reminded me of Japanese author and entrepreneur Dr Masaru Emoto. He was the first to capture the extraordinary effect emotions have on water. Dr Emoto microscopically photographed the molecular changes in the crystal formations of water after it was exposed to anger, hate, love, prayer, etc.
Dr Emoto's book The Hidden Messages in Water drove the point home with me that our emotions, our consciousness, our very intentions affect the water around us. Considering that our bodies are made up of about 60% water, it is not at all surprising that our tears would also be affected by our emotions.
How does knowing this help us?
We can no longer live our lives oblivious to how our actions and reactions affect what is around us and within us. Even the stuff we don't see.
Everything we say and do, every emotion we feel and the way we process and express that emotion has an impact on the world in which we live. Both within us and without.
Even "without" is a bit of a misnomer because we are connected to everything. To each other. To everything that surrounds us.
Process what grips you. Don't allow it to fester. And it will fester if you try to suppress it. Don't judge. Just allow the flow of whatever you're feeling.
Bring on the tears! Create the art that your tears bring. We are here in part to experience our emotions. So experience them. And when you do, they will no longer grip you. They will release so that you can move onto the next experience. With or without tears.