Soldier ComfortingWith the recent events in Japan, the collective emotional energy is one of fear, grief, and anger.  Since we are all connected, at some level all of us are feeling it.  Depending on your comfort level with expressing emotion, you could be doing lots of crying these days.

Tears are a cleansing agent.  Emotional energy that is felt and expressed is the natural way to move this wave of information out of our bodies.  Many human beings do not allow themselves to express emotional energy; this is because that would require us to allow the feelings to be.

In 1990, I met an older man named Dan.  He seemed very kind and peaceful to me; one day he shared that he had suffered a loss of some kind and was feeling grief.  My evolution at the time was to “look at the bright side”, an escape mechanism for me.  Looking at the bright side meant I didn’t have to look at the painful things in my life.  I prompted him to do something along these lines; his response was thoughtful.  He looked at me with a sad smile and said, “I am choosing to be with it.”

This stopped me in my tracks; I was in the midst of developing my cognitive understanding of emotions, a mental process of naming and identifying.  He was living with his emotions, being with them, not trying to stay above them or make them go away.  He apparently felt that emotion is to be felt.  Here was living, breathing proof that emotional pain could be in the same body as bliss, peace, caring, love, compassion.  Pain had a place, too.

This made such an impression on me.  And here I am, 21 years later, sharing this story.

The larger body of humanity has some emotion to express, and it would be sane of us to do that.  Each of us, as a member of this system, would benefit the system by taking responsibility for our feelings and expressing them through and out of our bodies.

It’s not rocket science; our bodies are designed to feel, and to express those feelings, whatever they may be, and do it to completion.  When we bottle up those feelings, we can make ourselves sick; we can also eventually train ourselves not to feel anymore.  This is the greater danger, because when we don’t allow ourselves to feel, we can think, say and do horrible things to ourselves.  We can also do horrible things to each other.

The grief that we are feeling must be expressed; unexpressed emotion builds up in the body and starts to break down our physical resilience and health.  It benefits the whole of our collective human system to feel pain, rather than hide from it.  Pain is frequently information about something that is not life affirming; this is information that we need in order to make different choices. If we dismiss pain, it is less clear to us what needs changing or addressing.  We are meant to learn from pain.

I am feeling grief these days, too…for the planet, for my human family, for my sons who are inheriting this world.  And I’m noticing that personal grief that I had not allowed myself to be with is tagging along as the tears flow out of my body.  This feels kind to do.