Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Midwife to Tears

As a therapist, you know it's been a good week of productive therapy when you've gone through an entire box of Kleenex in your office. This is not to say that tears alone produce healing or progress, but I know that tears sometimes will break down barriers. I have many clients that all began treatment with me around March of this year and all of them are reaching a similar place in treatment right now-- hitting the core. It's been emotionally draining for me to help them contain the heaviness of what we are reaching. It never fails to amaze me, though, watching the human spirit heal itself. I am in awe each time it happens, kind of like the miracle of watching a child being born. It's really beautiful to watch someone travail in pain, produce a nugget of truth, work through it, and emerge someone whole. I love my job!

I wonder-- what is it about tears? I have seen some people whose tears seem to be meaningless. They cry over most anything, all the time, to no benefit. The tears have come to mean nothing and produce nothing. It's like they are stuck in grief and crying. That's a very sad place to be. More often, however, particularly with children, I find those people who refuse to cry. I can't tell you the number of people I have met in therapy who tell me crying is for wussies, both girls and boys alike. It's unfortunate that somewhere in their lives they have been given this message. It really requires great strength to let yourself cry. You have to have the confidence of knowing you can contain yourself within the grief. Crying is a release and, thus, a trusting that as you let this part of yourself go, there will still be a self standing once the tears stop. For most of us who have this innate understanding of tears, that they come and they go, we are able to allow them to work for us as needed. Imagine what it's like for those who never get that release and how terrifying it must be to believe you cannot cry for fear of losing yourself.

This week I've had the wonderful opportunity to play midwife to the tears of children. It's been such an honor to sit by them and coach the tears that have been welling for years. We have sat together in the quiet while tears crowned and spilled. I am so proud of these little people who finally felt brave enough to let that part of themselves go. They have learned crying is not weak. From a place of true strength, they have allowed the tears to do their own work. No one has been lost this week, but with the help of a box of Kleenex, lots of people were found. :-)

Photo above found at:

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Escape

Wade in the water, children,
beneath the twinkling drinking gourd move
like fire your feet through the lapping freedom.
Don't stop till sweet Ohio grass
brushes your ankles, wade, wade,
God's gonna trouble the waters.

You'll see Mr. Johnson's girl standing
in white, free as the children of
the Israelite
, let your steps thrush
the ground
their energy quiet and swift
the same energy of the sun
pounding your back the day before
while splintered fingers dig
for cotton seed.

There is one chance
for the angels to stir the pool
fall deep into its healing
the very soul of God
freeing first the spirit now
the body. Be sure
you get your chance this year
Wade in the water, children,
wade wade.

by Melissa Greene

photo above found at:§ion=&q=African+American+slavery#/d23lh0h

A Week Later

A week later, I said to a friend: I don't
think I could ever write about it.
Maybe in a year I could write something.
There is something in me maybe someday
to be written; now it is folded, and folded,
and folded, like a note in school. And in my dream
someone was playing jacks, and in the air there was a
huge, thrown, tilted jack
on fire. And when I woke up, I found myself
counting the days since I had last seen
my husband-only two years, and some weeks,
and hours. We had signed the papers and come down to the
ground floor of the Chrysler Building,
the intact beauty of its lobby around us
like a king's tomb, on the ceiling the little
painted plane, in the mural, flying. And it
entered my strictured heart, this morning,
slightly, shyly as if warily,
untamed, a greater sense of the sweetness
and plenty of his ongoing life,
unknown to me, unseen by me,
unheard, untouched-but known, seen,
heard, touched. And it came to me,
for moments at a time, moment after moment,
to be glad for him that he is with the one
he feels was meant for him. And I thought of my
mother, minutes from her death, eighty-five
years from her birth, the almost warbler
bones of her shoulder under my hand, the
eggshell skull, as she lay in some peace
in the clean sheets, and I could tell her the best
of my poor, partial love, I could sing her
out with it, I saw the luck
and luxury of that hour.

by Sharon Olds

photo above found at: hearts&order=9&offset=0#/d127m5q