November brings with it cooler weather, leaves of gold and the feeling of thanks in the air. It’s the perfect time to begin a practice of gratitude. You Know Neen is hosting the 2nd Annual 30 Days of Gratitude blog series, a place where the experience of gratitude will be explored and shared. I, along with several other contributors will be sharing our thoughts on all things gratitude.
Written By: Dianne Banta
I think Dolly Parton said it best in the movie Steel Magnolias: “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.” Mine too. When I was asked to submit a post for #30DaysofGratitude, so many things came to mind. I’m grateful for my health, my family, music, my dog, chocolate chip cookies, Christmas carols and flannel sheets, to name a few.
After some reflection, what came to mind most though, is how I react when I’m thankful – or happy or sad or really, whenever I feel deeply. I cry. All sorts of crying too. I tear up, I sniffle, I weep, I hiccup. I full on ‘can’t breathe’ cry. As I’ve gotten older, I think it’s gotten worse.
My father was a crier. As most men of their generation, he was a pretty stoic person. He was fairly serious and doled out the ‘I love yous’ enough, yet sparingly. But every once in a while as a little girl, I would spy a tear or two when he was with us. As he got older the tears came more frequently, and frankly it gave me permission to become a crier myself.
I knew I would marry my husband when he lovingly remarked on my father’s propensity for tears and found him to be more endearing for it. On my wedding day, the father and bride walking down the aisle was definitely NOT a thing of beauty.
I think with most things in life, wild swings to the right and left have to happen before a happy medium is achieved. Such had to happen with my crying.
As I raised my children, there were periods of crying that were extreme. Some were understandable: I cried when they entered the hospital, were bullied, had a tough time at school or were unhappy.
Other times extreme tears came at the milestones of my kid’s lives: a first spoken I love you, Christmas mornings and so many others. Over time, equilibrium was achieved and my crying took on a more predictable pattern.
And then I became a yoga teacher. The crying is back in full force. In yoga, we are taught to lean into our circumstances and our emotions. Often, we feel something – good or bad and we recoil as if we have touched a hot flame. Before we can move beyond our circumstance or our belief we must face it head on.
And so it happens that when we feel an emotion, we must face it. I tell my students to lean into that emotion. And that’s what I do too. I usually end up crying. It is my body and mind’s way of letting me know I am feeling something and processing it. And better yet, it tells me I am here, in the now, in this moment. As many of you yogis know, this is where we want to be.
When things are good or bad, tears easily spring forth and help me navigate the circumstances. Usually this crying crystallizes the moment and etches it into my brain as a poignant memory.
I hope you can try it. If you feel a good cry coming on, let it out! Feel whatever emotion and move through it to the other side. Be fully present in that moment, whatever it is.
I am so grateful I have allowed myself the GIFT of being a crier. I don’t even apologize for it anymore. Just last month, I taught a private yoga class to an adorable woman and her sister on her wedding day and they ended up handing ME the tissues. I was so moved by their love for each other, I went home and told my daughter all about it. Her response: “Well, you made me a crier too mom. I cry at everything, because of YOU.”
Perfect moment. Of course, I cried.
Dianne Banta is a yoga instructor at Forever Om Yoga in Lake Forest. She lives with her husband, three children and her dog. She loves to cry.
Have you started your 30 Days of Gratitude? Let us know about it in the comments below.
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