A quiet weekend morning and as Nora and I enter the trail the tears take their place in the background as I breathe in the comfort of where I am. They are never gone. They are part of me as fresh and accessible as joy, and yet, something that I still think I should keep hidden. I can share my tears over the phone, in an e-mail, and in my writing as ‘word’, but it’s not often I have a chance to share my tears in public, in person, up close and personal. As I practice learning to follow the tears and the emotions that fuel them, I have discovered that the source is infinite and there is no point in controlling how they flow or worry about what would happen if they did become exposed in public.

No surprise that my attention is fully in the brook this morning. The earth’s tears never stop flowing here. It feels good to frame the flow of water this way; tears as concentration of life-giving fluids in the body that flow no matter what obstacle is in the way.  They flow over and through and in between.


They are part of a healing continuum that flows deep in the belly of the earth and over rough exposed places needing attention.  Armour forms on neglected surfaces that these waters may not reach,

P1120497 And they can find solace in being still for a time.


And tears are the balm of tears. Funny this English language that would have such ambiguous multiple definitions of ‘tear’. There is the tear that rhymes with ear that is the liquidy substance I have been referring to. Then there is tear that rhymes with bear that is the ripping open to create separation of some kind. There are so many more versions depending on context and word type.

From WordNet:   tear

▸ noun: the act of tearing (“He took the manuscript in both hands and gave it a mighty tear”)

▸ noun: a drop of the clear salty saline solution secreted by the lacrimal glands (“His story brought tears to her eyes”)

▸ noun: an occasion for excessive eating or drinking

▸ noun: an opening made forcibly as by pulling apart

▸ verb: move quickly and violently

▸ verb: fill with tears or shed tears (“Her eyes were tearing”)

▸ verb: to separate or be separated by force

▸ verb: separate or cause to separate abruptly (“Tear the paper”)

▸ verb: strip of feathers

It’s easy to start intellectualizing rather than just staying with feeling. Like these stones that are sitting above it all, I recognize the unsettled part of my mind searching for meaning, for justification, for detachment and for acceptance that could look like this,

P1120492 instead of this seemingly random and nonsensical arrangement.


I think the feeling of these tears must have a reason.

Up into the woods now, I begin to consider the other kind of tear that shows up predominantly as severed limbs of trees. Here, it is the world of crevices and openings between things that watery tears can get into and through.   There are the tears in the landscape that result from storm and there are the tears that are more organically formed from years of acceptance. I am fascinated by the separations between earth and limb that are created not by force, but by the gentle growth of structure that can support an opening into the soul of the earth.


Similarly, I imagine the wet kind of tears moving in and out of this tear gently as needed for release or cleansing, and in this, making integration and wholeness possible.  With the promise and strength of truth resonating, the fully formed thought finally comes. “The water of my tears do not go through me, they ARE me.”

As if in affirmation, the sun hits the section of brook in front of me and gives life and purpose to every tear present.


Like most places I arrive to these days, it is not about being in a good place or a bad place, but about being in an awesome place that just is…

1 thought on “tear

  1. The authors I’m reading now note our tendency to label our feelings and allow them or shut them down accordingly. They say that feelings are neutral, it’s the judgment we place on them that tangles us up. Blessings to you for illustrating so beautifully how we can allow them to rest quietly within or flow without….


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