Here we are today at the full “strawberry moon” – kicking off the eclipse season. It’s been quite a week if I do say. At least for those of us in the United States, there is so much sorrow, so much rage, so much pain. So much needs to change, so much needs to be dismantled, and it’s hard not to be bone-weary discouraged.
Although I don’t believe it’s a cure, I’ve always leaned into Isak Dinesen’s counsel “The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.”
While I’d prefer my healing to come through the sea (or salt water baths); I’ve done my fair share of adding to the tear quotient of the universe.
I think tears come in expected ways – in grief, in moments of pain, in hurt, in shame. But I think of being weepy as having more of an unexpected aspect to it. I get weepy at meanness. It hurts my heart and makes me want to weep. And I get weepy in moments of profound heart-opening, when one’s heart is pierced by overwhelming joy or compassion. Yet however they come, tears really can be cathartic.
I found myself weeping several times as I listened to the audiobook They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera. It’s young adult LGBT fiction. It’s a sweet and sorrowful tale set in current time, although with a twist. There’s now a service, Death Cast, that notifies people by phone when they have less than 24 hours to live. The story is about two teenage boys, strangers when they each receive their call, who hook up via the “Last Friend” app which matches people so they can spend their last hours together.
It’s a poignant tale of two kids coming way too early to their deaths, who have already suffered tremendous loss, and are both in this moment, suffering separation from those they care most about. The story is about how they spend their last hours, courageously buoying one another, finding clarity, and connecting with their friends for celebrations and goodbyes. Clearly not the most cheerful read, but truthfully I’m suggesting it’s a good one. One that provided me with hope even as it left me heart-broken. Seems like a perfect mirror to these times if I’m honest.
in keeping with my practice of awarding a rating based on floriography, the language of flowers, giving a hint at the plot as well as my appraisal, I would offer a bouquet of French Willow (bravery and humanity), Red Tulip (declaration of love), Zinnia (thoughts of absent friends), and Adonis (sorrowful remembrance).
Now here’s a peek at a journal page:
What I really like about this page is that it feels like the work of the tears has done the necessary clearing and I’ve moved on to see things from a different perspective. Which of course is the whole point of clearing. Isn’t it a delightful thought to imagine diamonds are tears of the gods – or better yet, splinters of the stars? While in truth I’ve never really coveted diamonds, I wouldn’t turn down a river’s worth of god’s tears that were quartz Herkimer diamonds. I love Herkimers!
But stepping back Dinesen’s remedy of salt water, I’m also recommending frequent salt baths. Salts are great, especially for detoxing and clearing. Epsom salts which are magnesium sulfate can be very relaxing and help release toxins. Baking soda can relieve itchy or sunburned skin, but can also be used to sooth that frazzled-nerves-on-edge-I-want-to-jump-out-of-my-skin feeling as well. Dead sea salts or Celtic salts or Himalayan pink salts are also wonderful additions. I like to make my own combination of mineral-rich salts and then add essential oils (and sometimes a bit of carrier oil as well.
- Recipe: 3 cups of salt, 15-20 drops of essential oils, and optionally, 1 T of carrier oil such as jojoba which can be bit moisturizing. Mix well and store in a tightly sealed jar, perhaps a beautiful glass container. Add ½ – 1 cup per bath. Give the water a little stir to make sure the salts are dissolved.
And finally, because I don’t actually have access to the ocean right now, I’m spending time watching and listening to videos of it. Here’s a short vimeo trailer of a longer video if you’d like a quick sample.
I do hope you’re finding your way during these times – both as an individual and part of the larger collective. Find and utilize what supports you. We have lots of work ahead of us and we need to be the best selves we can be.
Listening to or watching the ocean would be good therapy. I’m only a couple hours away from the Pacific; perhaps I should do a road trip there and walk on the beach. I’ve been struggling with our many crises and not knowing what to do or how to feel in the midst of everything else going on. It’s hard to process and as a person of action, I feel very helpless.
Wishing you ease and peace Margaret. A road trip to the Pacific sounds very nurturing.
Soaking in the ocean sounds divine right about now. I’m nowhere near one, but a bath at home might do the trick. Thanks for the idea. ‘Tis something positive to do in the face of all the hate and confusion and vitriol.
I never underestimate the power of water to sooth, to cleanse, to help blocked flow, and to stabilize out of control emotions. I’m definitely hitting up the salt water soaks right now.
I am blessed, in this month of respite back in my Hutch, to have views of the wide Firth of the Clyde, an inlet of the ocean. To watch its many moods and hear and smell it is a salve, for sure. I swear, the tides have Irish as a result of all the tears being shed in these times… YAM xx
Ah Yamini, sounds like the perfect balm. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.
Thank you for sharing that video. I’m missing the sea, but have been glad to speak to my parents, who have been sharing a sea view for the last couple of months; my father in particular has been telling me about the ships moored in the bay, and the seagulls.
How lovely you get to stay connected that way Kathleen!
I love the Dinesen quote, Deborah. And, oddly, distopian novels and reads about difficult subjects has felt right for me in recent months. Tonight I watched the movie, Ghost in the Shell again. There is, indeed, a lot of pain. As I often say, I come from a generation where many of us were forged in the crucible of dissent. For the counterculture people of the late 60s, early 70s, there’s nothing new under the sun about what’s happening. Sadly and predictably, folks are stoked into a frenzy about whatever is the maelstrom of the moment until it fizzes out and the next big story comes along. I like your journal page, also. I have a naturally-occurring little stone shaped like a cross that I think is found in southern areas of the country, and is called fairy tears.
Oh I’d forgotten about Ghost in the Shell – I’ll be rewatching it again for sure. It’s certainly interesting trying to navigate and find balance between immersing ourselves in the deep, the dark, the hard, and yet finding those places that nourish and nurture so we aren’t irreparably lost,
I know the fairy tears you’re talking about. I had one as a child, and I’m pretty sure I got it in Virginia. While I don’t still have that one, in it’s naturally shaped cross configuration, I do now have a lovely pendant of Chiastolite, which as a cross-section shows the cross. I’d forgotten it’s association with the faeries, and now think of it more as a reminder of crossroads and thresholds and perhaps an invitation for Hecate’s counsel.
Hi Deborah – thank you for this … written in your inimitable style … with the flowers, as well as tears … I am lucky to live by the sea now and can walk along it easily enough. I would like to read Adam Silvera’s book … I’ve noted it. We each need to adapt in our own way to the devastations that are occurring all around the world and do what we can – stay safe and thanks for your thoughts here – Hilary
It gives me comfort and delight Hilary knowing you’re by the sea and enjoy it so.
Stay safe and well.
My heart has been breaking watching what’s happening in the US at the moment, but I am so encouraged to see some many young people getting out there and standing up for what they believe. My thoughts are with you all to stay safe, but I know that this is a world wide issue and one that must be addressed. I’ve been reading more and more black authors in recent times to learn more (I don’t think I could cope with the Adam Silvera book 🙂 Too much sorrow) .
I love your journal page and as always, love your words. I am so lucky to live by the sea and watching the different tides is a constant solace.
Sending you and your countrymen and women lots of love, Fil xx
Thank you for holding us in your heart and thoughts Fil. And yes, yes, yes, to the young people forging new ways – may their voices be heard and their dedication prove fruitful. So much needs to change and evolve, and yet I have great hope for all of us.