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Feeling All the Feels– A Subjective Analysis of Why We (I) Cry

The science of crying is fascinating, and there is a lot of research behind the mechanics of our tears. We cry to protect our eyeballz as well as to regulate an overwhelmed nervous system.  The kind of crying I want to talk about here is not so much the I’m-cutting-onions cry or the I’ve-got-a-piece-of-lint-in-my-eye cry but rather, the I’m-so-overwhelmed-with-emotion-I-need-to-ugly-cry cry.

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It’s a well known fact amongst those who know me that I unabashedly let my salty tears flow. I wear them proudly, my mascara bleeding down my face, my face red and blotchy, my eyes puffy and swollen. What isn’t so well known, however, are the reasons behind these tears…

…so let me flush out a few of my fave tear jerkers: 

The I’m-so-grateful cry:  An overwhelming sense of gratitude for a person, place or thing will get this type of tear flowing for me. Nothing feels quite as good as the I’m-so-grateful cry because it signals to my brain how much abundance I have generated. This direct link between gratitude and abundance is most advantageous for those who wish to manifest even more things to be grateful for into their lives. By focusing on your abundance you align your energy to attract more of the same.

The I’m-so-grateful cry is a fantastic indicator that you are on the fast track to a vastly abundant life. Simply put,  you are hard-wired this way, and this physical response is your body working hard for your success, so you don’t have to. Let these tears runneth over, cuz you’re #blessed.

The standing-on-top-of-a-mountain-one-with-nature cry: Another cry I am a big fan of. This cry comes from the overwhelming feeling that goes something along the lines of “Woah, I feel humbled by the magnitude and beauty of creation. How am I, in the grand scheme of it all, so small and insignificant and yet so uniquely a part of this?!”This mind blowing feeling and the consequential tear drops can be induced by a double rainbow (what does it mean?!) or the constellations in the night sky or standing beside the ocean or being high on a mountain top.

The reason I am a fan of these tears is their intuitive understanding that we are one with everything around us. They are a homecoming of sorts, a reminder. They signify to us the bigger picture and allow relief from our everyday woes and squabbles.

The empathy cry: This cry is an interesting one, and I’m not actually sure how common it is. Personally, I tend to cry when I am in the presence of others shedding their own tears. I conjure these tears as I do the passing of a yawn. If someone is opening up to me with their tears, there is a 99% chance that I will shed a few of my own, even if their pain has not triggered me in any way (that I am aware of in that moment).

I consider this cry one of my super powers. I don’t know why it happens to me, but I know it is directly linked to my life’s purpose–to help others help themselves. This kind of cry notifies others that they can trust me and be open with me. I will not judge their tears and I will provide a very safe space for them to find some catharsis.

Like all super powers, though, it is important to use them for good. Sharing a tear in empathy can be very helpful in helping people heal, however, crying too much can further trigger their stress and cause things to spiral out of hand. If you also have this super power, remember to check yourself before you wreck yourself (and another), aiight?

The broken-heart cry: For obvious reasons, I think it’s safe to say that I have a love/hate relationship with this cry. It’s the ugliest of ugly cries, and yet, in a twisted way, it feels so good.

Clearly the bruising of one’s ego from being dumped is different than, say, grieving the loss of a loved one. However, these reasons for a heartfelt sob can be lumped under the same category for scientific reasons, which I will attempt to explain (plagiarize) via multiple sketchy internet sources.

Some scientists believe that having a “good cry” can release toxins and waste products from your system, which is why we generally feel physically and emotionally better when we wring out your stress and/or grief in a good sob sesh.This kind of cry is very cathartic and supports our health and well-being, so I am a major proponent! Get it out of your body so that it doesn’t manifest into something more severe down the line.

The nostalgia cry (aka the transition cry aka the growth cry): Last but not least is the nostalgia cry. For me, this is generally linked with the gratitude cry, though it can also stand alone in its own bittersweet melancholy. The nostalgia cry is temporal and beckons fond memories that have or will soon come to pass.

This might be my most common cry as I am a being in constant motion. I cry during transitions because they are a time of great reflection for me. It is not so much the fear of the unknown or moving away from people who are dear to me–this is merely at the surface level. Deep down I know that the unknown thrills me to my core and I that I will forever be connected to those who matter most to me.

The reason I personally cry tears of nostalgia is because they are indicators of my amazing successes. They are my growth tears. The tears I invoke when my psyche wants me to recognize how far I have come, how much I’ve conquered. They are my own way of recognizing of my hard work–my blood, sweat and tears if you will. What’s more, the more profound the experience or lesson, the harder I will cry.

According to my own very un-scientific reasoning, this cry is also closely linked with the science of the broken-heart cry as it allows for a softening of the nervous system. With this kind of cry I induce a feeling of total relaxation. For a brief moment, I am able to relish the satisfaction of seeing something through to completion. This pause and time for reflection is ever so important before I begin the next leg of my ascent.

So let us embrace our tears so that we can relish our vast abundance, be a part of it all, change the world with our superhero powers, support our well-being and rejoice in our accomplishments.

Tissue anyone?

“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before–more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.” -Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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What I’ve Learned by Being Alone

Before sitting down to write I did a quick Google search on the following words: loneliness & alone.

The results were just as I’d expected.

There were tons of posts on the growing public health concern of loneliness, Psychology Today articles on combatting it as well as the human need for socialization. What I didn’t see in my quick search, however, was what I want to write about here — what I’ve learned and the benefits of being alone.

For the past year and half I’ve been contemplating the concept of being alone. I moved to Long Island in 2014 for a dream opportunity. I packed up my belongings and transplanted myself in a locale quite culturally foreign to me. I came here without a network of friends and only some limited family nearby. I was, for all intents and purposes, alone.

Before I came out here I had a vibrant social life and a unique circle of friends of all ages. I’d also never truly been alone before, at least not in the way that I have been in this new setting. Here I have not been able to call up a friend and announce that on a moments notice, I’d be at their door. I’ve always had friends to explore and hangout with. So, as you can imagine, this change was pretty abrupt and harsh for me.

At first I rejected the area and its inhabitants. I assured myself that it was time for me to put my head down and to work hard — harder than ever before. If I threw myself into my work, I wouldn’t have time to feel lonely. This was partially true. The first few months I was here, I worked like a dog. I tried to push the loneliness out by working so hard that the weekends could only be a time for rest, relaxation and recuperation. But as expected, feelings of loneliness would creep up on me when I least expected them. There I was again – at the beach, in random parking lots, in my kitchen, on the phone, in the car – crying. I had never been so lonely, and for so long, in my entire life.

When I sat down with the purpose of writing about being alone out here, my intent was to explain the life lesson that I’ve been learning and not to make anyone feel bad for me…or worse, for ME to feel for myself. Just so I’m clear, loneliness does not necessarily equate to unhappiness for me.

Sure, I have days where I feel melancholy and nostalgic and wish I had my best friends nearby. I’ve even had extended periods of time where I’ve felt this way. However, what I’ve been feeling recently is more balance between being a social butterfly and being alone.

Before I moved here, there were many things I didn’t know about myself. I never needed to ask myself questions like Who am I? What do I want most? Do I love myself? I had a barrage of social reinforcements that I defined myself against, and our collective mentality was supreme. I was able to be a unique part of a whole, but I never felt truly whole myself without my friend group.  But now that’s different, and I am different. I have more insight now that I didn’t have before, and I know myself better.

I have a better understanding of my social patterns and tendencies.  I know that when I feel alone I use Instagram and Facebook as a crutch to to feel connection. Or that I pursue romantic possibilities even when I’m not fully keen on the person.  And I know that I will pick up the phone and dial everyone in my ‘favorites’ in order to hear a voice on the line who can reassure me that I am still awesome.

These patterns and tendencies are hard to admit because they go against one of my core values–give to yourself what you would ask of others to give to you. To simplify what I mean by that would essentially be to say, “Hey, go connect with yourself. Be your own best friend. Fall in love with yourself.”

But I am only human. And I frequently forget that I am one with everyone and everything — I am never truly alone.

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So what, you may ask, is the benefit of being alone for this long? For me, it has been having enough time to take a good look in the mirror. In the past two years I’ve been able to shift some of my most negative patterns in a more positive direction because I’ve had the time to look within. None of this means that I’ve perfected my ways, but I’ve definitely made progress.

I’ve learned to value myself and my time more. I have learned to be non-judgmental and kind to myself when I am having a off day. I’ve learned that meeting new people takes time and requires lots of patience. I’ve learned to be more patient. I’ve learned that connection is all about quality and not about quantity. I’ve learned to be more aware of my time spent on social media and handheld devices. I’ve learned to get out there and do things that interest me. I’ve learned to kick box and to tango. I’ve learned to be more grateful for the things that I do have. I’ve learned to relish a quiet Friday evening at home, and most of all I’ve learned that “me time” is a necessity.

So while it’s been a bumpy ride over the course of the past few years here on Long Island, I’ve learned a great deal about who I am as a person and what I am capable of manifesting all on my very own.

 

 

 

 

 

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Attitude of Gratitude–Day 35–Tax refunds!!

Today I received my 2014 tax refund. I officially paid off one of my student loans and bought myself a brand new computer so that I can stop blogging from an app on my cell phone! Grateful today for this nice bonus!

Attitude of Gratitude–day 31–pay day!

When you get paid once a month it’s a given that pay day = hey day! Grateful today for the check that cashed into my back account!  Woo hoo! 

Attitude of Gratitude–Day 27–Blood is Thicker than Water

I have quite a large and unusual family. Abnormal might be the way to describe them, but then again, whose family is actually unormal?! We are born into a family and the concept is quite fascinating–a group of people bonded by blood, to whom we are obliged to love unconditionally even when they drive is mad.

Today I got to spend some time with my cousin Kate. We grew up together–the children in our two families share the closest bonds out of any of my 24 first cousins. When we are together we reminisce over times when our parents would drop us off to spend time with one another, and we catch up on the inevitable drama that one of our siblings has recently caused. 

Our sanguine connection is beautiful–blood ties bonding together two otherwise strangers– we are full of comradery and love for one another.

Today I am grateful to see my cuz and to meet her lovely fiancé! It is a beautiful reminder to me that no matter how much time passes or diatance there exists between, family ties are eternal. 

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Attitude of Gratitude–Day 7–Dream Team

Today I will be brief. Not due to a lack of time, due to a lack of words. I do not think there are possibly enough to describe how lucky I am to work with such an amazing group of women. Today I am most grateful to my team… my posse…my clique. I am grateful for their creative ideas, their support, their humor and most of all their commitment.

I have learned so much from them this past year, and I continue to learn from them each and every day.

We push each other. Why? Because we’re pushers.We push people.

Brittany has taught me how to be calm in the midst of chaos. Kristin has taught me to ask questions until the answer becomes clear. Maura has taught me care for the whole being.

Today I am grateful for my dream team of pushers and the lasting impact we are having on our au pairs and the future of the Training School.

Where ma dawgz at?

WOof!

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Wake up and dance with me!

I just read an article about early morning sober dance raves in Brooklyn, where smoothies takes the place of alcohol and early birds can shake their booties before heading to the office. Admittedly,  at first I shook my head and thought, “OooOooOhhhh how Brooklyn,” but then immediately after I judged Brooklyn for being its cool-hipster-brownstone-gentrifying-strollered-artsy-dogparked-awesome-self, I thought about how I would TOTALLY go to this sober dance party. Let’s be real, how epic it would be to start each day a dance party?!

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The answer is clearly, duh, dancing is awesome, that WOULD be totally epic.

But not only would it be epic, it would be healthy, and centering. It would promote happiness and well-being, and awareness of my body, mind and soul. For me, dancing is the quickest way to my center. It enables me to find this place deep inside my soul where I fully trust the present moment. In this place I rely on my intuition to fluidly move my body from one movement to the next. Thoughts are not involved.

My journey thus far has taken me through the highs and lows of life, to the tops of mountain peaks and wading through rivers in the valleys below. In order to find my balance, I’ve had to learn to go as the river, and to yodel gratitude from the peaks of luscious green mountains . Along this blessed journey I’ve discovered the importance of self-care and self-awareness. And I’m lavishing this idea of being both fully aware and caring of myself by creating an outlet for my emotional being through my groovy dance moves.

And while I won’t be making the trek to Brooklyn for a daily dose of dance, there is no reason why I can’t bring Brooklyn to me…figuratively speaking.

So, will you join me in a dance party?

The tunez and daily inspiration will be provided courtesy of moi, DJ LIZ$ on the book of face each morning.

Wake up and dance with me. Because, why the eff not?

It’s time to come alive and shake off the sleep! Tomorrow is the official start date, but here’s a little taste of the funk to come.

Attitude of Gratitude — A Mother’s Day Smile

From her joyous womb they cut me out and introduced me to the world. 

The scar tissue from my child birth formed what mom called her “Lizzie smile.”

This scar, a symbol of the symbiotic relationship, formed between a mother and daughter.  

A smile. Yes, if our relationship could boil down to one word, smile would be it. 

Some days were upside down smiles, of course. But right side up or up side down, it matters not. 

She was there, steadfast in her love for her children, her family. 

That’s how a family is created, isn’t it?

Creation through an act of love. 

And the most amazing thing about creating from love is that you pass that love along and watch it as it multiplies. 

My brother’s and I are results of that love, which we too are able to share with the world. 

And one of mom’s incredible gifts that she passed along to me was her love for words.

The gift of gab, some would call it. 

Whether it’s an oral story or a poem or a book, mom’s talents know no boundaries but the one’s she sets herself. Spirit flows through her when she’s handpicking her words like apples from trees and weaving them into intuitive tales, laden with experience. Her creativity never ceases to entertain her crowd. 

So on this Mother’s Day, I hope to return some of these words to my mom. It’s not flowers or breakfast in bed, but it’s something that we share, and something that makes us both smile. 

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Thank you for everything you do for your family. I hope you’ve been inspired to do more of what you love, because even though we’re grown, we still take our cues from you.

Keep multiplying that love and go get your damn story published! 

XO — Lizzie 

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Managing changing relationships. A yogi toolkit!

Dear readers, I’m pleased to announce that all of this writing I’ve been doing lately has paid off! I’ve been published in the Elephant Journal! Please click the following link and give a read! Thank you all for you inspiration and support! Lots and lots of love!

Lizzie

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/05/managing-change-in-relationships-a-yogi-toolkit-lizzie-guerra/

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Attitude of Gratitude — Day 43: Reunion

I’m writing this from my phone as I sit on the 3 train. I haven’t had much time to write, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have anything to be grateful for. Actually, recently it seems that the more I have to do, and the busier I am, the more I have to give thanks for!

Today was another full day of sunshine and good company, and tonight I reunite with a good friend who I haven’t seen in 3 years.

We met in 2009 during our study abroad program in Burkina Faso. We fast became friends and were an unstoppable duo; the self proclaimed Lizzie and Elena show, we commanded attention and turned heads with our dance moves. We always said that we were “coupé de là même tissu” –cut from the same fabric. Fabric as colorful as a Burkinabé pagne, the gorgeous west African cloth, which clads all.

I’m grateful to the souls out in this world, who I’ve connected with. And I’m SO grateful for the joyous moments of reunion, because they’re filled with fond memories of days gone by, reminiscent laughs of mischief managed and good times spent.

Hugs abound!

-L