“The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea,” Isak Dinesen
Ain’t that the truth! (Also known as Satya – Truthfulness) Who doesn’t feel better after working up a good sweat? Truth be told, I hate sweating when I’m not supposed to be, but that’s a whole ‘nuther post. When you’re sweating, moving, in the zone, you feel great. Your muscles are firing, you’re flowing, maybe even graceful, everything works in concert. When your workout is finished, you’ve used it all up – anger, frustration, lethargy, electrolytes, extra sugar, aimless energy. A weight has been lifted, whether it’s cuz you put down those DUMBbells, or because you put your focus, or Dharana (Concentration in Sanskrit) on something outside the incessant chatter of your monkey mind.
Tears can be so cathartic. Did you know that there are three kinds? Basal, reflex, and emotional. Let’s get the first two out of the way, to get to the good stuff. Basal tears are for house-keeping: they lubricate the cornea, and fight against infection as part of the immune system. Reflex tears are what they sound like – these wash away foreign bodies such as what’s released when you chop those onions you insist on frying up for dinner. They are produced in copious amounts!
Emotional tears are the ones we’re focusing on here. Who’s laughed ‘til they cried? Who’s angry-cried? Who’s watched a sappy movie on the greeting-card channel to cry on purpose? These tiny but mighty droplets have hormones in them, which wash away your intense feelings. This helps to “use it all up” in a different way.
Ah, the sea! As kids, my Dad took us fishing off the coast of City Island, in the Bronx, NY. (Probably not too far from where he grew up.) It was a tough sell, getting up before the sun, putting on ratty clothes, eating white bread sandwiches made with goodness-knows-what, the smell of diesel, getting sunburnt, oftentimes getting skunked (i.e. not catching anything). The selling point for me? (Besides bringing home food I caught myself, of course). Sitting on the water. The gentle sway of the boat, the shimmering caps on the small waves, the smell of the salty air, being surrounded by nothing. This didn’t really use it all up: it filled me.
How do you incorporate salt water into your life? Comment below to share how you work up a sweat, the last time you cried for whatever reason, or you were in, on, or near the water. Until our mats unfurl again, be well.