“The tears of a clown when there’s no one around.”
– Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
When was the last time you smiled when you felt like crying? Or perhaps you laughed while your heart was breaking? Maybe you faced a difficulty by sternly clenching your jaw as your stomach turned in angst. Or you skipped happily into work when in reality you forebodingly dragged yourself out of bed just a few moments earlier.
All of the above are samples of ways we move forward yet hide behind our true feelings. It’s a battle we constantly face (pun intended). Some of us are better at hiding in the facial trenches than others, but the daily skirmishes involve us all.
For example, it probably wouldn’t be effective to break down in tears in the middle of an important presentation – although you might be able to think of an example where this type of raw display of emotions encouraged a level of compassion from others that wasn’t there a few moments earlier. The emotional honesty may even have ultimately brought about important changes.
However on the other hand, unleashed raw emotions can also bring about ridicule and accusations of incompetence. It’s a tough world out there and general societal expectations are to “Buck up!” “Get over it!” “Get on track or get the heck out!”
One way to release the unwanted stress that builds up in pretending to be someone you’re not is to take time to remove the mask. Just a few moments throughout the day observe how your face feels struggling thru the chaos.
This following exercise can be done anytime and anywhere. As a side-effect it can help you tune into a more truthful you too. Your breath can be a guiding force in helping you face the hard facts.
Calming Face Meditation
Unclench the jaw and let the corners of your mouth relax.
No need to smile or grimace or emote in any way.
Simply relax the corners of the mouth.
Release the long-held tensions there.
Relax the mouth.
Observe the cheeks constantly pulling the mouth up or down.
Let the stress of moving them melt away.
Relax the cheeks.
Close your eyes for a moment and let your healing lids caress them.
Soften the eyelids, the eyebrows, the eyelashes.
Relax the eyes.
Calm the forehead by letting the lines of consternation
diminish with each breath. Worries dissolve.
Relax the forehead.
Soothe the scalp and the hair. No pulling or tugging involved.
Let the tensions throughout release and float away.
Relax the scalp.
Quiet the nose by letting your inhales and exhales soften with your face.
Calmly inhale and exhale.
Relax the nose
Face forward in peace.