This little columbine is retaining water.

The rain has long past, its pitter-patters retreating into the distance, and here its archived remains sit, doing no one any good.

If she will just let that tear-drop go, it will satisfy her thirst for more. More growth. More beauty. More blooms. More potential. More form and function.

But her penchant for water retention is not diminishing with time, one little bit.

How proficient are you at the game of water retention?

When difficulties come your way, you fight hard to keep a stiff upper lip. You can't afford to let your children or spouse or colleagues know that you can't handle what has come your way. You can't allow yourself the luxury of being too human, too fallible - and you repress your gut emotional responses.

Here's a news flash - it's not good for you.

Repressed emotions have dire long-term consequences. Tension. Headaches. Stiff joints. Irritability. Eventually, deeply rooted emotional angst that is not allowed expression takes such a toll that auto-immune problems start popping up - fibromyalgia. Chronic pain. Irritable bowel syndrome. Problems digesting.

During a discussion in my early elementary classroom about emotions, I was struck several student comments. More than one child expressed the idea that 'adults don't cry'. Think about that for a moment. If our children firmly believe that tears are for children only, how free will they feel to express their emotions in adulthood? Don't get me wrong - I certainly don't condone letting it all hang out for your children to see. But - if children are to learn appropriate ways to express normal and acceptable feelings, how are they to learn if they never see you cry?

Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Psalm 126:5

The writer here is working on the assumption that those who cry will be rewarded. God designed your eyes to have tear ducts for a reason. He created you to be an emotional creature. He knows as well as you that crying is a natural and cathartic outlet. If you don't sow the ground around you with tears, how will you reap joy? How will your children learn to control and express real emotion? How will you release your inner battles in a safe and healthy way?

Emotional health is not keeping such a tight rein on your feelings that they cannot get out. Emotional health looks more like a waterfall than a pool. It chooses to feel and name each emotional response before letting it go. It is in the honest naming, in the permission to feel it, that the power to let go comes from.

And what we are able to let go of, just like the rain, will water the ground beneath our feet, causing genuine growth and provision for those in our care to grow in new ways, as well as ourselves.

Don't settle for the bloating that comes when you retain water. Learn to give it space and time to work through your system authentically. Learn to share more of your reality and struggle in meaningful ways with others. Give yourself permission to feel and grieve the things that are meant to be grieved.

Learn to let that water go...

For a poem on this topic, visit Meanwhile, Melody Muses