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Jul 16
Opinion Pieces
Give It A Good Cry

Respecting our sadness by giving way to tears

by Susie Cook

I am a meditation practitioner, a mother, a wife, a friend, a daughter, a daughter-in-law, a teacher, a director, a gardener, a cook, a hiker, an artist, a walker, a smiler, a crier, and, yes, a crier. All my life things in our culture as well as some personal experiences growing up with an alcoholic parent have struck me as incredibly sad, and giving it a good cry is quite helpful.

It feels like we all need to give it a good cry. As we attempt to contextualize our existence, a culture has arisen in our society that is unhealthy in many obvious as well as subtle ways. I imagine that most of us would agree that our collective human culture, with all its beauty, feels to be off and running in a precarious direction. From environmental devastation to the #MeToo movement to our current situation in Shambhala, on and on, our human culture appears to have lost its way. Our response to these collective atrocities appears to be to take a side and blame someone, anyone.

We are all humans who wake up each morning wanting to happy, and we feel that we are not the ones to blame. Our collective mantra seems to be ‘If only YOU acted differently, this would not be happening’. Our culture encourages us not to take responsibility, no matter how small a part we may play in this destruction. With this pervasive approach prevailing, the casualties are enormous. I am not suggesting here that there are not crimes that need to be addressed, and individuals held accountable for them. At the same time, my heart wonders about the human culture that we are choicelessly swimming in, and how that atmosphere has given rise to such enormous problems.

When I look around, I see the squelched voices, the misuse of power, and the need for change. I welcome this change, and at the same time I feel for so many casualties in the wake of the the aggressively painful and disrespectful culture in which these changes are arising. As we awaken from these collective nightmares, let us also look at our culture that allows for such slumbering ways, that allows wrongdoing to occur again and again. As these necessary and needed truthful voices sweep through our world, let us look at our collective culture too.

It feels like we have lost our humanity and our love for one another in the process of looking at our collective baggage and examining the blind spots that have been perpetuated and institutionalized. We carry all of this collective garbage with us simply by virtue of being born into this culture. Let’s not forget that we are all a part of this collective humanity. What if we all acknowledged this truth and gave it a good cry. By taking the blame in this way, we just might be able to find a new way to be together as humans on this planet. Together, we can create a new culture.

This new culture could raise its children truly valuing human dignity, respect for one another, and the intrinsic worthiness of simply being human. More than just tolerance–although that is a starting place–this new culture could go much farther by valuing the cultivation of love for one another, an unbiased-in-this-together kind of love. This new culture could value our differences, and notice the similarities that we share by virtue of simply being human. This valuing of human love for each other would feel deeply into these similar and different aspects of humanity’s expression, and see them as our true strength.

Inclusivity and equity could naturally arise in such a culture because all voices would be heard, cherished, and respected. The need to embrace a new culture feels inevitable if we are to survive as humans on this Earth. Such a cultural shift just might be the truth that allows for each of us to live into our unique individual expression in harmony with our fellow humans and our environment before it’s too late. If humanity, which includes all of us, takes collective responsibility, then together we can move forward. Let’s all give it a good cry, and embark on creating a new culture together. Although what a ‘good cry’ looks like for each of us may vary, I feel that we are creating this new culture here and now in Shambhala.

Susie Cook is the Director of the Sonoma Center, and a writer. She works part time with my spouse, and they live in Sonoma wih a grown son home from college for the summer, and a daughter in high school who recently got her drivers license.

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3 responses to “ Give It A Good Cry ”
  1. Vicki Giella
    Jul 20, 2018

    When I started reading this article, I thought that it was similar to previous posts. Then the words, “The need to embrace a new culture…” struck me. I realize that we actually do need a new culture…and what does this mean? Does it require me to embrace “patience” beyond my current abilities, “accommodation” beyond my current notions, “love,” “generosity” and “discernment” beyond what I now can envision? How do I stretch myself? What does a new culture require from us all?

  2. Diana Shane
    Jul 20, 2018

    Your words ring true for me and touched my heart. Susie. Thank you for expressing them.

  3. Donna Fanara
    Jul 20, 2018

    Susie, I hear you.
    First we mourn and then we build together.
    Common humanity, shared responsibility, inclusivity and equity.
    The importance of these values is so gracefully and beautifully
    expressed in your piece.

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