At the beginning of every workshop, I announce to people that I am the crybaby of the western world. I cry when I'm happy, when I'm in awe, when I hear deep truth being revealed. I cry because my inside is so close to my outside it is constantly escaping, crossing the border.
I encouraged crying. I think we cry when we're in the presence of truth. I think cry-talking is what happens when the soul is in on the conversation. Tears are part of the body's purification system. They are sacramental, like baptismal waters.
I feel bad for guys who have been programmed not to express their feelings--so deeply programmed some hardly know what their feelings are. Some express anger when it's really sorrow they feel. If you see a sports event on TV without the sound, you'd swear someone who's just won is mad as hell. Why can't they smile when they win? Why do they punch the air and grimace?
We're all programmed differently. But thankfully, as Paulo Freire reminds us, "We're conditioned but not determined." Despite our conditioning for silence, women are throwing off that mantle, writing and speaking out, running companies, running for president. And men are beginning to cry, bit by bit -- a sign of breaking out of the mold.
I've always thought the problem was one of decibel levels. I thought if we could just get women's voices to the decibel level of men's voices, the world would start to balance itself. The tilt we're on might self-correct. But now I'm feeling it's not just that women get louder, it's that men get softer. They live more from the heart. They feel more, and reveal those feelings. That, too, is part of the balancing act.
So how heartened was I to see this being the topic of conversation between Stephen Colbert and Malcolm Gladwell. If it was a tennis match, Malcolm would have won, hands down. And he probably would have shed a tear or two. Good to see signs of our evolution.
What a world we might have when we finally get things balanced!