Cry Freedom

Strong women and men don’t cry. As a result of my strong Jamaican-colonial upbringing, for a very long time, I saw ‘sucking it up’ as a proud display of strength. Crying was the domain of babies and weaklings, incapable of defending themselves.

Around fifteen years ago, as my heart was being broken under the weight of betrayal, a friend of mine came to visit. When she arrived, I shared with her the shiny red journal I kept that detailed my wedding plans; now shattered dreams. She alarmed me when she broke into tears.

Later I understood [or interpreted] that she shed the tears that somehow I couldn’t at the time. This incident became a turning point for me and slowly I began to invite and embrace my tears.

Whenever I hear someone say – like a badge of honor – I never cry — it frightens me. Because I know that behind unshed tears live unhealed wounds.

In my chosen field of work as a catalyst for change, one prerequisite is an ability to create and hold safe space that invites the vulnerability of others. Yet rarely do I find myself in such a space that nurtures me and invites me to openly cry my own river.

For anyone who has or is wading through grief, to say the process is not easy is an understatement. I’ve noticed too that she – for her attributes are deeply feminine – has a tendency to reveal herself when we least expect it. Mother Nature is generally the place – and usually when sat before bodies of water – where I feel safe to weep openly and unapologetically.

Cocooned in airplanes on long haul flights also seem appropriate – except here I hide behind my eye shades with a blanket pulled over my head and my hands holding my ‘belly-bottom.’ Over these past nine days while traversing from the West Coast to the South-East Coast of the USA, I have bawled my eyes and heart out.

I recognize that some of these tears I cry are not my own. Especially as I headed towards the East Coast my body felt the fear and anger that hung heavily in the damp air. Having lived in America for a significant part of my life, I am aware that my feelings are legitimate.

The current agenda to divide, conquer and separate is immense and intense. On a flight from Orlando to Detroit sat behind me were a grandmother and her toddler grandson. He kept kicking the back of my seat. I turned around to ask her to try and restrain him and I could literally see the defense rise up in her eyes. I said, ‘he’s a child, I understand it’s not intentional.’ Her shoulders dropped and I heard her say to him, ‘the lady understands but you need to stop it.’ Immediately he ceased.

I diverged a bit from my own tears.

While attending and participating in Motivating the Masses Speak and Write 2018 event this past weekend, I peeled away layers buried so deep in my sub-conscious, I had taken them on to be a natural part of my cellular fabric. As Susie Carder so lovingly reminded us, your story is not your [entire] life story.

Again with my hand at the base of my abdomen, when my 50 year old limiting belief arose – the one that unbeknownst I have dragged around – from boardroom to bedroom – a wave of release took over and I cried uncontrollably – along with another 400 or so human beings. The deep, profound healing that took place as a result of our collective wail was not only for those of us who were present.

It was our Cry Freedom for our ancestors and humanity at large. When we cry and heal ourselves, our Earth Mother who takes in so much yet asks nothing in return immediately absorbs this soothing energy.

Increasingly we can see that She is starting to reach a tipping point; otherwise referred to as ‘natural disasters.’

Blessed with the privilege of being human, we owe it to the planet to heal ourselves so that she may continue to sustain Life ahead.

Dare to be brave enough to wash away all that no longer serves your highest good.

And so it is.

Maeve Nelligan