Traditions! Do they support us or hinder us?
By Elektra Porzel.
We all have celebrated shows where the children defy the traditions and prosper. Fiddler on the Roof comes to mind with one daughter refusing an arranged marriage and another marrying out of her religion and culture. We witnessed the joys and the difficulties of these choices. We also have been part of or heard of families broken by the children’s decision to live their lives differently. In my generation, it was intermarrying between culture/religion groups and then racial groups. Now it’s children defying being what their gender has traditionally been in their family lineage and/or in their culture’s definitions of gender. All this change, while welcome in some parts, is never easy. Our families’ traditions are often based in a larger cultural context and that is based in an earlier time when adherence to tradition assured the individual’s and the family’s survival. Our family’s reaction to our changing of traditions can be separation, hurt, judgment, shaming as well as welcoming, integration, owning.
In the beginning of these tradition challenges, we are not always aware of the ultimate value that this shift to the family/societal structure and functioning will be. When it occurs on a societal level, it is harder to monitor and control the positioning of old=good, new=bad scenarios. As we negotiate how to celebrate holidays, how to speak to others of these choices, of altered expectations, there is an up and down of the roller coaster of creating new ways of being, new norms for the family or the society. We are watching an extreme response to change in our legislatures in the USA trying to limit choice, to limit voting, to make silence about the real history a mandatory action, to push back the clock of change. Ultimately they won’t succeed AND they make the process of integration so much harder for the society as a whole and for the individuals within it. While they voice their actions as trying to protect society for the future, they are actually lessening the viability of the society for the future.
We must create a new reality for humanity to live within, to prosper within. That future must meet the criteria of sustainability. Our traditions, our institutions are all up for needing change. We are seeing them falling apart right now. My questions is this: How do we create a sustainable future for our children, our grandchildren and future generations coming? How do we navigate these times without falling into judgment, shame, blame? How do we open up to the greater benefits and be compassionate to ourselves and others in the bumpy road of navigation to a new norm, a new pattern of living as a family, as an individual, as a society?
These questions are all up in two discussion series that we are offering through the Language of Consciousness Institute this month. ‘Becoming a Modern Indigen’ explores what we could gain from reviewing the practices and thinking of indigenous peoples, of our long-ago ancestors. In ‘SandTalk” by Tyson Yunkaporta, he suggests that our present western society’s traditions and institutions are not viable as a sustainable culture for the future. He offers for our investigation the practices and thinking of the aboriginal peoples of Australia. In Becoming a Modern Indigen, we will explore his thesis chapter by chapter…trying out some of the practices, writing our Creation Exercises around those ideas. Lots of wonderful deep conversations will surely occur.
In Exploring Charles Eisenstein’s Next Stories, we explore his ideas about new stories that are rising about humanity’s future. He too believes that our present society is not the basis for a sustainable future for humanity. This is discussion is aimed at looking at all the perspectives that dance around each ‘Next Story’. It is free for March.