"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." ~ Frederich Buechner
November 8th has come and gone and here we are one month later. My brain feels broken.
Waking early the morning after, I reached for my favorite mug, made tea and buttered a piece of toast. A quick look at Facebook, then on to CNN, Huffington Post, NYT, BBC, The Guardian and eventually scanning the local news. All this after having watched hours of the PBS election coverage the night before.
Already an avalanche of reaction to Donald Trump’s successful presidential bid had emerged--in the wearing of safety pins and calls for action to protect the civil rights long fought for over our country’s history. I found myself unable to engage from a reactive place. I needed to grieve, not try to make myself feel better, or try to make everything better right away. My way has involved extra cups of tea and a drastic reduction of exposure to FB and the news, lots of candles, quiet conversations with my other half and hours spent in stillness.
I needed to hear myself.
One month later, I am finding my way forward in this deeply divided political climate of mistrust and uncertainty; where facts appear to act no longer as the touchstone we relied upon as absolute. Where do we look to find voices we can trust to give us an expanded perspective? If we learn nothing from this election, please let it be that we must learn to listen to other points of view with genuine interest and respect. This begins with listening first to what lies within, deep within our hearts. Order should proceed from love, not from the reactionary chaos of righteousness.
I am praying for courage.
We don’t know what lies ahead. I may be called to a access a deep courage to support those who may be more affected than myself by what unfolds. These next four years are not about a Republican or Democratic administration. We’ve survived both many times before. The election of Donald Trump has given a permission slip for the shadow of our culture to emerge; for all that was buried beneath political correctness and our complacent personal comfort zone. Too many voices not heard in the very real erosion of what working class Americans held true ~ that a steady job provided for your family’s needs. Trump massaged the simple message ~ Make America Great Again. For some, this offered the opportunity to express their disgust for the “educated”, liberal Democrats and claim an equal voice. My hope is for an new middle to form ~ one defined not by one political party ~ but rather, includes many voices unified in standing against racism, bigotry and misogyny. I believe there are many Republicans who were willing to overlook Trump’s personality to support a conservative political agenda, but who do not abide hatred and bigotry. Maybe, we will be able to meet on that ground and begin to move beyond the polarization. Trump has succeeded in alienating folks across the political spectrum, and perhaps that has created a crack in the polarization as well. Maybe our elected officials’ votes won’t continue to be cast strictly along party lines. Perhaps we will move into a new middle.
I stand in love.
It’s time for love to be taken seriously. For love to count. Love is not naive. Love is a direction, an agenda, a way of living that is powerful. Every bit the equal of hate in its power to transform and create change. Choose love. All love ~ all the time. Love lies deep in our core. Go there...every day. Take time to examine your days...did you operate from love? Did you contribute in ways that make you feel at peace ~ less anxious? Or at the end of the day do you still feel worked up, angry and agitated?
If you do, then I would suggest you rethink your approach. This is your life. Make a difference where you’re able. If you choose to make donations to organizations you feel are doing good work in the world, do it. If you want to sign petitions you feel strongly about and let your public officials know how you feel with a letter or phone call, by all means, do it. I’m not saying those actions are wrong or ineffective; they are absolutely necessary. I am saying we also need to contribute closer to home, where we are able to make a difference that we can witness in a more personal way; supporting local business owners and organizations, making genuine personal connections with others. Don’t underestimate the power in simple courtesies of human care and connection ~ eye contact, smiles, manners, compliments...seeing others and letting them know you see them. These actions foster peace in your heart at the end of the day and may have contributed more than you will ever know to the people you met in offering comfort and strength ~ a reminder of compassion.
I vow to shine.
I invite you to join me. We all have gifts we bring to the world. Now is the time to step fully into being your highest, brightest self. Not all of us are called to be activists, yet we all have the ability to change the world. We do this by thriving from our deepest passion. For those of you who make music, make the most glorious notes ~ our hearts need to hear them. For those who write, write with raw passion and truth and delight in the creation ~ we need your words. If you grow flowers and gardens, cultivate prolific and beautiful abundance. Allow your imagination to soar. Do something to make the world more beautiful in the simplest and most natural of ways. In times of darkness, truth and beauty are our touchstones for survival. We need what your heart brings to the world.
My husband, Craig, and I are opening our our home on the second Sunday of every month for a simple soup supper. This idea emerged from our hearts as a way of sharing our love of gathering people at our table and our need to see and be with others in a meaningful way ~ not on social media. You are welcome at our table. We hope you’ll join us.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.