So, the political tides have shifted in a massive way. We have no idea how it’s actually going to unfold, but it only takes but a tiny bit of critical thinking to speculate upon no less than a zillion worst case scenarios. I’m not going to list them here, because – if my Facebook feed is any indication – we’ve got that covered. But, as our ailing nation continues to process and to grieve, and to wrap our minds around what just happened, and why, I’d like to steer the conversation towards the positive, or – at the very least – the less thoroughly destructive.
Here's some helpful hints for dealing with post-Presidential election stress:
Granted, it doesn’t look good. But, spinning out on all the terrible things that might, possibly happen before anyone has stepped into office, and before any policy change has been put forth, let alone implemented, is doing zero good, and incalculable harm, while empowering the forces that would have us believe we our powerless victims. The fear machine is what got us into this mess, and it’s certainly not going to get us out of it. Instead of letting our minds spin with unchecked fear, and all the terrible, God-awful scenarios that might play out, we are wise to calm said minds, and to redirect our mental energy by focusing on best case scenarios and solutions. And, while that might sound Pollyanna, what choice do we actually have? The mind likes to wander and race, and unless we wrangle control of it, and direct its attention towards ideas that serve our highest good, it’s gonna go hog wild. Now is not a time to let unchecked monkey mind pull us into visions of despair. Now, more than ever, we must be mindful of where we’re focusing our brain power, and to direct our attention and our intellects toward connection, community, best possible case scenarios, and solutions.
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Respond. Don’t react.
Allegedly, we live in a democracy. If said democracy is functioning well, then we can rest easy (or, at least easier
) that the checks and balances our forefathers put into place will protect us from any and all of the political, logistical, and earth-rapey horrors that might just be coming down the (#nodapl)
Pause here for snorts, eye rolls, and conjecture as the extent of my naiveté.
Look, if our system is so broken that these checks and balances don’t actually serve to protect us as they should, then we need to know about it. If our system exists to support social injustice and hate and destruction, than this must
come to light so that we can take the necessary action to re-right our government such that it actually functions with integrity, for the highest good of all. Let’s not forget that this country was founded by the people, for the people; and that we – as you in you and me – are
“the people.” And this isn’t to say: strap on your boots and prepare for the revolution; but, this is to say that we don’t actually know how this is going to go down, and since we’ve already established that disasterbating isn’t allowed, our wisest move is to take a few deep breaths, and to calm our nervous systems with some kava and uplifting self-talk, and to agree to respond
with courage, wisdom and compassion when there is something concrete to respond to. And if that means redesigning a functional democracy in a different way, then so be it. Let’s get to visioning something way more wonderful.
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We’re All in this Together
It is a tense and polarized moment, to say the very least. And while we all deal with the shock, the grief, and terror (and yes, even the joy of the perceived triumph), and try to make sense of it all, it’s all too easy to want to assign blame. Whether it’s the Republicans, the third party voters, the men, the rich, the Scorpios or the unicorns, it seems a whole big bunch of us are wanting to pin this devastating blow to democracy on someone(s). It’s human nature, and it’s easy, and it’s also the most dangerous thing we can do.
Let me repeat that, lest you think I’m being hyperbolic merely to make a point:
Blaming anyone else for Donald Trump’s Presidential election is the most dangerous thing we, as a nation, can do.
Blame, and the divisiveness that informs it, is the very reason Trump got himself elected. Bummed because you can’t pay your mortgage? Blame the so-and-sos for taking your jobs. Pissed because gas prices are so high? Blame the whomevers for doing something you don’t understand.
It’s a tried and true tactic deliberately used to destabilize people and organizations and nations such that they are far easier to conquer, destroy, disempower and fuck over. It’s low-vibe and it’s old school, and it’s really (really) not serving us. Because the truth of the matter is that we are one nation, which is itself a tiny (and conceptual) portion of a larger singular entity called humanity. When we mangle our ozone layer, everyone loses. When we poison our air and our water and our food supply, everyone is affected. When we preach hate and divisiveness, we all live in fear and disconnect, and nobody – I mean, nobody
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The rage so many of us are feeling is real. I get it. And it needs an outlet. But, raging against our fellow humans isn’t the solution. Raging against those who made a different choice than we did, in a game we willingly signed on to play, isn’t the answer.
Better to rage against the machine, and the results, and the sad, scary truth of our very, very divided nation, and the collective slumber and apathy that got us here, while being mindful not to blame anyone else for said rage, or for the situation informing it, because that blame only serves to divide us. And, that division is a lie. We really are all in this together. And if one of us dropped the ball on our democracy, then we all dropped the ball on our democracy, and maybe all this is happening because it’s time to turn that critical eye on ourselves…
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Can We Not with the Name-Calling?
This is a big one, kids. It is a very volatile, and tender time for this nation. And this perceived chasm separating these alleged “sides” is getting really wide, and very craggy, and super duper scary. The name-calling has got to stop. Period. I don’t care if you think someone deserves to be called a racist, or a misogynist, or a homophobe, or a whatever; this hateful and reductive shorthand name-calling isn’t doing us any favors – not a one – and is only serving to escalate a really, super very dangerous divide. It’s kindergarten schoolyard behavior, and it’s taking us down a long, dark, deep tunnel that doesn’t actually lead anywhere lovely. Now, this isn’t to condone any of the hateful actions taking place, but it is to invite us to dig deeper as we process the emotions said actions trigger. The danger of name-calling is that is allows us to dehumanize the folks we are referencing. It’s a mechanism the ego employs to protect itself, in saying: “I am not that thing, so I will give that thing a label, so that I can put it in a box, just to make it extra very clear that that thing is not me.”
The thing is: that divide is a lie. We are not separate. We are a singular species, working out all the iterations of shadowy behavior that we all
have the potential to act out. And so, when we attempt to separate ourselves from our fellow humans by labeling them as bad, and wrong, and other, we are a) fundamentally incorrect; b) exacerbating our disconnect; and c) missing an opportunity to heal and connect and grow.
We are all of us human beings who – despite perceived differences in race, religion, gender, belief and lifestyle – all want the same things. We want to shelter and food and safety. We want comfort and love and joy and community. We want to feel safe in the world. When we blame others, when we call names, when we dismiss actions we don’t understand or condone with judgment and derision without looking deeper into the Whys
, we are missing the point. Yes, it’s terrifying and disheartening to watch a great, big bunch of Americans say and do hateful things, but to cast them (read: us) aside as bad or less than serves only to widen the divide, and to keep us from the healing this situation is screaming for.
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There is hurt behind the hate. There is fear behind the violence. That is not to say we condone the behavior, but it’s on us to dig deeper, and to start to look at what’s informing so much rage, and so much fear. And it’s on us to tap into compassion for the pain that’s informing these horrific words and actions, and to allow that compassion to infuse our response to it. To this end, I invite all of us to get real and honest about how we are talking about this situation, to look at the emotion motivating our words, to look at our own hate, our own intolerance, our own tendency to separate ourselves from behavior we don’t understand by condemning it with words intended to harm and divide.
We (Really) Are One.
There is no out there
, kids. What we’re seeing is what we are. We might have different ways of expressing our hurt and our fear and our confusion, but it’s all the same pain; and until we can hear this, and get this, and acknowledge this, we’re not going to be able to heal it, let alone transmute it into something beautiful.
And, when all else fails, take three deep breaths, look up at the sky, and tap into whatever gratitude you can muster for the majesty of this crazy, confounding Earth game we all get to play.
Godspeed, kids. We got this. I promise you that.