Today, every person I have the privilege of working with asked, “Can we talk about the presidential election results?” They raised concerns about the potential for increased hate, oppression, racism, sexism, deportations, rape and sexual assault, and death as a result of a Trump presidency. After processing and supporting them, I thought “WTF?! How do I even cope with this mess?”
Really Listen. Self-reflect. Really Listen. Repeat. My guess is that if both Trump and Anti-Trump folk were having a conversation and both sides were open and intentional about being in a state of calm, curiosity, vulnerability, compassion, patience, clarity, and solidarity, we would come to realize we are much more human and alike than otherwise, that deep-down we share the same fears. Fear of not having our basic needs met (i.e., food, water, shelter, health, rest, safety, and security). Fear of not belonging, fear of not being seen, noticed, cared for, respected, taken care of, loved, and valued. Fear of not having opportunities for achievement & accomplishment. Fear of others taking advantage of us. Fear of not having a purpose or meaning in our lives. Fear of not achieving our full potential. How do we foster a government, a country that addresses ALL of our fears, that meets ALL of our needs (not our wants, desires, and greed)? To-Do: Write down all of your worries and fears. Ask yourself, “What am I afraid of?” Write as many as you can think of- better on paper than in your body and mind.
“A human being is never really free of conditions- be it, biologically, psychologically, or sociologically. But, the ultimate freedom is always, the freedom to take a stand to whatever conditions might confront us. How we react to the unchangeable conditions, is up to ourselves- in other words, if we cannot change a situation, always the last freedom, is to change our attitude to that situation.” -Viktor Frankl.
Build community. We are not going to get along or agree with everyone. So, we need to have “our people” we can come home to. To-Do: What activities, spaces, food & drink do you enjoy the most? Plan to share these with “your people” in the next week. We are all members of a neighborhood, town, city, state, and country- think about how you can give back to the communities you are embedded in, to the communities you have a duty to. To-Do: Think about a person who means a lot to you- write this person a card or letter about how much they mean to you and send it to them. Research a community organization you feel passionate about, get out there- participate, give, do. Compliment at least three people today.
Be grateful. Be grateful we live in a democracy. Be grateful that “You live in a country where a majority of its citizens have said they believe there’s climate change, they believe women should be paid the same as men, they want a debt-free college education, they don’t want us invading countries, they want a raise in the minimum wage and they want a single-payer true universal health care system. None of that has changed. We live in a country where the majority agree with the “liberal” position. We just lack the liberal leadership to make that happen.” -Michael Moore. To-Do: Write a list of 10 things you are grateful for.
Foster hope. To-Do: Write an inspiration quote/message and post it somewhere you will see it everyday. Write down all of your hopes for the present and future (for yourself, for your country, for the world)- write as many as you can think of.
Put your strengths and wisdom to use. Every single one of us possesses valuable skills, knowledge and wisdom- we can use these to make our communities, country, and world safer, kinder, and better. To-Do: Think about a problem you are having- writer a letter of advice and support to a younger person who is experiencing the same problem. Fold a piece of paper into thirds. In the first column, write/draw some problems you, the country, or the world are experiencing. In the middle column, write/draw your strengths, skills, what you are good at, what you are known for. In the last column, write/draw how you would use the things in the middle column to solve or deal with the problems in the first column.
Breathe. To-Do: Place your right hand over your heart and your left hand on your belly. Close your eyes and just breathe with your hands like this. Notice how you feel, notice what comes up, accept everything.