Love my dear friends… love is the answer. If that sounds hokey, hippie, hopeful... read on… Love is powerful!
In the earliest days after the election I stood witness to numbed shock, raging anger, last straw grasps for hope, utter fear - cycling through many of these myself. All of these are, of course, valid responses, expressing the gamut of the human experience in response to an event that *IS* shocking, *IS* unjust, and *IS* terrifying. I don’t for a second want to diminish the validity of any of that. And I fully acknowledge that the level to which one can put aside the fear, the rage, the shock… is in large part equal to the level of one’s privilege.
In later days I’ve seen a beautiful attempt to rally and stand against all the hate this man stands for. Fear, shock, and rage can become the motivations for action.
Where we need to be cautious, I believe, is in noting if our actions are acts of hatred or acts of love. Oh it’s easy to hate Trump and all he stands for. But if we are swallowed by hatred, don’t we then risk becoming like that which we hate?
It’s a subtle difference…. Am I engaging in increased political action because I hate the man who is president, or am I engaging in increased political action because I love my fellow citizens and care for their safety and needs?
Am I creating beauty and art that reveals truth because I hate the system or because I love truth, justice, and beauty?
And yet… the trickiness of dichotomies… It’s really NOT an either or as I’m sure you’re all aware. Our love for truth doesn’t exist in a vacuum apart from our hatred for the lies being perpetuated. Our love for our fellow citizens - and illegal immigrants too - does not exist apart from our hatred for an unjust system that hurts them.
I’m not saying to deny the shadow side. I’m not saying to stuff it and pretend it doesn’t exist. I’m not at all saying to never feel fear or rage or shock or any other feeling. Feel all the feels my friends! That’s important. Be an unbiased 3rd party observer, looking upon the emotions that pass through with compassion, loving yourself. Give yourself whatever time you need to process all of this on an ongoing basis. We have to love ourselves first or we won’t have enough love to go around!
We can’t choose the feelings that pass through us. We can’t choose the depths of them. We can’t choose the avalanche of them that buries us at times. What we can choose is what we decide to hang on to, what we focus on, what we feed.
What I’m talking about here is guarding our energy and loving ourselves so we have love enough to share… there is a very different feeling when we’re motivated by fear, for example, vs being motivated by love. Fear grips us; it’s constricting. We feel that constriction on a visceral level, the constricting of the throat, tightening of the shoulders, clenching of the gut. Love, on the other hand, expands us - we breathe deeply, our bodies soften, our hearts open. Don’t believe me? Take a minute to think of something frightening and note how your body feels all over. Then think of the things - or people - you love most and watch as your body feels very differently.
When our fears are fed on an ongoing basis, our bodies live in the fight or flight stage that we’re only supposed to experience periodically - resulting in sickness, adrenal fatigue, joint and muscle pain, a plethora of health problems.
For me, this has meant choosing to not read every single article that passes through my FB feed on Trump’s evil plans and cabinet appointments. I know Trump is evil. I know he’s surrounding himself with evil men. I know he’s going to do evil. Reading the nitty gritty details and wondering about the potential impact is not - for me - going to change anything. It’s only going to feed my fear and anger and shock. It’s going to constrict me and paralyze me and diminish my ability to walk in love. The news headline is all I need to know.
For me, this has meant choosing instead to spend my time surrounding myself with beauty and peace - nature, music, art, spiritual practices - surrounding myself with LOVE. Oh the fear is still there. It still pops up. But it’s not what I’m choosing to dwell on or feed.
Buddhist philosophy is powerful here… the idea that a thought lasts only a few brief seconds; an initial emotion is short-lived. It is only when we engage with further thoughts that we feed the initial energy. Think of these feelings as birds passing through your brain. Do you clean up their shit or let them build a nest? Big difference!
And again, I fully acknowledge that it is easier for me as a White, cis, non-minority to make the choice to not feed my fears than it is for many others. But I would argue that we can ALL do things to feed peace and love and beauty in our lives. We can ALL take steps for self-care and love. We all NEED to be taking these steps.
Of course, what you do might look very different from what I do. How we choose to care for ourselves and not feed fear is going to look different for different people. My personal calling in all of this, which I’m sure will evolve over time, is to stand for health justice and to hold space for people to find their own path to both self-care and to their role in spreading love amongst the hate. So for me, only reading news headlines makes sense. If your calling is to be deeply involved on a political level, then maybe you need all those details.
And that brings me to another point… Let’s not get overwhelmed by the magnitude of what needs to be done here. That can trip us up and freeze us, paralyze us from action - it’s another form of fear and that’s what fear does.
It’s not my job or your job to do everything that needs to be done! It *IS* the job of each individual to discern and walk powerfully in YOUR role. Together, our efforts will add up to be massively effective. So often feeling overwhelmed and guilted into action is what keeps us from action. So let those things go… Look at what your heart is drawn to and engage there. Together our collective efforts will be powerful!
These coming days, my dear friends, are going to require a LOT of us: strength, courage, wisdom, and most of all love.
Love is the most powerful force on earth. Love is more powerful than hate. Love is more powerful than any wanna-be-dictator. Love is more powerful than injustice, fear, and rage. Together our small personal contributions to the pool of love become a massively, powerful, collective force for change in our world! I truly believe that!
So love yourself, follow what your heart loves, and love our world. Together we *WILL* make a difference!
Join me on a revoultion of love and transformation!
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