It’s been a week of shut-down, shock, anger and protest born out of reaction and reflection.
Our balloons have been “popped”, fear has shifted from one set of people to another. The country is divided. The Thanksgiving holiday is here.
How to let my voice be heard without creating more of a chasm? What am I saying when I try to touch the two sides of the Mid Atlantic plates in a widening chasm in Iceland? What do I know anymore?
I’ve had to go back to basics, the activities of survival, the practice of paying attention, noticing my reactions, my feelings, give them room to be and watch ‘m change. Nothing is permanent, not the shock, not the sadness, not the anger. When all gets quiet again there is only the feeling of connection to it all.
When a person you’re connected to dies, the daily experience takes on an eerie feeling of suspension. You go through the motions of doing life, seeing the seasonal beauty, the interactions of people around you and you think, “he/she isn’t here anymore, he/she will never see, smell or experience this again”. The thought takes you out of the moment of living and puts you in the witness booth. It has felt this way the last week since my side lost the election. But that’s just it, I had put myself on a “side”, I had taken a stance and the result is that I either win or lose.
I can take loss, I’ve learned that life goes on, change continues and new hope and joy arises. With each loss I stand a little firmer on my own feet, love what’s left a little more from my heart, look around me and am a little more grateful for what I have. With each loss I get to look at the overarching picture of what life is.
This election loss is pushing me toward loving people as people, not because of what they say or stand for, but because they are humans who struggle to make sense out of their world and experiences. Tolstoy, who knew about oppressive Russian regimes wrote to Tarak Nath Das on December 14 1908 regarding dealing with the British domination in India, “Letter to a hindu”. In the letter Tolstoy stated “the truth [is] that the law of love is in accord with the nature of man.- not aggression and violence (my expl) - But men can only recognize this truth to its full extent when they have completely freed themselves from all religious and scientific superstitions and from all the consequent misrepresentations and sophistical distortions by which its recognition has been hindered for centuries.”
It’s been an election of distortion and misrepresentation. I’ve made it my job to live by the truth. Not the party’s truth. The truth that the others are no different from me in their basic needs, the truth that love can and does heal, the truth that standing with compassion moves humanity toward less suffering. I trust that there are those on the “other” side who are doing the same.
Humans are innumerable, suffering is endless. I can only vow to do the impossible, to work toward ending suffering around me. Tell me about your anger, I will listen but won’t join you in it. Tell me about your despair, I will listen and remind you that as long as you’re still breathing there is change.
Thanksgiving couldn’t feel more poignant this year. Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers.