“In reacting to our own and others emotions, we decide what we feel must be the truth…and our Mind agrees with us.” ~ Richard Rudd
Our recent presidential election – and the outcome – has sent a shock wave the size of the Rock of Gibraltar through the U.S., and perhaps the world. Emotionally and practically, it feels a lot like the aftermath of 9/11, only now we can’t look out there to find the “antagonist,” we are being called to look within.
I admit it. I felt a small jolt of fear run through my body when I caught a glimpse of the likely outcome on election night. It was immediate and without words. A day or two later I wondered, “Just what am I afraid of?” I’m afraid that during the presidency of Donald Trump we will see the unraveling of certain inalienable rights, an increase in divisive and violent behavior, and the erosion of international diplomacy. That same day a friend told me that her parents feared Hillary’s election to the office would have the same outcome. Interesting, isn’t it? The fears are the same, the perceived solution is different.
This is a highly charged emotional climate we're living in, one that is increasingly difficult to hide from. When it comes to responsibility, it's become second nature to look "out there" for the reasons we are feeling inflamed and hurt and/or angry. All are reactions and they’re rooted in some notion that things should be different than they are. But I don't know that this is the way to go.
Historically, we have looked to our leaders to be just, to be fair, to be responsive, and to act on our behalf. And we judge them by observing their actions and listening to their words, not directly but through the news and all the various media channels we plug ourselves into. We believe what we hear; we also believe what we think. This is where it gets potentially dangerous. The media we pay attention to thrives on fear and shock. And it gets into us!
To further exacerbate things, via Social Media we have this collective platform where individuals further inflame the masses. You might think you’re having your own thoughts and feelings but this seems like mob mentality at its best…or is that worst? Perhaps our leaders incited it, but it still comes down to each of us, individually. If we don’t look at ourselves for where we may be prejudiced or deaf, nothing will change. If we stay stuck in reaction, there will be no evolution, no healing.
When difficult times test your faith, it’s a good time to go inward. I invite you to stand still - maybe stop tuning into all those “news” channels - to breathe, and to listen to find the truth in you. This, I feel, is what we’re being asked, on both “sides” of this equation. Practically speaking, it may simply mean that you continue doing that work that you love, knowing that your small piece of the pie is enough. Or you might find yourself called to more directly engage in some cause that you feel will help us all heal, wherever you might stand on this particular outcome.
The day after the election I was sitting at one of my local cafes and saw this wonderful critter munching on a stalk of grass. It was just going about its day, fulfilling its “purpose,” reminding me that life does go in. It is its nature. Who are we to question the direction?