One of the goals for my blog is to be a hopeful positive light to the world. I love helping people be more compassionate with themselves and with each other. I want to spread light not darkness. I also am using this as a vehicle to find my voice and use it to express my true feelings without fear. Writing something that someone may not agree with is hard for me because I am a people pleaser. I desperately want everyone to like me. I pride myself in being a person most people enjoy being around. I don’t have any desire to be the person that people feel relieved when they leave a room. I know many women feel this way. Men too. My Uncle Bruce calls himself a “conflict avoidant.” He avoids it at all costs. He is one of the nicest men I know and he raised my cousin, Ian, to also be one of the best examples of how to be a good man that I have witnessed. Politics is one of those issues that brings out strong emotions, but never has an election shaken me to the core like this one. I know I am not alone. Many people across the world were watching this one.
Love and kindness attract and create love and kindness. It’s how the world works. The opposite is true as well. Fear and anger have an energy that attracts too. Fear and anger is so powerful, often louder, and gets more attention than love and kindness. I want to align with the energy of love and kindness.
I work hard not to offend people. I believe in using your life and your world to make people feel better not worse. In addition, I have such a strong reaction to injustice that being silent when I see it feels to me as if I am accepting it. I am going to work hard in my writing to express my emotions while still being kind and understanding, yet true to my voice. As God told me, “understanding is not accepting.” Despite the fact, people may not agree with me, I wouldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t write about this.
For anyone who read my letter to Donald Trump you know this election did not turn out the way I was hoping. It is comforting to me to know the majority of Americans hoped it would be different too. I am fully aware there are millions of Americans who feel happy about this result. This is the result of any contest. Some people cheer, some people are sad, and some feel neutral. God told me this too. It’s okay to be a Democrat. You are a valuable human being. It is not okay to hate everyone else because they are not. I believe him (or her). This has released a cascade of emotion. I have not watched any news since election night but have been doing some selective reading. I am trying to be very careful about what I fill my mind with. This has been a significant spiritual test for me. Now is the time for me to practice what I teach.
There is a purpose to things- even painful things. Good can come out of any situation. Look for the good. Look for the light. As Mr. Rogers says during a tragedy, tell your children to look for the helpers, there are always helpers. One of my guiding principles that I use more and more is to look for the lessons. There are always lessons. This election has so many lessons if we are paying attention. I am trying to understand the lessons. My goal is to take the long view. As I said in my previous blog post. Sometimes chaos must reign so peace can prevail.
I left work on Tuesday, November 8 wearing my pantsuit, with anxious anticipation to potentially watch the first woman President be elected to the United States. I wanted to celebrate with my children, my girls and my son. I imagined how we would talk about how anything is possible in our great Country for men and for women. A co-worker asked me how I would feel if Trump did win. I told him, I hadn’t allowed that thought to enter my mind. I believed America would reject someone so brazenly racist, sexist, xenophobic, and such an unapologetic bully. I thought love would trump hate. My friend was worried. He said, all of his friends were voting for Trump and he was concerned. I was nervous, but hopeful and excited. I drove home past many Trump signs and one Hillary for Prison sign to watch the results.
That night when I could see the election results coming in, the reality started sinking in. I turned off the television. I couldn’t take it. The weight of what was happening overwhelmed my emotions. As I went to bed, my daughter said, “Mom, don’t give up hope.” That is what I always say to her. In the early morning, I was startled awake. A sense of dread filled my whole my body. I grabbed my phone. It had been announced one minute before that Trump had been declared the winner. The energy woke me up. I knew before I looked. I did not turn on the television. I couldn’t. This election has consequences. I could feel the weight of all of them.
The first people I spoke to the morning of the election were my three children. They had been very involved and invested in this election. The lessons started first thing. My oldest daughter Sierra is 16. She is like me, and feels the pain of others as if it is her own. The first thing she said through tears was, “Mom, there are girls on Twitter who are Muslim and they don’t know if it is safe to wear their headscarf.” I was so proud of her. Teenagers are not typically known for their empathy for others. We stereotype teenagers as self-centered and only care about things that affect their immediate lives. I am so thankful my daughter sees the world through others eyes and can feel their pain. It is a hard way to live, but it gives me hope. After school she cried because her “President did not respect her.” I had no words of comfort for that sentiment except to say there are many good men who do.
Four mornings a week I drive my son Jace, who is 13, to the high school early so he can lift weights or play basketball. He is so committed to his exercise and sports. He is such a disciplined, smart, insightful, practical kid. He, like me, likes to gather facts to make decisions. Throughout the election he would hear something about one of the candidates and ask me what the facts were. I would tell him things I had read and explain he needed to make sure he was checking the sources of where he gets information. He said to me, “Why don’t people take time to learn the truth? Most of what people believed, if they had done just a little bit of research, they would have learned most of it was lies.” I felt hopeful. I am raising a kid to think, to question, and to discover the truth.
My youngest daughter Mya who is 11 asked a question that really made me think. On my way to bring her to school she said, “I don’t know if I should talk to the kids whose parents voted for Trump?” Ouch. Teachable moment time. I told her that was definitely not the solution. We have to be kind to each other. Our children can be our greatest teachers if we pay attention.
I arrived at work and found a co-worker who had been crying all morning. We hugged and supported each other. This gave me so much comfort. Later, I saw a co-worker who felt differently than I did, and I told her I still loved her and she said she stilled loved me. I meant it. I know you can disagree and still love.
I am determined to be a light spreader. I am more determined than ever to contribute to a more compassionate, peaceful world. The light spreaders have to get louder. Our voices need to heard. Now is the time for us to gather together and spread light, love, kindness, and hope. The world needs it more than ever.
I would be curious to know your 2016 election reaction, even if it doesn’t match mine, and how you plan to spread light?