Into this month when I am considering a kind promise about love falls the news of the impending Trump presidency. Based on his candidacy, this man is not about love. He is about power. He is about division. He is about fear. My conversations with friends since the election have also been about fear. Like most people, my circle includes people who think like me. Like most people, we can’t imagine thinking like them and, therefore, the election has left us bewildered.
What are we to do?
After checking in with my spiritual leaders, I suggest:
- Feel what you feel. Unfelt feelings transmute into accusations and gut-response actions. Rather than pushing away the ickiness, let it in. You are bigger than your uncomfortable emotions.
- Wish them/us well. Understand that those people are, in fact, us. They want the same things – safety, strength, peace and so on – as we do. Our strategies about how to get from here to there differ. This is in no way condoning hate-filled rhetoric or ugly strategies. My meditation teacher, Susan Piver, offered a loving kindness meditation the day after the election in which we wished the other side well.
- Work for healing. Beyond the understanding and wishing, we need to challenge out loud the divisive talk that considers them crazy or evil, etc. and us blameless. We need to find ways to heal into peace.
- Stand for justice. If, as we liberals fear, parts of our society are targeted for attack, resist. Sen. Elizabeth Warren promises: “We will fight longer, we will fight harder and we will fight more passionately than ever for the rights of every human being in this country to be treated with respect and dignity.”
- Let it go. Whether you are a Buddhist talking about impermanence or a Christian talking about God being in charge, make room for letting the tensions go. Birthing a better world is like childbirth: effort-relax-effort-relax-effort. Don’t forget to relax.
All of those are, of course, variations on love: loving ourselves, loving each other, loving our country and “the Republic for which it stands.” No surprise that when I look through the lens of love, everything gets better.