We are often unprepared for life’s challenges and at times our reaction to certain individuals, instances, or events can leave us feeling ugly. Such feelings of ugliness can be pretty powerful, sometimes strong enough to cause us to lose sight of, and disconnect from, the innocence and beauty of our true essence. Slowing down and easing gradually into stillness while concentrating on the energy that fills our heart, the same energy that connects us to each other, will bring us back to the everlasting beauty of ourselves.
As regular visitors know, I have been in a state of shock and grief from the sudden death of a dear friend. It is my habit, every day since I bought the deck, to pull a card from the Osho Zen Tarot. It’s a meditative activity, and it usually gives me something to ponder in my day and/or in my life. On Tuesday, election day, the card I pulled was Thunderbolt. The card represents sudden, shocking change. Those of you familiar with traditional Tarot know it as The Tower. The tower pictured in the card has been struck by lightning and blown apart. I wasn’t interested in thunderbolts so I pulled another card. I felt as if there had been enough thunderbolts in life recently, and it felt safer to ponder something else. (You can, if you wish, see the card and get the full description of it here.)
On election night here in the U.S., M and I decided to watch a movie because neither of us were in the mood to absorb more anxiety and angst over politics. I don’t even remember what we watched. We voted during the early voting phase here in Maryland sometime last week. I can’t speak for M, but for me, I left it behind at that point. I had other, more heart-touching life events to work with.
When I woke up yesterday morning, the day after the election, I was tired. It is harvest season here and the combines (harvesters) have been running day and night. I can hear one running now as I type. I couldn’t get to sleep on Tuesday night, in part because of the combines, but mostly because of anxiety about the election. When I finally rolled out bed and checked the news for the results, my first reaction was a physical one. It was as if someone had kicked me in the gut and knocked the wind out of me. I felt so ill for a while that I thought for sure I’d never again be able to hold down food or drink. I didn’t puke, but I thought I might. I can’t recall ever reacting this way to an election, and the feeling lasted a good part of the day.
I moved through a wide range of emotions yesterday, mostly of what some consider the negative variety. Anger. Disgust. Frustration. Sadness. Fear, lots of fear. I spent time reading stories of doom and gloom and how the world was going to end.
With a little time, some distance, and some hindsight perspective, I find myself wondering: Is that how all the folks who hated Obama felt when he was elected? There is insight in that thought. An opening. A small bit of compassion. A chance to know how someone on the other side felt. It doesn’t matter if I agree with them. Pain is pain, disappointment is disappointment, fear is fear.
Close on the heels of that thought was the realization that I never once sat down and had a reasonable discussion with someone who supported the now-winning candidate. (You’ll excuse me, please, if I don’t name too many names. It draws out the trolls, and I prefer they stay put under the bridge for now.) I had small debates with family members, but backed out of those quickly because we were not two people discussing how we feel and what is important to us in our lives, but we were two people debating talking points put out by conservative news organizations. I suppose liberals and progressives put out talking points too, but I pay so little attention that I don’t know. (Or maybe I absorb them by osmosis and don’t realize it?)
It probably surprises no one that when it comes to the political spectrum, I lean towards the left. It might surprise you to know that I have, on occasion, voted for third party candidates and I have even (gasp!) voted for a Republican or two because I preferred their policies on certain issues over that of the Democrats.
Waking up this morning, I felt as if I truly had woken up. I have been guilty of complacency. Since I’m being brutally honest, I have been guilty of really not caring. Politics and politicians, especially with so much corporate involvement, began to seem all-the-same to me. The ideas and ideals from my youth were, I thought, long gone and I had grown apathetic. When I talked politics with my kids, I’d jokingly tell them that the country and the government are their problem now.
That isn’t true, though, is it? It’s not entirely their problem or my problem or even your problem. It belongs to all of us, collectively. This country is a mess and has been for a while. For those of us not touched by it too much, it was easy to grow complacent. Oh, I made noises about caring, and there are issues that have continued to be important to me. The environment, a woman’s right to decide what to do with her own body, civil rights (equality), and probably some others I’m forgetting at the moment. I didn’t stop voting, but I rarely voted with passion.
I don’t have any answers to anything. Just a lot of questions, and most of those questions are being directed at myself right now. I stopped reading the doom and gloom reports, and started reading those that are making positive suggestions on where to go from here and what we can do now (I started here and here). I’ve begun to question my own values and what is important to me. I’ve begun to question our two party system, and will continue to nurture a new (for me) inkling of hope that someday a third party will rise that will be made up of people from all sides, people who have decided it is time to come together and find ways to cooperate in order to make life good enough for all of us, or at least for as many as possible.
Tomorrow and Sunday M and I will be attending the visitation and memorial services for our friend. We will be saying goodbye and we will have the opportunity to share our grief, our love, and our memories with friends and family, many of us with differing opinions regarding politics, life, the universe, and everything, but all of us having commonalities as well. Love, to name one.
After that, I don’t know. I’m going to grieve for a while, I suspect. Not just the death of a friend, but the death of my complacency. You wouldn’t think one would need to grieve that sort of thing, but I think it’s necessary. What I thought was the unthinkable became a reality, and I’d venture to guess that many of us needed to be shaken from our towers.
There are no plans to change my blog into some kind of political platform. I think my leanings and views come through without hitting anyone over the head with them. What I will be doing is involving myself more in those places where I think it is important and where I can be of help. Right now I need some time to let things soak in and to heal.
Thank you for stopping by today, and thank you for reading. I’ll be back next week. Wishing you a wonderful and wonder-filled weekend, if that’s possible for you right now. And if not, wishing you healing, comfort, and ease of being.
Be good, be kind, be healing, be loving. Just Be.
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 46) This gorgeous fall day filled with sunshine and cold breezes. 47) Weeks of meditation helping me find a small inner island of stillness where I can be at peace and curiously approach all the feelings that are swirling around. 48) Family and friends. 49) Love. 50) Waking up.