Yesterday morning, our nation woke up in shock. Some of us wept bitter tears and felt betrayed because so many found objections to our skin color, our religion, our gender, our small incomes. Others of us woke up shocked and then exuberant that massive voting predicted change to shake up a rigid political system.
Regardless of how you woke up, we are faced with the reality that resiliency will not have us go back… back to a campaign marked by name-calling, vile language, lies and pandering... back to a time when people who felt marginalized were quiet.
Our task now is to GROW through this earth-shattering event to become better than we were and wiser than before.
I offer these steps as a way to grapple with the emotional upheaval and start to navigate into a future. The road will NOT be easy but we must begin a journey of recovery and community.
1. Stop. DO NOTHING. Breathe
Regardless of how you woke up, jumping into action without a pause could create even greater tension and turmoil. Grief as well as happiness needs to be honored and acknowledged. Drafting off twitter rants or gloating serves no purpose to help a nation grow through this election. For once, leave social media alone. For now.
2. Beware of red ants.
In my work, I talk about a relative who could invent disaster where none exists. My sister hops out of a car to take a picture and instantly, Ms. Negative Nellie envisions her standing in red ants. Red ants have become my code word for negative thinking. Right now, it is incredibly easy to craft an entire scenario of doom and gloom. (I know that is where my mind has gone.)And yet, as President Obama and Hillary Clinton insisted, Trump deserves a chance to lead.There will be negative things as we move forward. But we must deal with them in real time and not imagined.
3. Listen outside your tribe. Seek viewing points.
When we only talk to people who are just like us—like us in our place of worship, in our heritage, in our choice of news stations, in our political beliefs—we miss the ability to understand each other. We have built walls around ourselves.
It takes courage to ask “the other”. “Please tell me what you see? What is your experience in this country? What do you want in your future?” The truth is—across all ages—we want many of the same things: meaningful work, a sense of security and safety, the opportunity to be loved and love back, a decent education for our children.
I know I also need to link arms and understand all my sisters—of all races and creeds—as we have been scorned and raped by words and deeds. We can’t create a future by returning to dark times and being objectified by males.
4. Reframe. Practice intelligent optimism.
This election has rolled back any veneer of “one America”. We are a kaleidoscope that—if put together—can create a beautiful design. What we have now is an opportunity to seek to understand rather than be understood. We now know what is broken. We need to create brand new models for health care, education, community coalitions, police departments, and yes—even our voting system.
We live in a time of great unraveling.
“If you know anything about weaving, you know that things which are unraveled can’t be patched. Our task is not to patch old patterns, but to build NEW looms on which a new pattern may be made.” -Marty Mother Claire
5. Choose to take the high road—together.
Choose love over hate, courage over fear, inclusion over exclusion. And that choice is made daily. Actions small and large. One step at a time. One hug at a time. One kindness at a time. We are much better together than what divides us.
6. Take the True Leader Creed Pledge.
We can't ask others to do what we do not model. Please go to http://www.trueleadercreed.com and take the True Leader Creed Pledge. All change must start with each of us.
Courage. Love. United