Building bridges in a divisive world is our human imperative; it starts with feeling
Big stuff is about to shift in the world. And when we awaken tomorrow post-election, regardless of what end of the political spectrum we are on, or how many pundits and polls we have followed, or how right we think we are, or who ‘wins’ — it will likely feel like the cleanup the day after a raucous frat party (pounding headache, hangover, residue everywhere, promising yourself you will never do it again). There will be a mess to address both internally and externally, because the reality is that no one really gets to escape this. To be human is to feel what is unfolding around you in others and within yourself. And let’s face it, this election has been hideous.
Don’t worry, this isn’t a political post, it is a human one. And it has gotten me thinking about the effects this presidential campaign has had on me, my house and the world around me. God knows, as a Mom of a resident teenager, there has been more than a fair share of cringe-worthy moments to unravel and explain, we’ll call them ‘teaching moments’. There were the Saturday Night Live skits we stayed up to watch and the late night talk show host monologues splattered across social media to both laugh and cry over. More importantly, aside from pointing fingers to the other side, the other candidate, the other ideology — I reeled it all back in and thought about what I could do, control and act upon beyond casting my vote. The bigger question really is what happens the day after? In many ways the damage is already done.
This hurtful election has shown the ugliest of humanity — but alas, it has also shown us where to go, where to roll up our sleeves and where to get to work — just as with all of life’s stumbles, roadblocks and pitfalls.
Start by asking yourself, where has this election led ME astray? None of us are innocent bystanders. You’ve likely formed judgments, spewed some strong rhetoric and expressed some colorful opinions. On Wednesday morning, remember one thing — we are all in this together, left to clean up this dirty mess.
Bridges aren’t just built over bodies of water, they are built in our homes with our children and loved ones — modeling the kinds of people we want to be in the world. It’s like religious dogma — it doesn’t really matter how you behave in the house of God if you don’t take it to the street, if you don’t bring your spiritual practice to your home, your interactions with your community and beyond.
In my last blog I shared how my feelings were hurt upon receiving a nasty email that included some personal attacks. And as I said in that post, I didn’t share it because I needed validation or vindication. I shared it because it was a part of this human experience in all of its messiness that we all partake in. I knew that by sharing my emotional pain, my readers could connect in some way to their own. The most beautiful thing that I had not expected was a mass outpouring. My inbox was a love-fest for days. And aside from wanting to send out a humongous hug of gratitude, I wanted to talk about something I observed — the shear divinity of human compassion, the ability of the heart to expand when we allow ourselves the space to connect and communicate.
I sent up a smoke signal and so many responded with heartfelt outreaches. Those are bridges. I know how busy we all are running in a million directions, checking things off our to-do lists, so it makes me all the more appreciative for the love. I was greatly humbled that so many people stopped what they were doing and wrote me.
This is what we can do. We can pause. We can listen. We can feel — our own emotions and another’s experience. We can reach out. Each outreach heals a part of the collective. Each emotion felt and healed, heals a part of all of us. This creates something that we can build upon — a foundation of compassion. Because despite what the politicians will tell you, there is room for all of us to co-exist respectfully. And we must demand it. We need not live trapped within an either/or ultimatum. It is possible to create the world we want to live in.
There is room for all of us to co-exist respectfully. And we must demand it. We need not live trapped within an either/or ultimatum.Click to tweet
It starts with feeling.
Let’s stop putting on those poker faces. Let’s stop suppressing our emotions. Let’s stop looking for quick fixes and self-medicating solutions to bypass our painful experiences. Instead, let’s connect to ourselves, each other and our emotions and create a new conversation. The truth is that when one suffers, we all suffer.
Life is short. We get reminders of this every day. To seize the day is not simply a phrase found in a greeting card. We are here to become our best selves – to feel, to connect, to be human. Follow your intuition. When you get the hit to call someone, to reach out, to write someone, to perform a random gesture of kindness in any form — act upon it. This is the voice of your soul — the deepest, most loving and compassionate part of yourself, your truest essence. Heed the call. Conversely, when you feel ugliness bubbling up within — don’t stuff it back down, hidden away. Again, heed the call. Dig deeper and find out what’s at the root of it. Even our ugliness bears gifts by revealing our own emotional wounds.
You don’t need a grand plan. Just open to your emotions, connect to your humanness and remember ‘we the people’ — we get to decide how we want to show up in our lives no matter how big the mess we inherit. Is there a place you can be a part of the solution instead of the problem? What can you clean up today in your life that puts us all on a new path?
Let’s find a way to define ourselves, not be defined.
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
~ Preamble to the United States Constitution
As always, I love hearing from you. Let me know what this election has brought up for you — and how are you handling it, in the comments below.