How did this happen? How did we get here? How do we move forward? How do we heal? Most importantly, how do we want to be with ourselves and each other during this time of change?
Last night was the Presidential Election of the United States of America…and I’m not going to lie, it was upsetting for me. I have my own feelings of disappointment, fear and anger about what transpired—and I’m working through them. (I share more about how I’m doing this below.)
No matter your party affiliation or who you may have voted for, what is clear from this election is how big the divide is amongst the people of our great nation. The separation is vast…and, I think that is the biggest contributing factor to the pain I feel.
It would be easy to succumb to the anger and participate in blame, defensiveness, criticism, and fear, but real transformation isn’t created there. Instead, I’m choosing to go back to the foundation of what I know to be true:
Love changes things. Period.
Living at my foundation are two fundamental commitments:
Use Everything for Your Growth, Learning and Upliftment
If we are spiritual beings having a human experience, then our human experience is designed to teach us. This is one of the tenants I live by. I use it every day, to the best of my ability, with myself and my clients.
Michelle Bauman, my coach who passed away from cancer in December 2015, was a living example of this. I witnessed her, a happily married woman with two children, use her cancer as an opportunity to grow and learn on her spiritual path. Inspiring doesn’t even begin to describe what I saw!
Never once did she say, “Why is this happening to me?” Instead, she shared how she experienced JOY every day—even the suckiest of days. I know that sounds impossible, but it’s true. I’ll let her share her experience in her own words. She was quite the writer! The article below is one I come back to time and time again to remind me of what’s most important and true.
Read it for yourself here. I highly recommend it.
Michelle’s commitment to her spiritual growth was unwavering. If she can do that in her death, then I (and we) can certainly do that in my (our) life. We can choose to use what’s happening in our nation for our individual learning, growth and upliftment—which will then contribute to the collective consciousness of the planet. How we do that begins with…
Resisting reality produces suffering. There was a vote last night—a revolution—and America used it’s voice in our democratic process. The sooner we can accept that, the better.
Now that doesn’t mean we have to like it or we can’t have feelings about it or want to do something about it (I share more about those below), what it means is we must accept what’s happening at our present time.
Acceptance is not the same as resignation. Accepting something is different from settling and believing we have no options. Accepting something means facing it and embracing it. We can do that and work towards progress. The best way to do that is first by cleaning up our inner landscape—our thoughts, feelings and judgments.
1. Cry your tears.
Feeling your feelings—disappointment, fear, sadness, rage—is necessary. I’m not gonna lie, I cried myself to sleep last night. I’ll probably cry more today, and that’s ok. It’s important to grieve the vision I was holding for America. And, it’s important for you too. Just do it in private or with your nearest and dearest. Sharing raw, unprocessed feelings publicly won’t help.
One way I support myself in releasing my feelings is using a specific form of writing, called Free-Form or Release Writing. I think of it like vomiting—because that’s what it is, emotional vomit. I take out sheets of loose leaf paper and start writing anything and everything that I think or feel—completely uncensored. The intention here is to get it out. Sometimes I cry, sometimes I scream, but I write until I have nothing left to say.
At that point, I rip up or burn the sheets of paper as a way of letting the feelings go. Then, I close my eyes, place my hands on my heart and breathe in loving. I think of my dogs curled up by my side. I think of my generous boyfriend lying by his mother’s side, stroking her hair as she was in the dying process. I think of moments that open my heart and then I flood every thought, feeling and cell in my body with that loving.
I find by the end, I feel better, more like myself. I am returned (or, at least closer) to the love I am.
2. Do NOT participate in blame.
Blame is an outlet for hatred. It promotes separation and keeps us invested in the illusion of us vs. them. When we blame, we give away our power and take away our ability to choose our response. We react instead of create. And, how we’re going to change this world is through creative solutions. So, whatever you do, don’t vent and complain on social media. Meeting hate with hate doesn’t work.
3. Be in your life.
Don’t get glued to your computer, phone or tv screen. That is a sure way to get sucked into the negativity swarm. Instead, get out in your life. Focus on being the loving mother, wife, daughter, friend, boyfriend, boss, student you are. Get present in your day-to-day. Do the things you love. If you’re a singer, sing. A dancer, dance. Painter, paint. Lover, kiss. Hugger, hug. Continue to share your gifts with the world. We need them now more than ever.
4. Be on the side of humanity (aka look for the similarities).
This one may feel challenging, but remember, the people who have opposing views to yours are people (human) too. They have their own wants, needs and reasons for the choices they make. Slow down. Be curious. Listen with your heart.
Waiting at the airport today I sat beside Barbara, an elderly woman from Tennessee. She had that lovely, southern, put-together style and charm. When she sat beside me, I’ll admit I was consumed in my own little world, taking in all that’s transpired in the last twenty-four hours. She opened a conversation that I couldn’t resist, so I slowed down, got curious and listened with my heart.
Barbara was returning home from a trip visiting her daughter, where she met her great grand-daughter for the first time. And yet, in her joy of sharing this, she welled up with tears. Turns out her son died in June very unexpectedly. He was a pilot for the airline we were flying and this was her first trip since his death. Her pain was palpable.
In that moment I dropped any questions I had running about who she voted for, and was she “my people”. (Not proud of those thoughts, but they were there.) And, instead, I just loved her and offered her compassion. She kept apologizing for her outburst and I assured her it was welcome.
Barbara was my angel. She brought me back to my heart, and helped me get a higher perspective. Empathy and compassion are our way forward. They must be. But, we have to offer them to ourselves before we can share them with others.
5. Stay vigilant in your return to love.
Growth is a process, not an event. It takes time and consistent commitment. Your self-care on all levels (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual) is non-negotiable right now. You can’t practice one release writing session and then let it go. You can’t not complain one day and think you’re no longer in judgment. It doesn’t work that way. Healing requires constant willingness and courage to look within at the darkest places inside ourselves—to bring the light first to ourselves and then to the world.
6. Bonus: Read Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.
His story is mind-blowing…and one I’m going back to for guidance and inspiration.
We’re in unchartered waters, my friends—which must be the absolute best thing for us, because it’s happening. We won’t do well navigating this new terrain if we don’t bring our highest selves forward. In order to do that, we must do our own healing work before we get to work!
I’m up for this. Are you?
Sending you and all the parts inside that may be hurting tremendous loving. We are strong and we are resilient. I trust Goodness and Loving will prevail.
With Fierce Loving,
Great post, Amber. Lot of good advice there for these challenging times. Thanks,
Dear Karen: Thank you. I’m so glad you found it valuable. Sending you so much love, Amber
Thank you Amber! What a great post and reminder. I sat with a lot of competing emotions yesterday and came to the conclusion that the best thing I could do is be kind. I love the ideas you gave here too because they all build on the idea of being kind.
Take good care,
Dear Melissa: I acknowledge you for sitting with your feelings and coming to the decision to be kind. Yes, kindness to ourself and each other at this time is a powerful choice. I support you. Thank you for reading and sharing. Love, Amber
Erin Foley says
Great article Amber! I especially appreciate the reminder to be in your life–get connected to living and doing what you love. Such a wise reminder.
Dear Erin: Thank you so much. I’m so glad the article resonated. And, yes, sharing our loving by LIVING will be of service at this time. Sending you lots of love and so happy to see your name here. Love, Amber
Thank you, Amber! I really needed to see these words! I find it so hard to control my emotions, especially when I feel SO disconnected from SO many other people. But I love what you wrote about humanity. That’s the root of it all and when I think from that space, it really does feel different. Thanks for spreading the word of LOVE! <3
Dear Shilpa: I hear you, and I’m so glad you found support from this post. For me, trying to control my emotions sucks! That’s why I do my best to let them out in a conscious way, like using free-form writing. That way, my inner container is less junked up and I can be more loving in my choices, actions and words.
I feel the shift that has taken place inside of you—as you were reminded of humanity. That we are all made of the same stuff. Keep holding that as you move forward.
Sending you so much love,