Presidential elections in the United States go on for years, and as the months mount up the intensity increases. The blizzard of words, and polarizing ideas and positions, becomes overwhelming. Emotions reach a fever pitch, culminating in one night and its long aftermath. This time around, these two years were filled with hateful and hate-filled speech, and the polarities were never more stark. In the wee hours of this morning, half the country found fulfillment of their wishes and half the country fell into shock and despair.
In the end, we do not fashion a world by ourselves. We do it together with others.
When a divide is this stark, it is a hard time for everyone. For a little while, winners can enjoy some elation, but in the end they still must make a world together with those they have defeated. For the defeated, it is hard to know how even to move when you wake up into a world in which your hopes are so thoroughly dashed. It can feel very empty.
What Can We Do?
The teachings and practices of mindfulness, awareness, kindness, and compassion are never more helpful and relevant than in trying times.
- We all can take a few moments here and there to let our thoughts be and to allow them not to be so solid, by paying attention to our breathe and body.
- We can take a few moments to be aware of our emotions and how they actually feel, and to ride them and navigate them, the better to respond rather than react and over-react.
- We can open our hearts and minds to others—be they allies or adversaries—and listen and try to understand their motivations, how they see life and their future in it.
In the end, we do not fashion a world by ourselves. We do it together with others. Spaceship Earth has no escape hatches. Living together in a human community is very, very challenging. Tapping into the mindfulness we all have within, that we all ultimately share, can help us to find the resilience to meet the challenge.
When we’re knocked down, we can get up, take a pause, and put one foot tentatively in front of the other. We have no other choice but to live in this moment—whatever it brings. Let’s all take a moment to breathe, to look around at our world, and our fellow human beings, and move forward.