I’m sitting here the day after the election and feel overcome with emotion. I feel fear. I feel shame. I feel an embarrassment for the reputation and repercussions for our country internationally.
I imagine the feeling I would have had this morning if the other candidate was to have won. Would I feel this way? Would I feel this sense of discomfort? Would the 50+ million Americans who voted for Hillary have to face this discomfort if she had won?
If Hillary won, would I have felt more relaxed this morning? Would I have felt less compulsion to take action, would I felt more comfortable that the status quo would at least stay protected?
Absolutely. And that’s why I look at this outcome as a gift. I see it as a grand challenge and opportunity to explore this feeling, this group experience and identify what massive strength and unity is possible.
This is a rare shared experience. And I believe there to be tremendous power in that. All the feeds, all the comments, all the status updates, expressing this shame and embarrassment to “be an American,” almost makes me feel more of this discomfort I’m sitting with.
We are being challenged or given the opportunity to look at these exact emotions ourselves. Be cautious to withdraw. Be cautious to shout [words] at those who you feel ashamed of. No matter the result of this election, we still have the power to be the masters of our own domains, to know ourselves better than we did yesterday, and to capitalize on the surely group emotion that’s being felt around the country, and perhaps some of that internationally today and in the 4 years (or more) to come.
This isn’t a call to give up, to throw in the towel, perhaps move abroad and look away from the discomfort we are feeling today. Fuck that. It’s normally out of my character to speak with so much aggression, but I’d say that’s the weak thing to do.
“Withdrawing from our bodies is the beginning of any addictive behavior. It is the making of the internal statement, “This experience is too much, so I am leaving my body right now.”” – Getting our bodies back.
Don’t withdraw from the feeling you are feeling. As states in her wonderful book, to avoid the discomfort, and the feelings we are feeling, is to trigger addictive behaviour.
And what’s the behaviour that we are showing we are addicted to here? The behaviour that we are putting on wide display with our Facebook posts saying, “I’m moving to Canada,” “I’m ashamed to be an American,” “Trump supporters are an embarrassment to whomever.”
Is it us deferring responsibility? Are we saying that it’s not our problem? That we shouldn’t be present to look at the discomfort, as a nation?
I’d argue this happening is the greatest opportunity we’ve had (in my short life time), to as a collective people sit with a feeling of discomfort, a feeling of fear and concern, a feeling of real fear since 9/11 accept that feeling, and again as a collective capture that power.
“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” – Marcus Aurelius
Things seem to get worse before they get better. I don’t imagine I’d have such fire to look at what I’m doing, and where my opportunities are to influence change, and write what I’m writing now without the results of that election becoming what they did.
So I ask of you, young people especially, don’t give up, don’t look away from this discomfort. Identify it. Name it. Imagine how many other people just like you feel the same way this morning.
There’s so much power in that. And I’m not specifically sure exactly what, but as a road trip, or adventure together brings, there’s no greater opportunity to establish unity, common ground, and mutual interests and desires than from a shared experience.
9/11, the 2008 election, Hurricane Katrina, and others have all been similar. Each of these become an opportunity for all of us as Americans, to get closer to sharing a common experience.
Don’t take this feeling lightly I urge you. Don’t look away from it. Look deeper into it. Ask yourself why you feel this way. Ask yourself why you don’t want to feel this way.
Explore how this feeling could drive you, and those around you to make change, and envision a greater future for all of us.
Be cautious in how you choose to expel what it is you feel now. Be cautious to expel this energy in shaming others, blaming others or physically moving yourself further away from what’s happened.
To me, I’ll say that’s fucking wasted energy.
Don’t withdraw, don’t withdraw don’t withdrawal. Stay present, please.
Look not out how you can rid yourself of the discomfort and move on playing ignorant, but instead look into the discomfort explore what real power lingers within for yourself…and others.