It is November of 2016. It’s a month, a year, a time that most of us will always remember. We will remember it as a time of deep divides and contention between brothers and sisters, friends and lovers, democrats and republicans. It is the worst of times and it is the best of times.
On November 9th I was seeing patients in my office all day. I was charting “post electoral depression” in my chart notes as a quick way to describe the tears, the puffy eyes, and the abject despair that infused my office and my patients. Post electoral depression (PED) is a term I created in 2004 as I was seeing patients the day after George W. Bush was re-elected to office. People were coming into my office talking about immigrating to another country. They were filled with fear about the possible catastrophic damage another Bush presidency would have on our land, our people, and our lives. As I counseled my patients with love and compassion, I was struck with some very thought-provoking truths I would like to share here. They have served me well through this election and will continue to serve me throughout the rest of my life. I invite you to join me in making this election, no matter how you voted and what you are feeling right now, a meditation for evolution of consciousness.
- Every man and woman has a dark wolf and a light wolf inside of him or her. Whichever one we feed the most to grows the strongest.
Emotions have an energetic charge. You can feel the truth of this. Check in with yourself now. Are you happy? You might feel lightness in your body. Are you sad? You will feel that too. Are you angry? That might feel tight and hot. Are you filled with despair? That might feel like emptiness or a black void. Do you feel hate? That too has its own charge. It’s an active emotion. It can galvanize us to seek retribution for a hurt perpetrated on us by another. It can feel like white hot burning awareness in the body. It can feel like a poison spreading throughout the system, feeding the darkness we each have.
Whatever your opinion about the candidates for presidency, I think we can all agree there was a fair amount of vitriolic rhetoric, mud-slinging, and hatred on display from both parties. The candidates who emerged as the presidential contenders were pulled from a sea of prospects to attract the very energy we as a population are discharging into our environment. When you hate something, you become the very thing you are hating. In essence, the more hatred and fear that is generated by our country, the more candidates we will see who are fueled by fear and hatred. Can we as a population instead sit quietly and get in touch with what we stand for rather than what we hate and fear? Can we then “be that change we wish to see”? If we can, the leaders who stand for that, who truly represent us, will show up.
- Every breath and every moment is an opportunity to learn and to show up as our strongest and best selves.
Boy is this ever an exciting opportunity!
My great-great grandmother and grandfather on my father’s side were Quakers. When my great grandmother was growing up in Boulder, Colorado, she was living in an “Underground Railroad” depot. In other words, my great grandparents helped escaped slaves get to safety and establish lives free of overseers, fetters, and chains. Whenever a new man, woman, child, or family would show up in the middle of the night in my grandmother’s home, her mother would send her to bed and shush her if she asked what was happening. My great-great grandmother did not want to put her daughter in a position that would require her to lie if she was questioned by authorities.
When Hitler rose to power and began a wholesale slaughter of an entire group of people, another underground railroad arose. My point here is that when darkness closes in, there is not only an opportunity, but it is demanded of us to shine our light brightly in the service of human kind. Where there is strife, there is the call for peace. Where there is polarization, there is a mandate for unity if we are to continue on as “the United States of America”.
- We are all mirrors of each other and of God.
As humans, we all have the EXACT SAME personality or ego traits. It’s true. We are all kind, compassionate, generous, selfish, cruel, jealous, envious, lying, betraying, loving, and meaningful people. We look different from one another because we manifest our personalities in different behaviors that seem quite dissimilar from others around us.
That said, take a look at the presidential candidate that you disliked the most. What traits does this person exhibit that turned you off? If you are, or were filled with fear, what personality characteristic in “the other” do you fear? Obviously, this is a trait you do not admire in others. What you might not know is that you are bothered by this trait because it’s something you have rejected within yourself. You can call this your “shadow self”. In order to really become a loving human being, it’s important that you learn to love your shadow and to recognize its presence. Donald and Hillary are perfect mirrors of our collective shadow.
Can you learn to love the parts of you that they reflect back to you? Once you do this, you will only have compassion for both of them and it will bring you to a greater peace. If we all work on ourselves in this way, finding God in each person and in ourselves, we will likely have choices in the next presidential election that reflect us. When you practice this daily, you learn how to set boundaries with polarizing behaviors in others and yourself.
On the flip side, can you find the light in those you hate or fear? What traits can you focus on that will help you see the person you have rejected as a person and not a monster? Remember, if all you see is monster, you are harboring some monster within yourself. Get to know this monster within you. Coax it out and make friends with it like Max did in the children’s story, Where the Wild Things Are.
Nelson Mandela role modeled these timeless truths from his African prison. He used his persecutors as a mirror that reflected his own hatred and anger, and as a result, he found healing and an expansion of his own heart and consciousness. From this new-found clarity, and from within a prison cell in which he was unjustly held captive, he was able to generate a powerful message of unity that healed a nation even more polarized than ours.
I call this Mystic Medicine. Mystic Medicine is bringing a willingness to learn from each moment of suffering you encounter in order to achieve healing from your soul to your cells. Fundamentalist thinking says everyone who doesn’t agree with you is wrong. This sets up a rigidity that extends from your mind to your body. Rigid trees break in strong winds. The wind is definitely blowing hard right now! Flexibility in thought and action will help us all to bend instead of break.
With love and unity,