Writing about the election, elephant journal wanted me to go high, and it changed my entire perspective on the presidential candidates.
I received my early ballots in the mail today. I looked at that green envelope and realized something that I hadn’t realized before.
I am a writer, and over the past two to three weeks I have written a half dozen pieces on the election for elephant journal.
Being one of elephant’s columnists, I fully understand that my articles for them need to “take the high road” when it comes to analysis and perspective. It is, after all, a “mindful magazine.”
Little did I know what effect writing about one of the most contentious, down and dirty elections in our country’s history would have on me.
Now, when I see or hear either candidate, I no longer “react.” I no longer judge in what could be called my typical “holier/more enlightened than thou” way. I no longer see either candidate as less than or worse than the other.
Instead of seeing one individual who is more flawed than the other in this, that or the other way, I merely see two individuals running for president, neither of whom are perfect.
They have both said and done things that I would rather they had not said and done, but ultimately, they are both just like me—human beings with their own issues and struggles and boatloads of mistakes.
That’s right. Human beings—just like me.
The difference, of course, is that I have been able to keep my version of my own personal issues, struggles and boatloads of mistakes out of the public eye.
I guess I’m just not as daring as the candidates are. I’m more careful about who sees all of my character faults, including whether I even see them myself.
Having had this change in perspective, I can now read the news and not feel as upset—even reviled—as I had been feeling before. I no longer have to follow the news only to prove to myself that I am smarter, better, more honest, more empathetic than the other guy—full of more reasonable ways that I would have handled just about anything they are handling.
Now, I am able to just sit back and watch. I am able to just notice what is happening and, as a result—as impossible as it may sound—I am able to calmly think about the candidates and what they each have to offer.
Without covering them with the projections of my own unconscious self, I am now able to choose who between them has the most characteristics that I would personally want to see in a leader:
A clear sense of self.
Empathetic understanding of the populace.
Furthermore, without them having to carry my projections, I am able to experience myself differently. That is, instead of being the reactionary, emotional voter casting her vote from a place of frustration, confusion and even anger, I am now able to cast my vote from a place of thoughtful, deliberate discernment.
What a relief. What a breath of fresh air.
Did I expect this to happen? Did I expect that by this time in the election I would feel free of the angst I had been feeling all along?
No. I did not.
I didn’t even think it was possible.
But it did happen.
And it happened because of one thing. Because when I was writing on what I had seen as “low” subjects, I couldn’t go low.
My editor and publisher wouldn’t allow it.
And, instead of looking through the window that proved me right and them wrong—or seeing either one candidate or the other as contrived or dramatic or even dangerous—
Instead of going low, I had to go high.
Thank you, elephant journal, for helping me see the way. It changed the way I feel about the election and how I feel about both candidates.
Best of all, it helped me to vote on the issues and not on my ego.
Author: Carmelene Siani
Image: KAZ Vorpal/Flickr
Editor: Toby Israel