Like many Americans, I woke up on November 9th with an alarm sounding in my soul.
I’ve never been big into politics. I’m a creative writer and I’ve had a lot of fun over the years imagining that all government business is either staged or secretly run by aliens. This made the whole thing hilarious.
On that particular morning, I wasn’t laughing.
I felt a sickening dread and I didn’t want to leave my bed. In between working and chatting with loved ones, I spent many of the next 24 hours crying.
Fact: a megalomaniac, misogynistic, racist, ignorant, xenophobic, bigoted reality TV star with embryonic political experience at best was just elected leader of my free country. (Insert every curse word in your lexicon here.)
A wise friend once told me that when something triggers you, it’s often because you’re witnessing a thing that you are in some way doing too. The dread in my gut deepened as I remembered this. Could that be applied here?
I voted for Hilary. I’m an empowered female without a racist or bigoted bone in my body. But am I sure that I, too, don’t judge and separate from people who are different from me? In small ways? In daily ways? And just how deeply and unflinchingly am I connected to my feminine power and integrity? Is it perfect yet? Does it never lapse when I’m afraid? Really?
Eek. My not-so-clear-cut answers to these questions led quickly to a new sense of humility, compassion, responsibility and power.
We’re all part of a collective consciousness. Our task is to better humanity and the universe by bringing more awareness into that consciousness. Regardless of whom you voted for, as we observe the man currently being transferred all the powers of the president of the USA, I propose we ask ourselves the following 15 questions:
1. Where do I subtly discriminate and support division in my life?
2. What does that do for me?
3. Where do I have childish reactions to anyone who opposes me?
4. Where would I prefer to judge what I don’t understand rather than respond from curiosity and compassion?
5. Where do I shut suffering people out because I don’t want to “get it on me”?
And while we’re at it, let’s go ahead and ask…
6. When was the last time I dated or fell in love with someone of a different religion, race, or ethnicity?
7. Would I ever consider doing that or doing that again?
Personally, I’m quite adventurous in the dating world. I’m into men but I’m open to women. I’ve certainly dated interracially. I’ve always appreciated a wide range of people. And yet, somehow not one of my seven great loves has been someone of a different race. Wait, what? Why?! At the very least, this seems like an oversight.
8. Who and what am I possibly missing out on?
And now let’s take a look at some of our other nearest and dearest…
9. Do my closest friends all look and sound like me?
10. Am I interested in connecting deeply with people of different races, religions, lifestyles, cultures, socioeconomic statuses and ethnicities?
11. If I had my own child, would I support whichever sex he/she was attracted to as well as his/her/their gender identity?
12. Men: Do I stand up for, care for and honor the women in my life? Women: Do I insist on being stood up for, cared for and honored?
13. Men: Do I support powerful women? Women: How often do I feel like I’m really in my full power?
Last but not least…
14. Do I always speak my truth with ease, peace, love and strength?
15. Do I always take care of my own basic needs first?
Until now, there were still many moments in any given week where I considered shrinking in fear instead of rising in courage. As I look at our new president who personifies such a lack of dignity and respect, and his wife who remains visible but suspiciously silent, I can confidently say: no more.
Like every woman, I’m a beautiful, bright, adventurous, capable and sensitive female flower. I will consistently do whatever it takes to care for myself.
This is part of how love wins and wins quickly. This situation is a mirror. We must look at what aspects of it exist within ourselves that we can no longer afford to embody. Remember Shakespeare’s words in The Merchant of Venice: “What! Must I hold a candle to my shames?” Yes. We must.
Call your wife/girlfriend/mother/sister/daughter/platonic female friend and tell her that you see and value her. Text your friend with a different religion, skin tone, or lifestyle and ask him/her to lunch. Do it today. Do it yesterday. Single? Say yes to a date with that cute guy/girl that you were pushing away because you’ve never dated a red head/white girl/African American/Jewish man/Mexican. You get the picture.
Please keep peacefully protesting.
Please keep voicing your peaceful concerns about the fact that people are protesting.
Please keep making and signing petitions.
Please keep making and sharing art.
Please keep posting about your experiences, fear, anger and upset.
Please keep posting about your hope.
Please also keep asking yourselves these kinds of questions and adjusting accordingly.
Author: Allison Rose Phelan
Image: Elephant Journal on Instagram
Editor: Katarina Tavčar