November 11, 2016

Revolution cannot happen without a Wake-Up Call: Why I’m letting go of Despair.


“During difficult times like this, I’m feeling that the most important thing is our love for each other and remembering to express that and avoid the temptation to get caught in negative and aggressive thinking. Instead of polarizing, this is a chance to stay with the groundlessness. I’ve been meditating and getting in touch with a deep and profound sadness. It’s hard to stay with that much vulnerability but that’s what I’m doing. Groundlessness and tenderness and sadness have so much to teach us. I’m feeling that it’s a time to contact our hearts and to reach out and help in any way we can.”

~Pema Chodron

Let’s take some collective deep breaths.

As we are all processing this “new normal” of an imminent President Trump, many are just now coming through the fog of denial, waking up to the reality that has enabled this to happen—the deep divide in our country between urban and coastal “elitists” and rural “racist/sexist/xenophobes.”

I began to sense the deepening polarization between the liberal and conservative factions in the U.S. back in 2008 with the emergence of Sarah Palin as Vice Presidential candidate, but of course it goes back much, much further than that.

In these unsettling times, it is natural to want to wallow, deny, reject or rebel.

I hope that this election will wake more people up to the fact that the revolution cannot happen within the realm of the current machine.

Sure, repeal the electoral collegethat should’ve happened about a century ago. The sad truth is that politicians and governments worldwide are corrupt, serving the wealthy, maintaining the cycle of poverty and oppression for the masses.

So many posts are inciting us to simply love, accept, make peace and have compassion. These words of advice came too soon, I felt. We need time to process. We need time to reflect, to feel bad, sad, mad, and all the rest.

This is a national tragedy for half the population. It honestly feels like a catastrophe that the electorate brought upon itself. Perhaps now we should pause, log out, take a deep breath and have a look at our minds. What can we let go?

I am letting go of delusion.

As much as I’d like to avow that Donald Trump is not my president, he appears to have won legitimately. With all due respect to Michael Moore’s morning-after-the-election to-do list, harboring a belief or hope that somehow Trump will be intercepted before taking office does not seem realistic.

I am letting go of blame.

It’s terribly easy (and lazy) to simply shoot arrows at Trump supporters, to write them all off as stupid, bigoted and reckless. The blame game is a waste of time. Let’s try to be less reactive and more productive.

I am letting go of shame.

Yes, it’s humiliating to have Mr. Trump as our national leader. As the elders have pointed out: we’ve lived through some terrible presidents in recent history. Remember the years 2000-2008? I used to tell people I was from Canada, not Texas, when traveling internationally.

I am letting go of hatred.

Like many people, I despise Donald Trump. I can scarcely bring myself to look at him, much less listen to him bloviate. Yet, I realize this is not productive. Instead, slowly and gradually, I am practicing metta for Donald Trump. May he be safe, happy, healthy and free from suffering. May we all be safe, happy, healthy and free from suffering.

I am letting go of despair.

Life is tough. Personal dramas and tragedies abound. The future is uncertain and this moment feels particularly dark and dreadful. It would be a cinch to slide into depression.

Holding on to delusion, blame, shame and hatred is harmful. While it is okay to feel what we feel and important to process in due time, I am choosing in each moment to let go of despair, to let go of my deeper-than-realized attachment to liberal rhetoric, to let go of buying into the endless narrative.

I am choosing to move toward the light.

I leave you with the wise and eloquent words of Alice Walker:

“Our surprise, our shock, our anger, all of it points to how fast asleep we were. This is not a lament. It is counsel. It is saying: We can awaken completely.  he best sign of which will be how we treat every being who crosses our path. For real change is personal.  The change within ourselves expressed in our willingness to hear, and have patience with, the “other.” Together we move forward. Anger, the pointing of fingers, the wishing that everyone had done exactly as you did, none of that will help relieve our pain. We are here now.  In this scary, and to some quite new and never imagined place. What do we do with our fear? 

Do we turn on others, or toward others? Do we share our awakening, or only our despair?

The choice is ours.”


Author: Michelle Margaret Fajkus

Image: With a persmission of @gypsieraleigh Instagram

Editor: Sara Kärpänen

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