“Nothing comes from violence, and nothing ever could. For all those born beneath an angry star—lest we forget how fragile we are.” ~ Sting
We in America are hurting.
It’s a truth I’ve been struggling with. I understand the Law of Attraction, so I work personally to tune out the negative and focus on the positive. Moreover, as an empathetic person, I am extremely sensitive to hateful and angry actions. News headlines make my heart hurt.
Back in November, I wept as I cast my vote. They were tears of joy. I was certain that the wonderful experience of being intelligently, empathetically led by our first Black president was soon to be followed by the election of our first female president.
My certainty was a marker of how far I had come in my personal growth. Twenty-five years ago, as a student at a women’s college, I was mired in cynicism and despair. Yes, I had the benefit of white privilege, but I still felt the sting of misogyny, and the state of the world seemed to suggest my minority and LGBTQ brothers and sisters would never realize true equal treatment under the law.
I did not believe then that we would see a day when Michelle Obama could stand before us as our First Lady and say, “I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves and I watch my daughters—two beautiful, intelligent black young women—playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.”
I did not believe we would see marriage equality, or open military service regardless of sexual orientation. I did not believe—but I hoped. I kept my energy focused in the direction of those hopes. And when those hopes were realized, my heart opened a bit more. I dared to believe that progress and inclusion were the natural course on which our nation would remain.
So, as I wept those joyful tears, I cast my vote for our first female president, certain that the boorish misogyny and hatred espoused by her opponent only assured her victory.
Until I wept very different tears as the electoral college seated a president who vowed to take us backward. I have continued to weep as he does just that.
We in America are hurting.
Our tears are justified. Our fear is justified. Turning away from the hateful daily news is justified.
But we cannot turn away for long. We are living in extraordinary times, and I believe the key to positive change lies in the power of sensitive souls facing hard truths. Conversely, if we withdraw, the consequences will be dire.
We in America—and by extension, in the global community—are at a tipping point.
So what, dear hearts, can we do?
We can bear witness.
Stay as informed as possible. Cry for strangers, for your children, for yourself. But don’t stay stuck in that place. Release the pain and reach for love. Refuse to fight fire with fire. Public shaming of bigots is presently popular, and I understand the inclination, but my heart knows no good comes of this approach. Violence only begets more violence, whether physical or psychic. Now is the time to recognize that the work of our pacifist civil rights leaders was only the beginning. Let us double down and go to work in their honor.
We can listen.
Consider the privileges in your own life and allow those who have suffered with oppression to speak their truth. Through my own bumbling, I have learned that there is no getting past my white privilege while running my mouth. I need not understand. I can even remain skeptical of this or that perspective. But, when I hold my tongue, I learn. And my gentle listening ear may make all the difference to someone who has been silenced for too long.
We can be seen.
In the world of mainstream media, negativity rules. But in my daily interactions, I have found that no matter how different our views, most of us simply want good lives for ourselves and those we love. The extremes of hatred we see in the news today may seem like a rising tide, but this will cease to be the case when all those who seek love and peace and equality stand up for one another. We are the majority. Those who espouse hate must be reminded of this.
We can take action.
Break it down minute-by-minute. Treat every interaction as a divine opportunity to share your heart. Dig deep. Bring your gifts. Volunteer your time. Uplift your neighbors. Participate in community. And then watch the state of the world improve.
We can remember our shared divinity.
We are not as separate as we may seem. Our stories are different, but our souls are all born of the same fire. While some raise torches to inspire fear, we can shine our candle light to dispel the darkness.
Yes, we in America are hurting. The world is hurting. But I do not believe that pain is our true nature. I am not the cynical person I was those many years ago, and that is because I watched my hope for progress come in to fruition. I don’t believe we will abandon that progress. This is but a setback in the grand scheme.
We are painfully fragile, but we are also incredibly strong.
United we stand.
Bring your gentle hearts to focus on the good that can be, and as ever, we shall overcome.
Author: K.C. Wilder
Image: US Customs/Flickr
Editor: Danielle Beutell
Copy Editor: Lieselle Davidson
Social Editor: Emily Bartranephant