Yes, BUT

by Dawn on November 22, 2016

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The aftershocks of this election season are still reverberating through our homes. We all know that these campaigns and their aftermath have contributed to intense feelings—misunderstandings, anger, fear, and confusion.

I’ve noticed that the only one thing I can really control—my own thoughts—have been hijacked by strong emotion. I’ve felt more anxiety and anger these past several months than I have in the past decade combined. I’ve felt alienated from some of my fellow Americans across what feels like a great divide. I’ve also felt closer to those who “think like me”, but our togetherness is often used to bash those who don’t see it the same way that we do.

Ironically, even if we are in service of some of the greatest causes in our country–justice, safety, protection of civil liberties, advancement of economic equality–we can get caught up in counterproductive thinking. As we seek our vision of the U.S., sometimes we embolden our mind’s habits of fear, of resentment, anger, all the while making the peace we crave even more elusive. When we pause, we know that harboring negative feelings doesn’t really help the cause and only squanders our precious energy.

“Yes, But.” Yes, But they really are monsters. Yes, But there are practical issues to consider in this political climate. Yes, But we must be angry to get our point across. Pema Chodron calls the “Yes, But” the blind-spot of the human race. It allows us to justify of our anger, anxiety, or whatever.

I, too, struggle with the magnetic pull of the “Yes, But”. Its riptide is very strong and convincing. Sadly, the Yes But strengthens my mind’s habit of being pissed off at the crap I really can’t control. When I recognize the Yes, But as such, then I can get out from under it a little more. Instead of using Yes But as the beginning of some justification to stay in the negative, it can be used as a sign to come back to our center.

When centered, we can get as much, if not more, done than we can from courting fear and anger. Instead of unintentionally discrediting our perspective because we’re in rant-mode, being calm and still connected to our truth puts us in a genuinely powerful position. Doing so channels our strong feelings into action and activism that is determined, trustworthy, and faithful.

Heading into the holiday season, you may encounter friends and relatives who don’t see things eye to eye with you. Along with those brussel spouts, take this with you to the table. Honest listening and understanding– even if you don’t agree with their perspective– is what creates the path to working more constructively towards bridging these differences.

While we seek to attain peace, let’s challenge ourselves to listen, speak and act from that well of peace in our own hearts and minds. Through doing so, we lay the foundation for building an even stronger country, help heal the separations, and revitalize a depth of humility and gratitude together. What would happen if you tried this? Use the space below to comment or feel free to email me.

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A GOOD CRY OVER A BAD ELECTION

by Dawn on October 20, 2016

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I’ve gotten so angry over this election. I’ve been enraged about the things Trump has said, done, and proposed. I’ve been disappointed by many of the revelations that have come to light regarding our former Secretary of State. And I’ve been beside myself as I see streams of hateful words and ideology spring from the mouths of fellow citizens.

 
Awash in confusion and anger, I read some friends’ posts on FB and wonder, Really? I read the newspaper and feel claustrophobic. Except, unlike claustrophobia’s remedy, there is no viable breathing room that could take away that closed-in feeling during this election.

 
I don’t know anyone who isn’t longing for November 8th to come and go. But, truth is, no matter who wins, it won’t solve the emergent problems in our country. The unrest and mistrust that have surfaced during this campaign is stunning. Maybe the system was already broken, yes, it probably was already broken, but the vastness and depth of that seepage blows my mind.

 
This morning, instead of anger, I had a good cry. I cried because our country is so divided, because so many people hate each other’s guts right now. I cried because this isn’t the vision of America that I hold dear to my heart. I cried with the realization that our differing beliefs could incite so many hurtful words and actions. I cried because, by holding each other hostage, we ironically perpetuate the pain we are desperately seeking to avoid.

 
It’s devastating that we have collectively lost sight of the fact that not only are we all Americans, but we are all humans. That we are in this web together, bound more by our similarities than our differences. We all want happiness and peace in our lives. We all need food, breath, and love. There isn’t one of us that doesn’t share the same air or the same basic vulnerabilities.

 
There is a light at the end of this tunnel. That I am sure of. Anger is sometimes necessary because it motivates us to change things, to seed activism. But chronic anger, with few meaningful outlets is a trap. The time to switch gears is now.

 
It’s time to reinstate our faith that we can get through this thing together, even if we disagree. It’s time to refocus our attention from what divides us, to what brings us together.

 

 
We all want the best for our families and our country. No matter who you vote for, now is the time to let more light in through the cracks. Now more than ever, we are called upon to be clear and level-headed and compassionate. And between now and then after November 8th, let us draw upon our hope and determination that our country will not only heal its fractures but will emerge stronger and more cohesive than even before this whole mess started.

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