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.