Last weekend I was driving up a mountain pass, up about fifty miles of winding narrow road. It was pouring rain and the trees that lined the road were giving off a thick mist, making visibility limited. It was hard to see more than a hundred feet in front of you. The higher the road climbed, the more the rain turned icy and slick.
Ironically, there was a lot of traffic—a lot of very slow traffic moving past bits of vehicle pieces littering the sidewalls, past drivers pulled over, police cars with lights flashing, people on the side of the road looking panicked.
So, that was the scene. Now, enter the reckless drivers. They would speed up and swerve into the other lane. I suspect they were trying to get ahead of the slow-moving traffic by changing lanes, maybe? As if another lane was moving faster? In these conditions, the need to suddenly brake for an unexpected arrival in your lane was fully dangerous for everyone on the pass, and the cars swerving in and out of lanes were making things life-and-death for everyone. And yet, so many drivers were attempting this—not just one or two, but ten or more.
So here is the key part—the real heartbreak of my story. Every time this happened, I had this thought: “You stupid dick. Why the hell are you jeopardizing everyone’s life? Where do you think you’re going?” And then, the doozy, made all the more powerful because it was subtler: “…you probably voted for Trump.”
And there it was.
The divisive, subversive civil war that has begun to subtly seep into the consciousness of America. I was aware of this thought as it arose, and I felt, well, heartbreak.
Yes it is just a silly, stupid thought. Just a thought. But how many times was I having this kind of thought?
So, climbing up this mountain pass in the pelting rain, I brought this thought in, looked at it very closely, and noticed; it is not true.
Because, of course, I have no idea why they are driving this way, or who they voted for. I sit in judgement cursing them because I—in this moment, on this road—am feeling insecure, feeling less than safe. I don’t have to be hooked by this. I can slow down, I can drive defensively; I am one hell of a driver folks. I am in a big truck with winter wheels. I don’t need to project these drivers are taking away my power or my safety. Even still, the moment I don’t like driving like this, I can get off the road, and get a tea and wait for the rain to stop.
So all of us have been affected by fear. Under our fear, if you peel back the layers, is frustration—and, I bet, a fair amount of heartbreak. And this was all here in our systems waaaay before the election.
So Trump will be POTUS. And with the country sinking into this reality, a subversive civil war has begun. More than 50% of voters did not vote for this man. This is a dangerous predicament for our country. Stereotypes are being created and amplified:
Trumper: Any person saying or doing stuff to make you feel challenged, or appears to be willing to jeopardize the peace and safety of others because they don’t seem to have the communication skills (or maybe intelligence) to get what they want without risk to others. Often wears red. (May or may not have actually voted for Trump.)
We also have:
Obnoxious Leftist Cunt: Anyone who is clogging up the flow, or who is too indecisive and/or blocking any assertive movement, especially upward financial movement. Very soft overall; a bleeding heart. An obnoxious protester—could be projected as “hippies without jobs who want you to pay for their medicare.” (May or may not have voted for Hillary. Also, may or may not have jobs.)
But divisiveness can be a gift.
Clearly, it makes us move away from National Unity. This is not necessarily such a problem, because it opens the doors for us to start to invest our energy, heart, and finances into things more accessible and local—such as our community. You might define community in various ways: your family, your organizations, your town… We can’t stop the overall motion towards globalization: one world, one people, perhaps even one God. Inside this transition, we all need to feel not just connected but empowered. We do that in part by leaning on and contributing to community.
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, author of The World is Flat—a Pulitzer-prize-winning book about our hyper-connected world—discusses how terrible it is to be a leader in the world today. It’s a totally impossible job because there are so many viewpoints, so much pressure from very connected sources like social media, Wikileaks, new media, etc. Essentially, it’s a huge pressure from community. He talks about the concept of “average” being over. In a hyper-connected world, there is so much access to above-average technology, communications, workers, and so on. A global world equals global competition.
So, the way forward is by being wholly unique and authentic. Being you. The world is being reshaped by what Friedman calls “hyper connections”, and we don’t need to change this. We simply need to take a moment to stop and find our hearts’ connections. We do this by becoming aware first and foremost of ourselves. Hyper connectivity requires us to be not just aware, but conscious—to have a conscience, to have an awareness of our impact, awareness of who we are, awareness of what our heart values. We need to bring who we are and what our hearts value into our world directly. That means our everyday reality. That means our community.
The worst thing we can do is Fear. The best thing we can do is stop and reflect.
It’s time to become aware of how we are projecting our own (albeit well-earned) heartbreak and frustration onto the election, letting this event be the focus of the frustration we have had in ourselves for many decades. It’s time for us to begin to meet these movements in ourselves with love and kindness. We must be aware of when we are blaming and judging and fearing, and trace it inwards to the raw feelings inside, and then kindly wrap them in warm golden love.
If you are exhausted of all of it, unplug from the media, skip over the Facebook posts (or filter them), turn off the talk radio or talk show banter. Stop giving this election, or this president, your attention. Stop.
Instead reflect. Or, as Mr. Friedman suggests, re-imagine.
Put your awareness inside your own heart.
Start loving and listening. Start noticing the small community around you, and how no one is truly in charge of it; there is no president of your own small community, yet it is a powerful place for your heart and being. And notice how your community is in fact connected to the global world in all kinds of interconnected ways.
You are community, you are connected, and it’s time to reflect on the love that is possible right there.