Mostly my focus is on emotional healing through the experiences provided by chronic illness. At the chore of it, it’s always about “Who am I?” and this election season is providing significant opportunities for a deeper understanding of who we are.
These passed few months, and particularly the passed couple of weeks, I have had a hard time posting on my Lymethriving page because I have been so immersed in our political fire storm. I have watched and read news reports ad nauseum, noticing the bias in reporting of network channels, switching to other channels and finding bias there too. I have read articles posted by friends who are conservative and friends who are liberal, and noticed that their posts are also mostly biased. Perhaps bias isn’t the right word in all cases because a few seem to have done thorough research and undergone some deep introspection, and are taking a stand for what they believe in most, regardless of the flaws of their candidate.
We also see postings on social media by ‘big thinkers’ and spiritual leaders, reminding us to look within to see what it is about ourselves that we need to learn. Those reminders are on point, but without context aren’t always helpful. As I vacillate between being part of the ‘he/she is right, he/she is wrong’ and contemplating the events from a broader perspective, I feel hopeful despite this mess of an election, or perhaps….because of it.
Transformation does not always unfold gracefully, and certainly in my personal experience, each time I discovered something newly about myself there first came an all out war of resistance from my ego-mind. When ego’s position is challenged, it goes into a fight for its life. Its rightness is the fuel for its perceived survival.
This country is ripe for change. Most people are sick of: politics as usual, lies, war, terrorism, and biases (all of them). I say most and not all because there are those who continue to stand for separation and peace through war. But at the end of the day, each person wants life to look a certain way so that they can feel safe, respected and happy, no matter how misguided their means to an end might be.
When I look at our candidates, no matter how much I have read or heard about them, I am clear that I don’t really know them. I have never met them or talked to them. I only know what the media puts forward and I notice that the opinions I form about them are filtered through my life’s perspective. I also notice that my response to each of them is strongly flavored by issues I feel most passionate about.
For me it is human freedoms, a whole gamut of rights that covers gender equality, religious freedom, marriage equality, race equality…and on and on. It’s not the only thing I’m passionate about, but I experience it as my ‘non-negotiable’. When I explore it for myself, within myself, I see it as a road to peace, world peace. And here’s why: if each individual discovers for themselves their innate worthiness, their actions in life are informed by this deep knowing. One can’t know their true value and not honor it in others. The uncovering of this knowing comes through noticing the self-imposed boundaries (all ego-based) on our Self expression, bringing non-judgmental understanding to these boundaries, and allowing the energy of them to dissipate in the compassion of this understanding. The more we do this work within ourselves, the greater our understanding of the behavior we see in those around us.
Like it or not, our humanity is being reflected back to us by everyone around us, and yes, that includes Trump and Clinton. Before you stop reading, consider this…I am not suggesting that we are all taking the same actions as the candidates are (reports of lying, corruption, sexual abusive and the rest of the nauseating list). I am pointing to the emotions that they experience, fueled by their ego-mind’s narrative, that informs their actions. None of us is exempt from this humanness, however, when we are willing to notice our behavior, we can mature our response to life in a way that is respectful and honoring of ourselves and others.
It was only a few years ago that I uncovered a self-imposed boundary to my own self expression, a belief that I wasn’t good enough. Up until I saw it, my actions were informed by this belief. Without consciously knowing it, I wanted to manipulate others to behave a certain way (or just avoid them) so that I didn’t have to experience the emotion of this belief and I tried to over-achieve so that others would think I was good enough. Those are just two of many examples. The point is, I was living with knee jerk reactions to circumstances in life because I was unaware of this belief. This is not who I am, it’s not who anyone is at their core, however, until we are willing to take a good look at ourselves, we will forever stand in judgement of others and resist our own personal growth. With understanding comes forgiveness, and forgiveness does not preclude being responsible for our actions or for cleaning up the mess we created along the way.
The ego-mind wants to dominate to survive. Does Clinton dominate or control by manipulating contributors to her foundation? Does she dominate or control by being part of a primary that was reportedly rigged? Does Trump dominate or control by being sexually aggressive? Does he dominate or control by playing to people’s fears? The point is that there is an underlying human emotion that informs these actions. Our similarity, our sameness, is the informing human emotion, not the outward action. When we have ‘healed’ an emotional wound of our own, truly healed it, we begin to recognize the source of behaviors in ourselves and others, and the recognition comes without resistance to it, it comes with compassion.
Before the #NeverTrump (sexual predator, fear monger, bully) and #CrookedHillary (liar, murderer, corrupt) readers jump up and down saying, “What do you think we should do, look the other way? be okay with this? sing Kumbaya?”, just stop. We can all take a firm stand for what is right, and we can do it without spewing venom at each other. When we own our own humanity we can be a tough love stand, and we know we are holding that stand cleanly when we aren’t suffering and hating. Suffering and hating deteriorates our own experience of life.
So what is this rambling all about, and what is the hopeful thing I mentioned way at the beginning? When we are willing to look at ourselves we can transform our relationship to, and our experience of, life and all people. This incredibly explosive and ugly election process is evoking many uncomfortable emotions in all of us. Those emotions are coming from within us. The whole country is in an uproar because so many emotions and issues are on the table. What can we learn about our own selves if we take responsibility for the source of our emotions, and I assure you, it is not the candidates. They are pushing our buttons. How can we tell if it’s our unresolved ‘stuff’ that is being provoked or if it’s just part of our tough love stand for our country and life? You will recognize it. A tough love stand does not come with suffering, it comes with understanding and an unshakeable commitment that is respectful and honoring, and an ego-based reaction comes with venom and righteousness and noticeable resistance. One is sustainable and nourishing, the other is exhausting and eats away at our quality of life.
And by the way, neither is wrong nor right at the absolute level of consciousness. This is aimed at the relative level of human experience. This country wants change. This election is dismantling things as we know them. Things are changing. In the discomfort of the change is the opportunity to grow, individually and collectively. May we all have the courage to honestly look within so that our outward actions reflect love, respect, dignity and unity.