After Trump was elected I wrote in a blog that regardless of my personal preference, I believed that Trump would one way or another challenge us to rise to greatness. Although I wish there had been a different path, as we learn from the archetypes of the Tower card and the energies of the planet Uranus, sometimes a rise in consciousness and new action requires an uncomfortable catalyst.
On the anniversary of the election this week, I reflected on how it felt to hear the news. I recalled the despair, and betrayal I felt, as I found out my partner at the time of 9 years, had voted for Trump. I recalled feeling sick and fundamentally unsafe. How for the next several months I would spend equal amounts of energy trying to engage in productive conversations with those who didn’t agree with me politically while at the same time trying to defend my former partner who was constantly under verbal attack from those who did. I remember fearing for friends who had been openly targeted by this administration. All I wanted to do for days was stay in the house and listen to Jesus Christ Superstar, lines like “the end is just a little harder when brought about by friends” were suddenly relevant.
Then came the first touch of greatness.
In January I went to the Women’s March in NYC. I had never seen or felt anything like the solidarity and hope that radiated from the diverse gathering. Thousands of women, men, children. People of all different ages, and every group (both demographic and social justice) imaginable. It felt less like a protest and more like a celebration, a declaration of the end of what for some of us had been complacency, for others, a lifetime of action relegated to the fringes by mainstream society. On this day, we were together. Even crammed into a mass of thousands of people I felt for the first time in over a month, that I could breathe.
And this was only the beginning. I had no idea until arriving home later that evening, that people had come out in solidarity all around the world. It was as if the energy of Divine Feminine had inspired millions of people to show up, be visible, even at great risk, and declare- ‘We Got You, America.”
And I had to admit that Trump, in spite of himself, had been the catalyst for the greatest outpouring of unity I have seen in my lifetime.
Much has happened in the past year that is disturbing, and it is not my intention to make light of these things. The undercurrents of violence, hate crimes, sexism, classism, homophobia, xenophobia, islamaphobia and the like are not new. One could make a historically sound argument that they are very much a part of America. An unsettling statement, yes, but that is why it is so essential that we face this catalyst with a solid understanding that what we are seeing is generations of tension created by all the “isms” on which this country’s institutions have been built and sustained, now breaking through to the surface in a way that those with social privilege can no longer ignore.
Fortunately, as much as we are confronting the American Shadow, we are also giving the opportunity for true American greatness to emerge.
- More of us are recognizing the role privilege has played in stacking the deck in favor of some, while disadvantaging others
- More of us are awakening from complacency
- More women are becoming active in politics and running for office
- Openly transgender women have been elected to public office
- Women, and men, are courageously stepping forward to speak out about the prevalence of sexual abuse in hollywood and other institutions, resulting in women and men of all walks of life opening up about their experiences being abused and harassed
- Powerful conservative politicians are taking a stand in favor of their ideology, rather than holding blind allegiance to their political party
In spite of the many wounds left to heal and the brokenness of many of our institutions, more of us are stepping into courage and integrity, declaring “enough is enough.”
What will it take for us to get through the next year? In addition to remaining hopeful (which is extremely difficult some times) we must take back our four sources of power.
Recognize that there are significant efforts being made to influence our thinking and in a complex digital age, the information bombardment makes it difficult to process, digest, and verify the onslaught of information. Our minds need not be a dumping ground for propaganda. If we take back our minds, our thoughts and ideas, we untether ourselves from the agendas of others and learn to think critically again, to hold true to our integrity, not what the leaders of one group or another want us to believe.
Step away from the chaos long enough and often enough to listen to your heart. We must also honor our sacred connections to each other, even when we disagree. Relationships are our greatest teachers. What are we being taught in the everyday interactions with those we disagree with? Are we being asked to listen deeper? To learn to love unconditionally? To assert our truth without demeaning the spirit of another person for not accepting what we believe? Are we being asked to open the door to deeper conversation rather than attacking and name calling? To learn what is beneath the surface rather than unfriending people for not seeing eye to eye?
How can we keep our hearts open in the midst of turmoil, when powerful influences work to divide us?
If we are to make the greatest use of this catalyst, the exposition of the American Shadow, we must examine our own entanglements in the systems of oppression and make a conscious effort to change ourselves and thereby change the system. It is not enough to blame those who voted one way or another. We must recognize the intentional ways we are being divided and make a conscious decision about whether we are willing to play into the continued division of our society and for what purposes. We must be willing to continue to have uncomfortable conversations and remember the role of listening and engaging, as we are continually driven to argue via one dimensional media. We must be willing to continue to step up to the challenge of dismantling and rebuilding oppressive systems.
Are you ready?