I was searching for a way to express the next evolutionary stage as we face the outcome of the election. As I mentioned in previous articles on the topic, one prior and the other post, this campaign period and the aftermath has carried with it, more contention and vitriol than I have ever witnessed since I first pulled the lever in 1980. Some were delighted with the outcome, while others were devastated. I know people in both categories. Blessedly, none in the first gloated about what they perceive as a victory, and those in the second found themselves tumbling into the expected loss and grief experience as was presented by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.
It took me awhile to enter into my own profound sense of all too human response to the outcome. My typical go-to is what I think of as ‘spiritual bypass’ as I sing in my head, “Don’t worry ’bout a thing, ’cause every little thing gonna be alright,” in a mashup with, “Don’t worry, be happy.” I attempted, as I always do, to be the rock on which people can lean. I noticed that many in my life who play that role, were falling apart at the seams, by their own admission. Uh oh. If they were crumbling under the pressure, I needed to step up even more solidly, so went my Type A, overachiever, co-dependent caregiver. Then a series of dreams reminded me that my unconscious mind was saying something completely different and I needed to heal my own wounds, before I could offer solace and allay the fears of others. And so, I allowed myself to cry, to rage, to grieve, both alone and with friends. I gave myself permission to be messily human about it.
Back on 9/11/01, as I watched the horrific events unfolding on the television screen before me, my first thought was, “I’m not going to give the terrorists my fear. I refuse to feed the monster.” This election brought with it, the same challenge. I consider it an invitation to walk my talk. Since I view myself as a peacemaker, rather than a war-monger, I need to look within to see where in my life, I am harboring hateful and divisive thoughts. The dark and shadowy places in which potential conflagration lurks, waiting to turn from spark to raging out of control fire. The us vs. them mentality carries with it the seeds for the same kind of violence in word and deed that I don’t endorse. It is so easy to view someone who embraces a different philosophy as the enemy, the bad guy.
I recall a wise 4-year old, asking me, “Do you know how to turn a bad guy into a good guy? You hug ’em!” On the 4th of July this past year, I was at the parade in Philadelphia, offering FREE Hugs. There was a man garbed in a Darth Vadar costume. I asked if I could hug him and he welcomed it. I told him that I bet bad guys could really use hugs. His response was, “They need them more than anyone.”
Those who fall into the category of ‘bad guy’ may have voted for the other candidate, a third party or not at all. By your value system, there may be cause for judgment of that person. I admit that in the past several months, right up until this moment, I have gone there. I have challenged people to see my perspective as they have with me. I could understand where theirs evolved from. I have said to them that if I had their experiences and thought the way they did, I might make the same decisions they are making. We practice cognitive dissonance when what we believe in doesn’t always match up with our choices. Sometimes we put our own interests before the greater good.
One of the things that occurred to me is that we are more alike than different. We all want to be loved and accepted. We each have our own ways of expressing those needs and desires. Sometimes they emerge from feeling disempowered and disenfranchised. Whenever I witness someone acting in hurtful ways toward others, I question what happened that created that behavior. What wounds are they harboring that have gone unhealed? How can we be made whole?
As corny and kumbayah as it might sound, love really is a remedy. One of my friends, Debra Troy, who is an eco-spiritual singer songwriter made a statement that she was ‘doubling down on love’. Great song title. What does it mean to ‘double down’? Merriam -Webster Dictionary defines it in this way:
to double the original bid in blackjack in exchange for only one more card
to become more tenacious, zealous, or resolute in a position or undertaking the administration needs to double down on the call for political reform — Washington Post
Ironic description, since the president elect is a casino owner and political reform is what is needed to bring about a more balanced, just and peaceful global community.
- Doubling down on love means seeing people who have divergent beliefs and lifestyles as non- threatening. When we feel threatened, we often pre-emptively attack or retaliate.
- Doubling down on love means drawing on more resources with which to play the game.
- Doubling down on love means using anger as a tool and not a weapon.
- Doubling down on love means giving yourself time to grieve.
- Doubling down on love means recognizing that no one wins if we succumb to hatred.
- Doubling down on love means lighting a fire (figuratively speaking) under those in government who can make necessary changes to sustain our precious planet and its resources.
- Doubling down on love means standing up for the underdog in whatever form they show up.
- Doubling down on love means speaking up if you witness someone being bullied or threatened. If you stand aside and do nothing, it is as if you are supporting it.
- Doubling down on love means gathering peacefully = non-violently, with kindred spirits.
- Doubling down on love means reaching across the divide to build coalitions.
- Doubling down on love means being kind and nurturing to ourselves in the process of healing.
- Doubling down on love means being a role model for children, bouying people up, not bullying them down.
- Doubling down on love means listening (as hard as it might be at times), really listening with the ears of the heart, to those whose views are different from yours.
- Doubling down on love means feeling whatever arises, without using emotions as an excuse for violence.
- Doubling down on love means visualizing a world in which everyone feels cared for..
- Doubling down on love means bringing your A- game to the table, since the world needs your unique gifts and talents to thrive.
- Doubling down on love means knowing that YOU make a difference.
How do you double down on love? We are called on to play the game with the cards we are dealt. They can all be a winning hand if we play cooperatively together.