There is a palpable sense of unease in the air and many of you are feeling it.
The election approaches. And with it, an exorbitant amount of very real opinions, passions, and feelings.
In my clinic and out of my clinic, I have seen how much this election has stirred up fear, anger, stress and anxiety in proportions the likes of which I have never seen before. The current news and this election creates a tsunami of feelings in many of us. Waves of fear, waves of hope, waves of anxiety, waves of outrage, and waves of unease are relentlessly crashing upon the shores of our consciousness.
I don’t think we have ever been more divisive as a nation. The upcoming election has cast a spotlight on our differences and amplifies the energies of “us versus them”, “right versus wrong”, and “true versus fake”. This election has become the personification of these conflicting polar energies preparing for an apocalyptic battle between good and evil.
You, of course, know that you are on the “right” side… whichever side that is. Yes, you are on the “good” team. You are anxious the other side, the “wrong” side, may win this election. You feel the stakes have never been higher. You know that if the other side wins, we will all suffer reprehensible and enduring damage the likes of which we will never recover from.
Wow… that’s big. I understand why this election process is evoking such visceral reactions.
And of course, most pressingly, there remains the looming question which weighs heavy in your heart and mind…
“What if we don’t win?”
Regardless of what side you are on, we are all asking this question.
“What if we don’t win?” This is the question that so many clients have shared is the underlying source of their elevated sensations of fear, stress and anxiety. This is the question that relentlessly runs through their minds when they are trying to sleep. This is the question that causes the general sense of unease which we feel exude through our being.
I am much like you. I too have feelings and attachments to what is happening in the country and with this election. I too have asked myself the question, “What if we don’t win?” I too have been asked this question by my friends who feel we share the same ideology.
A few nights ago, as my family and I were discussing life around our table of empty used dinner dishes, this question came up.
“What if we don’t win?”
After a little deep thought and contemplation, I offered the best answer I knew to be true.
“We are going to love.” I said. “No matter what the outcome, we are going to love. Regardless of who wins and what happens, we are going to love.”
“But that would be really difficult.” One of my daughters shared in a joking, but very serious way.
“Yes, it is.” I responded. It is easy to love when it is convenient, and things are going our way. It is much more difficult to love in the face of adversity. It is challenging to love when someone else gets what you want. It is challenging to love when there is fear.
I was reminded of the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who adopted much of his philosophies from Gandhi, who adopted his philosophies from many of the other great spiritual teachers that came before him. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a key driving force in the civil rights movement. This driving force he preached was Love. His use of non-violent resistance and continual emphasis on the power of Love transformed our nation. He preached Love, even when fire hoses were turned on his brothers and sisters. He preached Love, even when met with anger and violence. He preached Love.
Here are few of my favorite quotes by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that I am trying to keep fresh in my heart and mind at this time.
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
"Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend."
Yes, we are in tumultuous times.
Yes, there is an election approaching.
Yes, there are very opposing and passionate sides.
Yes, the outcome of this election will influence our future.
At this time, there are really only two things you can do about all this now.
#1. You can vote. Play your part in our democratic process.
#2. You get to decide who you will be in response to this election and all that it entails.
You get to decide how you will answer the questions, “What if we don’t win?” and “What if we do win?” Perhaps, regardless of which question you ask, the answer can be the same. Perhaps the answer can be, “We are going to love.”
I wish you all the best of luck at loving if that is what you choose to do. Love as much as you can regardless of who wins this election. Love your Self. Love your family and friends. Love this moment, and this moment, and this moment. Love those who hold opposing beliefs. Even love your enemies.
In closing, I offer one last quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr…
"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear."