Failure Helps Us Grow
As I watched the results of the election filter in Tuesday night, I had a visceral reaction of anger, exasperation, and hopelessness. I was angry at the people who have talked for eight years now about the monstrous tyrant in the oval office who has threatened our freedom. I was angry that these same people have created their own worst nightmare for all of us to live and suffer through. I was angry that so many people felt like this was a race between two equal evils. I’ve read enough books about war and genocide to know what happens when someone like Trump becomes the leader of a country. I cried tears of anguish for the people who are most vulnerable to the terrors that could arise from this presidency. I cried for the people who have suffered throughout the history of the world under tyranny that came to exist through such thoughtless unconsciousness.
As I continued to watch with growing hopelessness, I began to realize that the outcome of the election didn’t matter that much anyway. I could see so clearly the deep wound that exists in our country, and it’s not going to be healed by elected officials, no matter who they are. Donald Trump is a symptom of that wound. Hillary Clinton was only a band aid that we were attempting to put on a deep hemorrhaging wound. That’s human nature, to put a band aid on and tell ourselves we’re okay. I wanted our next commander in chief to be a woman. I wanted to point her out to my daughters and say “Look, you can be and do anything.” I wanted it so badly and still do. I wanted the band aid to be the cure. I felt like if we could just fall onto the soft cushion of status quo, maybe we could get our footing and continue to move forward.
But Tuesday night my hopes sank to rock bottom as I realized that we were falling below that status quo cushion. We were falling to rock bottom as a country. It didn’t happen because we elected Donald Trump as president. We were already there. Trump is only the symptom. We are the problem. As an American body we are hemorrhaging. We have to go to where the pain is. We have to cure the illness. It hurts to know that it’s not time to move forward. It hurts especially as a woman to know that it’s not time for us yet. How long have we struggled and fought as women for our feminine energy to rule the world equally next to the masculine energy? But it’s not time, not time yet….
There are wounds to heal. It’s going to be painful and messy. We need to heal our whole body for this to work. We need to patiently, lovingly bring everyone together for this to work. Yes, that means the old white men who want things to be the way they were back when women were created to serve men. It doesn’t help to call people who voted for Trump stupid, crazy, racist bigots. We need to listen to people. We need to set aside the visceral reaction we have to different realities that don’t fit into our own realities. We need to get out of our echo chambers and let go of our need to only hear what fits into our own belief system and the story in which we live. We need to worry less about being right and being vindicated, and care more about what is right for our country, our whole country, even those who don’t live in the same reality as us.
We need to stop vote shaming each other. There are too many things that we shame people for and I have seen people shamed in this election for every possible choice they could have made for president. People have been shamed for voting for Trump, voting for a third party candidate against Clinton, and for voting for Clinton. We need to remember that we have more in common than we have in opposition. We’re not “those liberals” or “those conservatives” or “those crazy Trump supporters” or “those fanatic Bernie supporters who didn’t get on board.” We’re sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, friends, partners who love our families and communities. We all want happiness, success, love, belonging, and the basic necessities of life. I think that last one is what is really holding us back from making the progress we want to make. As long as some of us are struggling to get those basic necessities of life, none of us can reach higher to the greater things we want to accomplish.
After a sleepless night, I woke up yesterday morning and dragged my sorrow and despair along with me to my yoga class. I walked into the studio and saw on the faces of people I love, the look that expressed how I felt. We hugged and shared in each other’s sorrow. And as I began my class, I realized that I am constantly saying in yoga to let go of perfection. Be okay with where you are today, be patient with the practice and the process. Sometimes people are struggling with issues in their bodies that are holding them back from where they want to go with their yoga practice. I am always talking about how failure is part of the practice. Failure is painful and failure helps us to learn and grow. As an American body, we have failed. That’s part of the practice of freedom and progression toward a more loving, vibrant, equal world. Hate did not win in this election. Love failed, and through that failure and the pain that follows, I have faith that it will grow into something better and stronger. Then it will be time to reach higher, and I hope, finally shatter that glass ceiling.