Failure Helps Us Grow

Autumn Tree by Elise F.

Autumn Tree by Elise F.

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.


Jenny graduated from BYU with a bachelor degree in humanities. she teaches yoga classes and spends her time hanging out with her four kids, reading, writing, and running.

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9 Responses

  1. Heather says:

    Thank you Jenny. Thanks for going high.

  2. Lily says:

    I am at a total loss as to how to do this.

    “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. ”

    Really? How? Allow them to grab women by the crotch? Tell them what they want is ok? THEY need to compromise. I will not budge on this issue.

    • Jenny says:

      I feel your anger and I share it. I’m not talking about giving up your ideals. I’m not even so much talking about compromise here. Mostly I’m talking about listening and acknowledging other people’s realities, no matter how far off base you think they are. There are a lot of angry people in this country who feel like they’ve been left behind on the path to the American dream. They feel like they haven’t been heard. That’s what their reality told them this election was about. And whether that is based in fact or not, it’s now become a dangerous reality for all of us. This election has proven that we can’t move forward while dragging people unwillingly behind. We need to find a way to listen to and work with people we disagree with. We need to work with people where they’re at and not discount the way they view the world. I’m not just talking to liberals and feminists, I’m talking to everyone. I can’t stand it when my friends talk about “those liberals” or”those feminists” and just discount some very real struggles I’ve dealt with in my life as though my concerns are not legitimate. I think conservatives feel the same way. Some of my closest friends are women who completely disagree with me religiously and politically and don’t understand my reality because it doesn’t fit with their own, but they listen to me, and they think about me on election night when they know how much pain I will be feeling. And some of them may have even voted for Trump. It doesn’t matter.

    • Jenny says:

      I know my answer didn’t give any really practical ways for doing this, but this podcast was really helpful for me and I’m excited to read the book too.

  3. Melissa says:

    Yes, Jenny. Thank you.

    I come from a blue collar family. Through extraordinary events I ended up going to college, and getting out of that sphere of life. A few years ago I read someone on facebook speaking poorly of people who work at Walmart. “If they *really* wanted to do more with their lives, they could.” “They can get better jobs, they just need to go to college.” And on, and on, and on. Many of the conversations surrounding the vote have reminded me of this. Not that I am without indignation over Trump — my heart was broken when I saw that he would win. But when I would listen to conversations on NPR about the blue collar white people who were supporting him, it reminded me of where I come from and how impossibly difficult it was for me to make it through college. It was a literal miracle. As repugnant as Trump is (and he is VERY repugnant), I can see how complicated this matter is from different angles.

  4. Robin says:

    This is so helpful.

  5. Holly says:

    Thank you, Jenny.

  6. Suzette says:

    Jenny – I needed this today. I’ve been stumbling around this week – trying to make sense of my new world. And you helped give words to many of may feelings. This post goes in my journal. Thank you. S

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