It’s Friday, 11/11/16 and I have been deeply touched by the devotional choir of writers, artists, environmentalist, Indigenous Peoples post the election of Trump.
Here are some of my favorite people’s sentiments. Suzanne Lewis, Editor
Copyright © 2016 by Alice Walker
When I was a child growing up in middle Georgia, I thought all white men were like Donald Trump. They too seemed petulant and spoiled, unhappy with everything they were not the center of, brutal toward the feelings of those “beneath” them, and comfortable causing others to act out of hate. How did we survive this?
I think of my father, a poor sharecropper with eight children, so desperate for change in a system that left his family in danger of starving that he walked to the polling place – a tiny, white owned store in the middle of nowhere – to cast the first vote by a black person in the county. Three white men holding shotguns sat watching him, for niggers were not supposed to vote and they were there to enforce this common law. My father voted for Roosevelt and a “New Deal” he hoped would also apply to black people.
I come from a line of folks who chose to live or die on their feet. My 4-Greats grandmother was forced to walk chained from a slave ship in Virginia, and carried two small children that probably weren’t hers all the way to Middle Georgia. There she was forced to work for strange, pale people who could only have appeared to be demons to her. She was given as a wedding gift to a young married couple when she was advanced in age; what the story of this event was is a mystery to this day. All we know is that she lived to bury all these people and that it is her who is remembered.
My aunts and uncles learned trades – tailoring, bricklaying, masonry, house-building – whatever was allowed for black people, and raised their children in homes of stability and even comfort, while the white world beyond their neighborhoods attempted to squeeze them into corners so tiny that to the majority of “citizens” of the cities they lived in, they did not even exist.
How to survive dictatorship. That is what much of the rest of the world has had to learn. Our country has imposed this condition on so many places and peoples around the globe it is naive to imagine we would avoid it. Besides, do Native Americans and African American descendents of enslaved people not realize they have never lived in anything but a dictatorship?
In this election we did not really have a healthy choice, as is said in a commercial for something I vaguely remember. Or, as a friend puts it: “‘the “choice” was between disaster and catastrophe.”‘ If this puzzles you, here is the next step of my counsel: Study. Really attempt to understand the people you are voting for. What are they doing when they’re not smiling at you in anticipation of your vote? Study hard, deeply, before the Internet is closed, before books are disappeared. Know your history and the ways it has been kept secret from you. Understand how politicians you vote for understand your history better than you do; which helps them manipulate your generations. It is our ignorance that keeps us hoping somebody we elect will do all the work while we drive off to the mall. Forget this behavior as if it were a dream. It was. In some way, many of us will find, perhaps to our astonishment, that we have not really lived until this moment.
Our surprise, our shock, our anger, all of it points to how fast asleep we were.
This is not a lament. It is counsel. It is saying: We can awaken completely. The best sign of which will be how we treat every being who crosses our path. For real change is personal. The change within ourselves expressed in our willingness to hear, and have patience with, the “other.” Together we move forward. Anger, the pointing of fingers, the wishing that everyone had done exactly as you did, none of that will help relieve our pain. We are here now. In this scary, and to some quite new and never imagined place. What do we do with our fear?
Do we turn on others, or toward others? Do we share our awakening, or only our despair?
The choice is ours.
WE WERE MADE FOR THESE TIMES
Clarissa Pinkola Estes
My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.
You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.
I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.
Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.
In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.
We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn’t you say you were a believer? Didn’t you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn’t you ask for grace? Don’t you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?
Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.
What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.
One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.
Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.
There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.
The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.
By Clarissa Pinkola Estes
American poet, post-trauma specialist and Jungian psychoanalyst, author of Women Who Run With the Wolves.
Jeremy Taylor DREAM EXPERT INTERPRETING THIS WAKING DREAM TRUMP THE NIGHTMARE
According to dream expert and author Jeremy Taylor, who has worked with dreams for over 40 years, all dreams come in the interest of health and wholeness. All dreams. Even nightmares, which bring insights so crucial and timely that they scare us to get our attention.
This election nightmare is no different. It is offering you exactly what you need at this precise time to grow and evolve. But first you have to be willing to look deeply at what is happening beneath the headlines and heed the wisdom being offered you.
So let’s do some dream work, shall we?
Working with the Trump Nightmare
On center stage of your nightmare stands the character of Donald Trump. If you take him at a literal level you may see him as a villain bringing out the worst in us.
But dreams don’t operate at the literal level. They are much more sophisticated. They demand that we approach them at the symbolic and metaphorical level―and they pretty much always turn the tables on what we assume to be true.
So if this were my dream (and of course it is), rather than a villain, Donald Trump would be playing the role of a gifted spiritual teacher. I’ll explain what I mean by that.
First and foremost, spiritual teachers help us see and transcend ego, enabling us to shed the ego’s illusions so that we can awaken to the truth of our divine nature. The character of Donald Trump is functioning in my dream as a spiritual teacher of the highest order because he is showing me in unmistakable terms what ego looks like. After all, if I can’t see what ego looks like, how can I ever hope to transcend it?
Based on the fallacy of separateness, the ego is an erroneous thought system that causes me to perceive reality upside down―like a lens that inverts the light passing through it so that an object appears upside down.
The thought system of ego generates in my mind an illusory world of fear, hierarchy, domination, and death, while obscuring from my awareness the reality of oneness, love, reciprocity, and immortality.
Thanks to my spiritual teacher I am able to witness the ego in a caricatured, exaggerated form. Beholding his example, I can see how the ego seeks attention, perceives itself to be greater than others, and believes that greatness rests on wealth, fame, influence, and the ability to dominate others.
By depicting the ego in such an unbridled fashion, Donald Trump is giving me the tools I need to detect these same ego tendencies within myself, even when they show up in subtler forms.
My teacher is also impressing upon me the urgency of shedding this erroneous thought system by showing me where it would lead me: down the path of animosity, division, blame, projection, and violence.
If this were my dream (and, like I said, it is) by running for president, my spiritual teacher is placing before me a straightforward question: Do I really want to elect the ego to sit in the Oval Office of my executive function?
Dissolving the Nightmare
Now this is where the teaching of Donald Trump, blessed be his name, becomes truly sublime, demanding that I really step up to the plate of my own spiritual maturity. He isn’t simply giving me the chance to decide whether I want ego sitting in my Oval Office. He is caricaturing the ego to such a degree that he is practically begging me to see through its act entirely and opt out of its drama completely.
Here’s what I mean.
Only the ego attacks. In fact, outside of the ego’s inverted, illusory world attack doesn’t even exist. So if I attack my spiritual teacher, who is so graciously showing me what I need to see in myself, if I respond to him or his followers with anger, ridicule, hatred and blame, I have in fact elected, inaugurated and installed ego in my Oval Office. I am keeping alive the fallacy of separateness and ensuring that the nightmare continues.
But if I can see through my teacher’s ingenious, theatrical ego-charade and see the divine radiant Being that he truly is, a Being who for my own benefit has been willing to cloak his true nature even from himself in order to help me awaken, and if I can begin to see that the same divine radiance is my own true essence, then I will have learned what this nightmare has come to show me. The fallacy of separateness falls away, the nightmare dissolves and the angels rejoice.
The Global Dream
But let’s zoom out for a moment, because this nightmare isn’t just your personal dream, nor mine. This is a national nightmare, a global nightmare, a collective dream. So let’s listen to what it is telling us about what we need in order to heal as a country and a world.
In the world’s dream, the United States is the Donald Trump of nations, and our spiritual teacher is helping us see how we must appear to others—believing we are better than they are, and that our wealth, influence, and military force make us great.
Is it any wonder that such bravado would evoke attack from others who are caught up in the ego’s inverted world of hatred, division and violence?
But what might happen if we were suddenly to wake up from our own ego dream? What if we realized that this national ego that likes to call the shots on the world stage, flex its military muscles, and flaunt its wealth isn’t US at all?
What if it dawned on US that our greatness doesn’t reside in riches or military might, but rather in the capacity to know and express right side-up reality: that we are all on this planet as an interdependent community of equals?
If we were to come to that realization, the world’s dream would change in the twinkling of an eye, and Donald Trump, supreme teacher that he is, will have accomplished his task.
How, then, could we be anything but deeply grateful that he has deigned to be among us, helping US awaken to the truth of who we are?
JohnPavlovitz.com John Pavlovitz
I don’t think you understand us right now.
I think you think this is about politics.
I think you believe this is all just sour grapes; the crocodile tears of the losing locker room with the scoreboard going against us at the buzzer.
I can only tell you that you’re wrong. This is not about losing an election. This isn’t about not winning a contest. This is about two very different ways of seeing the world.
Hillary supporters believe in a diverse America; one where religion or skin color or sexual orientation or place of birth aren’t liabilities or deficiencies or moral defects. Her campaign was one of inclusion and connection and interdependency. It was about building bridges and breaking ceilings. It was about going high.
Trump supporters believe in a very selective America; one that is largely white and straight and Christian, and the voting verified this. Donald Trump has never made any assertions otherwise. He ran a campaign of fear and exclusion and isolation—and that’s the vision of the world those who voted for him have endorsed.
They have aligned with the wall-builder and the professed p*ssy-grabber, and they have co-signed his body of work, regardless of the reasons they give for their vote:
Every horrible thing Donald Trump ever said about women or Muslims or people of color has now been validated.
Every profanity-laced press conference and every call to bully protestors and every ignorant diatribe has been endorsed.
Every piece of anti-LGBTQ legislation Mike Pence has championed has been signed-off on.
Half of our country has declared these things acceptable, noble, American.
This is the disconnect and the source of our grief today. It isn’t a political defeat that we’re lamenting, it’s a defeat for Humanity.
We’re not angry that our candidate lost. We’re angry because our candidate’s losing means this country will be less safe, less kind, and less available to a huge segment of its population, and that’s just the truth.
Those who have always felt vulnerable are now left more so. Those whose voices have been silenced will be further quieted. Those who always felt marginalized will be pushed further to the periphery. Those who feared they were seen as inferior now have confirmation in actual percentages.
Those things have essentially been campaign promises of Donald Trump, and so many of our fellow citizens have said this is what they want too.
This has never been about politics.
This is not about one candidate over the other.
It’s not about one’s ideas over another’s.
It is not blue vs. red.
It’s not her emails vs. his bad language.
It’s not her dishonesty vs. his indecency.
It’s about overt racism and hostility toward minorities.
It’s about religion being weaponized.
It’s about crassness and vulgarity and disregard for women.
It’s about a barricaded, militarized, bully nation.
It’s about an unapologetic, open-faced ugliness.
And it is not only that these things have been ratified by our nation that grieve us; all this hatred, fear, racism, bigotry, and intolerance—it’s knowing that these things have been amen-ed by our neighbors, our families, our friends, those we work with and worship alongside. That is the most horrific thing of all. We now know how close this is.
It feels like living in enemy territory being here now, and there’s no way around that. We wake up today in a home we no longer recognize. We are grieving the loss of a place we used to love but no longer do. This may be America today but it is not the America we believe in or recognize or want.
This is not about a difference of political opinion, as that’s far too small to mourn over. It’s about a fundamental difference in how we view the worth of all people—not just those who look or talk or think or vote the way we do.
Grief always laments what might have been, the future we were robbed of, the tomorrow that we won’t get to see, and that is what we walk through today. As a nation we had an opportunity to affirm the beauty of our diversity this day, to choose ideas over sound bytes, to let everyone know they had a place at the table, to be the beacon of goodness and decency we imagine that we are—and we said no.
The Scriptures say that weeping endures for a night but joy comes in the morning. We can’t see that dawn coming any time soon.
And this is why we grieve. JohnPavlovitz.com John Pavlovitz