Sometimes I just need to log things for myself. To prove that they actually happen, and as a record for myself. If you're interested in this very long post, this is how it went down for me....
Tuesday November 8th.
I woke up knowing who I would vote for, only wondering what time I should sneak over to the poll to avoid the lines.
I practiced Sit Spot for 30 minutes. Feeling overwhelmed by the power of the day. The squirrels seemed unaffected but I certainly was not, I was already tearful at times. As I sat I watched a black turkey vulture circling in the sky above me. I noticed my disgust and disdain for the bird. Then wished it was a hawk. But, it wasn't a hawk. I realized it soared just as beautifully as a hawk though it wasn't as flashy looking. And I realized I'd been taught not to like the vulture -- but in reality it was serving a great purpose to the natural world by eating what had already died. Then the roadkill was actually fueling another's life. Maybe it helped make sense of the death.
Then I walked my dog. I've been struggling with Gratitude lately. I walked my dog and was humbled by wave after wave of gratitude. Grateful for Hillary for running, for being strong enough to stand in a man's world as a woman and go for it. Grateful for Tim for stepping up and being such an example. I was teary as I passed his house on the way home to mine. And considered bringing my sticker back to the sidewalk outside his door after I voted (I didn't make that happen) I felt gratitude for all of the people running the election and everyone out to vote and the Secret Service people on the corner. Everyone.
Around 9:15 I walked to my polling place. Stood in line for 30 minutes. Cast my vote for the first woman president. I don't own a pantsuit but I wore mine on the inside. I was 3 hours too late to vote with Tim Kaine unfortunately.
I came home proud and nervous/excited. I came home and kept dreaming of telling my daughter that we as a nation had elected the first woman president ever. I dropped in and out of Facebook and kept having my heart filled and filled and filled by all of the women voting for Hillary.
I had a call with my Nature Based Coach Training Group. And felt even more gratitude.
Driving to work I considered Donald Trump in a different way: He did a great job of showing us our Shadow. Wow! And I figured that would be the end of needing to consider him.
That night I taught yoga. It's always a tricky situation to try to teach and hold sacred space for others when I myself am feeling worked up. That night, Tuesday night, I felt confident about the election going in to teach. And in Richmond we had a real doozy of a Mayoral candidate too. It felt like a double jeopardy situation. I joked with my students that being at yoga was better than being home drinking... but that afterwards I hoped to be toasting with champagne, not whiskey. (I don't really drink btw)
I got home around 9pm and we turned on the television. It was shocking to watch from the start. As the night got later and I still had some hope I remember thinking : "Gosh, when he loses some people in middle America are really going to need to be loved up on. We need to listen to them and love them better." (By we I think I was thinking educated city dwellers)
The night went on. By 11pm we were tired of the laughter on Fox News and the frustration and surprise on NBC and CNN. By 11:30 my husband called it quits. She had won Virginia by that time, thank goodness. We did our part here in my house. As my husband said, this will go on for a while and won't be decided by whether we stay up for it or not.
I'm really grateful that I went to bed. And even more grateful that I slept. I thank exercise and parenting for that night of sleep.
Wednesday November 9th
I woke up to bad news.
My toddler had peed in our bed. With us in it. So that was awesome.
My husband checked his phone first and didn't say a word. So I knew. I opened Instagram of all things and knew just by the tone of one post. Finally I typed a search for election results. These words:
"Donald Trump has won the Presidency" and a picture of his head.
I rolled over and put my head down on my pillow (which was dry btw)
As I contemplated how I was going to tell my daughter, my tears started to flow. And as I went to wake her my son started singing the Darth Vader theme song (no joke). I couldn't tell her. I'd dreamed of waking her to say that we would have a woman president. I couldn't tell her that it wasn't happening yet. I dressed, uncharacteristically, all in black.
My husband told her. And I told her I was sad about it.
In the first few minutes and hours my reaction ranged from pure sadness back to gratitude to Hillary and Tim... then on to how this is actually calling us to LIVE all the love and woman power we've been talking about in the last few weeks. And feeling the call to action that so many people are making.
In the first little while my reaction included running to middle America to love people more because that's what they need. Then I realized that that was pretty presumptuous. How do I know what they need? I don't at all. I shifted towards well... maybe I could go and listen to them. Maybe they need people to listen, and after I listen they will feel loved, and when they feel loved and listened to we can go about fixing whatever it is that is wrong that would make them feel like they have to vote for Trump. But still. Even that doesn't hit it. Then I figured, I don't actually have to go to middle America, I could go one county over and find majority Trump supporters. I can stay and act close to home to change things (read, change them!)
I went out to work out. Which seriously, best idea ever. Exercise and getting straight and powerfully into my body. Wonderful.
And then I had to teach. I did not want to teach. I wanted to sit and talk. And my students all came in with differing levels of ability to make sense of the results and ability to handle it. How badly I'd have liked NOT to be the one holding the space. But I've made this contract that I will be the one to hold the space. So. I did.
When I have nothing. I go back to basics: Breathe and Move. Remember the Universal inside of you - Remember your Humanity. By the end we had laughed a bit, and they had worked their bodies hard. And we remember our divinity and our humanity and honor it in ourselves... and in ALL others.
I picked up my son from preschool and looked into the tired sad eyes of all the women there. I wished they'd worked out or practiced yoga this morning. I felt my aliveness amidst the sadness.
That afternoon I helped out a friend with a photoshoot for Superfun Yoga Pants. A brand all about spreading joy and celebrating women. Being with women who celebrate women was perfect just then.
Mentally, I never turned towards anger or blame. So. I think yoga, meditation, and coaching are working. But I still felt a call towards action - and the action was in some way directed towards fixing people (who aren't me)
In the evening I read this piece by Martha Beck, and my hold out came down. It isn't about "fixing" anyone, or changing anyone. It is about looking inside of myself and changing myself. In this moment it is looking hard and deep and the gross inequalities I honestly did not know existed in this country and saying those things are NOT ok with me. And at the very same time allowing for the people who hold very different beliefs from mine to live and be and not try to fix them. They aren't broken.
The way we are treating each other is broken. The way we are treating the Earth is broken.
I can't fix another person, because there's nothing to be fixed. But I can, in small and large ways work to fix how I behave in this country.
Tonight - 48 hours after -
I saw a photo of Hillary out hiking this afternoon with her dog. Yeah. we all need to do that.
I also had the opportunity to sit with my meditation group - we talked about neutralizing rather than joining in fear. And then I had an hour plus conversation with Micheal Trotta from Sagefire Institute about so many things, not Trump related, but real. About how on Earth we do great work and then we are just REAL PEOPLE in the world without our work.
Here's where I am now. Waves come and go: Grief, Gratitude, Shock, Surprise, sometimes Fear but I try to keep that one small, Willingness to look at my personal shadow more and at our national shadow, and a call to service.
We must look at our own shadows and our national shadow. Just looking at our own will change so many things on so many levels... If you've not done any work with shadow before a good place to start on that is the book: The Dark Side of the Light Chasers by Debbie Ford. Especially recommended if you're in the place of Blaming, and Judging people or only wanting to "see the good in this situation"
If you don't have a Work yet that invites you to look at yourself in all of your glory and challenge, I recommend you get one. Not for the faint of heart but seriously, you can do it. And get yourself a community to do it in if you can.
And, Carry On. Don't hold back.
I hold back a lot of my ideas and my thoughts for how to connect with others, ways I'd like to serve, simply my ideas on life. And I just can't do that anymore. It's stupid and fear based to start. But someone out there needs what I have. And I need to share it. Imagine if we all shared our gifts, love, and desire to connect out with the rest of the world. What a place we would live in.
And I'm thinking a lot about all the women. I want Pantsuit Nation to become a real thing. We thought we might put a woman in charge and then the rest of us could go back to sleep or something. We'd put her up there - One woman set to lead the whole nation. No. I think this is giving us the opportunity to turn it around - an entire nation of women each leading in how we create a more loving, accepting, listening, supportive, caring, nurturing world.
But, guess what, we don't get the better world without addressing our shadows. Until we do that we're stuck. So if you've got a shadow, I'm so cool with that. I have one too. She goes by many names: Super Bitch being one of the stronger ones. I'm trying to pull her out into the light, I'm happy to support you to do the same.
Finally I think each of us has our own way of leading the way into a more compassionate and loving world. Hillary got way out there in front, Thank Goodness! I'm not that woman. My way is VERY different from hers. I hold space in yoga and coaching for people to see their shadows and love them, and to move out of old useless habits. My way is different, but my way is important. And my way is shifting into more activism too possibly. Let's all do what we can, where we can, as we are called to do.
You make a difference. Still.
If you are still reading this. Thank you. It takes a lot for me to publish this and not just write it in my own personal journal. It takes a lot for me to put it out feeling unsettled and unfinished. Like it is in process and I don't know if it is the "right" response or even how I will be feeling tomorrow. But this is what I have been thinking and feeling up until this point. I hope you can hold space for me to continue to grow and change. I'll do the same for you my loves.