I can’t pretend to be okay. I’m not okay. The results of the recent election has me shaken to my core. I’ve been trying to work through my feelings, trying to get to the other side, but it is proving to be very difficult.
Luckily, I happened to be out of the country for the week of the election. We sent in our absentee ballots weeks before we left, crossed our fingers, and hoped for the best. As my family and I watched American news from Central America the night of election day, we were stunned as the results began trickling in. We went to bed that night not yet knowing the results, and I was still in total disbelief that he could possibly win. When my husband and I woke before dawn that following morning, we quickly went online to find out who won…and I was completely and utterly stunned. There was no going back to sleep for me, so I quietly snuck up on to the roof of our rental house and watched the sun rise over the Caribbean. My heart was heavy as I moved through my asana practice, and my meditation felt numb. I was struggling to digest what had happened.
That was a really tough day for me. I was (and still am) terrified. Terrified of what’s to come. Terrified at the thought of these racists across our country that have now been given the green light to say and do as they please. Terrified that my gay and lesbian friends will lose their rights. Terrified that my children, who are working towards their bar mitzvahs, will have to endure anti-semitic comments at school. Terrified about what will happen to Mother Earth if she isn’t properly protected. Terrified about what will happen to the rights of women, both in our ability to choose what they do with their own body as well as our right to be treated with respect. I’m embarrassed for my country. Embarrassed of my country. People around the world are laughing at us for electing such a clown to be our president. I’m horrified that my children’s classmates are now afraid of being deported. Horrified of the hate coming out of our president-elect’s mouth. Confused. Disheartened. Devastated. The list could go on and on…
As I watched my emotions blow around that day, as I worked through waves of anger and crying spells, I realized what I was most upset about. Putting aside the obvious ridiculousness of our new president-elect and his hateful ways and stunning egomania, what I was most upset about was that so many people in America actually voted for him to be president. I know she won the popular vote (thank god!), but there were still an awful lot of people that voted for him. I guess I thought we were better than that. I thought that people would see right through him. I thought that people would do the right thing for their brothers and sisters and for the planet. I really, truly thought that love would trump hate.
I felt let down. And it really hurt.
When I got back home and came in to teach my first yoga class after the election, I can’t lie – I wasn’t feeling like I had very much to offer that day. As I led the class through the practice I could still feel my own emotions swirling. As music has always been a way for me to work through my feelings, I was very purposeful of what songs I played in that class. During savasana I put on a song called Light of Love by Jai-Jagdeesh. This amazingly beautiful song is what made me realize what I need to do to get through my heartache. Here is the segment of words from the song that inspired me that day:
I will dive into each moment because I’ll die as I was born. I will walk at peace, at ease, in grace and flow with the Unknown. I will find the gift in everything, perfection in every way. I will bow at the altar of this and every day. I can’t promise not to feel some fear or to always understand but I’ll be the change I wish to see; I will hold every hand. I am tangled up in beauty, I see clearly that it’s me. I have opened up my heart and surrendered Unto Thee. I am the child. I am the mother. I am your bride and your lover. I am everything great and small. I am the One, I am it all. I am the light of love. I am the light of love.
So that’s just it for me. I don’t have to understand how we got into this mess. I don’t have to be okay with what happened. The only way through this, for me, is to rise above it. As Michelle Obama so eloquently put it, “when they go low, we go high.” I can be the light of love. I can be the lighthouse. I can still carry the message of equality, acceptance, and generosity, even when so many people in the country are saying and doing hateful and hurtful things. I can fill my heart with hope and light and love. I can be the change I wish to see. And I know I am not alone. I know I am not alone.