I found it hard to think compassionate thoughts and harder still not to scream and shout at the computer screen. Simply because I am bone-crushed weary of misogyny, vitriol, and brutality. Cruelty is not a default position, or a natural reflex reaction.
This came as a surprise to me but according to research we are kind critters. Colour me shocked. And that doesn't even take into consideration the times we get hurt or hurt others in an attempt to help them. It's complicated, all right.
Every vote counts. This is my plan for Tuesday, November 8th: act better, be better, and do better at spreading kindness. Increase the peace. Avoid unnecessary arguments and disagreements. Avoid gossiping, judgmental thoughts or critical assessments about how I or anyone else should be living their life.
This coming Tuesday is not the day for me to give in to cynicism or despair. The battleground might seem like it is Arizona, or Florida, but the political is personal, is everywhere. 65 million refugees are on the move right now, searching for a place to call home. Isn't that what everyone wants? A home, a friend, a job, the need to feel like they are part of something bigger, love, understanding?
By Buddha, we are all connected. When one suffers, we all suffer. But we knew this. We might not have felt it immediately or intensely because our skins have thickened to survive childhood, personal failures and the weather.
On Tuesday, November 8th, I will sit down first thing after getting up and offer a Loving Kindness meditation for my American cousins--the ones I’ve never met due to the diaspora and the distant ones, meaning everyone.
I will chant a mantra and recite a prayer.
I will sing off-key.
I will turn the word compassion into a verb. I will never let that part of my heart ever get rusty or bolted shut.
I will ask for forgiveness, especially from that woman in Big Carrot who I'm still miffed about. Mother of Goddess, that ain't gonna be easy. That will be a clemency masterpiece.
I will smile at more strangers.
Give out change in order to be the change I want to see.
Every hurt, frustration, sadness or broken trust I’ve endured will be subsumed by my efforts--with some help from the tuxedo cake in the fridge. Every kindness I have received will be amplified and magnified.
Then, no matter what, I will wake up on Wednesday, November 9th and repeat the practice Pema Chödrön suggests—recognize, refrain, relax, and resolve. It's a living.