Heading to my classes this past week it was clear, emotions from the election were still running high, so high in fact, I ditched my lessons plans at more than one venue because I thought addressing the angst many were feeling, overrode what I had originally set out to teach.
Are you still feelin' it? Some level of emotion around what happened earlier this month? And don't assume anything on my part. When I ask that question, I do so not assuming you are disappointed or elated. I simply asked a question. Assumptions get us into all sorts of trouble, but we'll leave that topic for another time.
When I asked my students to share with me in one word what they were feeling, I sat back listening to words like "fear, hopelessness, despair" or "happy, optimistic and pleased." It felt at times like there were no "grey areas" with many of my students. Simply the "black and white" of where they were vs. where others were and as we all know, life is pretty much lived, in the grey areas.
So from Mindfulness Educator to art teacher I became. In some sense of the word, I tried to offer them the ability to "see grey" again, maybe even admit that it was a color or in the most extreme cases, introduce them to the concept. G-R-E-Y. You know, the concept that there were more than options beyond the world coming to an end OR the idea that all our issues as a country will be solved?
Here was my bottom line. The reality is set. The victor proclaimed. Now what? Easy, you have two choices when you face reality. You can choose to accept it or suffer. Stay with me people. This is where I hear the "Yea, but's" all the time. You cannot argue with the fact that, who has been elected, is. That being said, you also cannot argue with the fact that you have two choices, because you do. I reminded my students who were unhappy with the outcome that acceptance does not mean condonement. BIG difference! You can accept what is simply because you do not wish to suffer any longer. That, my friends, is a very mature thing to do.
Now let's say you've decided that you have suffered enough the last two weeks but you still have those feelings inside. I call those feelings, energy, because they are. You can even "feel" the feelings in your body, right? Think about it. Ever get butterflies in your tummy when you were going to see someone you dig? Yea, feelings have energy accompanying them.
So what's next? You have accepted reality, even if you don't condone what transpired, you have these feelings, this energy that you've spent over the past two weeks, possibly lamenting the outcome. What to do with that energy now? Simple, divert it into something productive. Take the energy you have put into the feelings of loss and put them into something that will drive the things you feel most passionate about, forward.
Make a donation to that environmental cause that touches your heart, "pony up" some time to bear witness and offer assistance to the poor and marginalized, become active in the next campaign if that's where your interests lie.
In other words, do some good with that energy and "newsflash", it doesn't even have to go beyond yourself. I'm big on the idea that peace outside of us begins with peace inside of us so even if you divert that energy into being kinder to yourself, taking more time out for yourself or simply being still and present in your own life, you are spending your energy very wisely.
Still feelin' it? I hope you consider what I shared with my students and with each of you this day. The likes of what I have seen transpire over the past couple of weeks, I have never experienced before. The passion we can generate as individuals, as a Nation is beautiful but in the end, it all comes down to where we choose to place it.
Choose to place it well.