What is going to make America great again? What does this really mean? What kind of greatness is being implied? Again? When? This is just a slogan that has been repeated in order to brainwash the masses. This is the time to reflect on what greatness truly means. Greatness for me involves engaging in the activities that will make life better for myself and all of human kind. But, how can we elevate our consciousness while also understanding and accepting that there are people who have voted for and embrace values very different from our own?
Even when people are acting and reacting in ways we don’t like, by judging and vilifying them, by doing to them what they are doing to us, we will never create peace, happiness, equality or inclusivity. In America we have seen many great leaders of different ethnicities and nationalities, of different gender identities and sexual preferences, religious preferences and social classes, who have fought for equality and inclusion and have taught compassion and empathy. How can we, at this time in particular, become America’s next great leaders by embracing our own inner Martin Luther King, Jr., Susan B. Anthony, Abraham Lincoln, or Sojourner Truth.
HOW DO WE BECOME PEACEFUL REVOLUTIONARIES?
We are all being called to be peaceful revolutionaries. Now we have a new president with politics that more than half the voters don’t agree with, how are we going to open our hearts and give our energy at this moment when we not only don’t feel represented, but in many cases, actually feel threatened? During this difficult and challenging period in our history, instead of letting our worst selves lead, why don’t we let our very best selves show us the way?
Maybe we are being called to follow our dreams and our hearts, to speak up and be seen, rather than burying our heads in the sand, hoping this time will pass quickly and quietly. Perhaps this is the moment to live by example, to give our time, our energy, our hearts, our support, to the causes we think are good for the world. For you it may be environmental protection, or perhaps human rights… reproductive rights, pay equality, affordable healthcare for all, or good public education. The list is endless, but that allow the size of the list scare you away. Find the one that truly resonates in your heart and go with it.
We all have the power to make a meaningful contribution to the world, not from hatred or revenge, not from doing something against, but by focusing on doing something in favor of… Perhaps many of us have never experienced this level of giving. Here in the States, we are experiencing something we thought belonged to the past. It is extremely challenging to truly see, respect, and honor the essence of others. We are busy judging people based on who they voted for. We think that who they voted for represents all of what they stand for and who they really are. We don't need to believe everything we think.
DEALING WITH OUR OWN JUDGMENTS ABOUT THE OTHER POLITICAL SIDE…AND YOUR FRIEND WHO VOTED FOR THEM
Can we let go of those judgments and just simply see the essence, the Soul, of the human being? That doesn’t mean we have to be involved with or support people whose values are not our own, but if we release our judgments, recognize their true essence and accept what is, we will then have the energyto focus our positive energy on supporting and promoting the agendas and initiatives we care about and believe will benefit the world. We must lead and teach by example.
Because of the results of the election, feelings of fear are being expressed by many groups of people who feel marginalized and threatened by the new administration. Nonetheless, I have too many well-meaning friends who keep saying everything is going to be okay. According to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary the medical definition of denial is: “A psychological defense mechanism in which confrontation with a personal problem or with reality is avoided by denying the existence of the problem or reality.” In other words… saying, thinking, believing that “everything is going to be okay”is denial, or simply an attempt to make things good no matter what. That is if you think and believe everything is going to be okay….without any positive action.
ARE YOU IN DENIAL?
“No worries…” is the definition of the Swahili expression, hakuna matata, which is also the name of a famous song in the animated Disney movie version of The Lion King. This is not the time to adopt the “hakuna matata” mantra for two, four, or eight more years. If our new president does everything he says he’s going to do, everything is not going to be okay! If you are not in alignment with his policies or actions, yet you are attempting to bypass your feelings and fears simply to stay “positive,”you might be in denial.
I understand that some people may be using denial to protect themselves from feeling fearful and/or powerless. If you feel you are doing this, I encourage you to ask yourself how this “protection” is serving you. Are there other areas in your life you refuse to look at clearly? The answers to these self-inquiries might reveal areas in your life that you don’t want to face or get involved with. Living in denial is not an option when you want to live your life fully and in integrity with your highest values.
MOVING FROM DENIAL, TO ACCEPTANCE, TO FORGIVENESS
Accepting how things are, even if we don’t like them, does not mean that we condone them. When you are able to accept you be able to move forward, and thus giving you the ability to work on the areas and issues that are important to us. Even though the results of this election feel like a huge cloud of darkness for a lot of people, this is the moment when we need to shed Light.
Acceptance is the first step towards forgiveness and by accepting what is and responding consciously, we can move into what is important to us. Forgiveness can help us stand strong and be empowered during these times. Forgiveness is the tool that helps us release the judgements that keep us stuck in our false beliefs that “everything will be okay,” or that we don’t have the power to effect change. We don’t have to like it, but by accepting what is, we free ourselves to move forward, we free ourselves to act in our best interest as well as in the best interest of others.
A MODERN DAY REVOLUTIONARY
Rage Against the Machine’s Zach De La Rocha screams “It has to start somewhere, it has to start sometime, what better place than here, what better time than NOW!” in his 1999 hit. Zach’s words and energy in this song are contagious and motivating, but we MUST make this a peaceful revolution. A revolution nonetheless. We cannot wait until the next elections. To be effective, we must accept what is… I know it’s tempting to hold tight to righteousness and blame – They did this… They are the ones who have driven us backwards as a nation… I didn’t vote for him... – but this is a waste of time and energy, just as attempting to persuade the Trump supporters to think the way we think, is a waste of time and energy. The solution is not to stay in blame or spend too much time arguing. When we’ve finally moved on from these very understandable impulses, using our time and energy to focus on what we can do to make a positive and significant difference, is the way to exercise our power.
Our Peaceful Revolution is very likely going to be extraordinarily challenging, because there are so many institutions that are not going to support us. Great activism is born during challenging times, but we are not alone. I encourage you to consider one of Obama’s last tweets as President: “I won’t stop; I’ll be right there with you as a citizen, inspired by your voices of truth and justice, good humor, and love.”
I heard former President Obama’s words as a call to action, so on the day after the inauguration, I chose to demonstrate peacefully along with the millions of men and women around the world who ventured out of their houses and into the streets to stand up for human rights. I was proud to march among women and men of all ages carrying signs stating that discrimination is not okay, that love is love, that climate change exists, and that women’s right are human rights! And I also realize that marching for just one day isn’t enough. Which is why I’m passionate about the work I do helping people truly find themselves and excel at their passions and spreading peace that way. What do you stand for? What is your mission? What is greatness for you? How can you shed your Light?
Let’s create an active and energized peaceful revolution! Let’s envision and create a country in which everyone is accepted, where nobody is threatened for their beliefs, their color, or gender, and where the “Land of Opportunity” is not just for some, but for all! The time is now!
BLOG BY CLARA NAUM, AUTHOR OF THE REAL MEANING OF THE F-WORD: FORGIVENESS AS A PATH TO FREEDOM