I found myself being much more contemplative than reactive. I felt very deeply that “a change is coming.”
I was elated at the wins, but I was more intrigued at observing change at a national level. Anyone can easily see this is not business as usual. Things felt disruptive and unstable, yet there was elation and joys at some of our wins. Women. Women. Women everywhere. Phew! Incredible.
Many young people reached out to me privately, especially here in Georgia regarding the status of Stacey Abrams. They felt discouraged and they felt they needed someone to help them put things in perspective.
Although some battles were lost, I do feel that a major war was won. The Democrats have the House back and, in the long run, that is critically important. When the White House, the Senate, and the House are all run by one party (regardless of which party) it is not a real democracy. Democracy thrives on difference and compromise. So, getting the House back brings some stability to the process.
Change is hard, y’all. Charge in very hard. But change is doable.
Do you see how much energy and effort went into this election? Look at the momentum that was created. Of course, when that much energy is expended, collectively, there is a crash afterward and that happened this past week throughout the entire country.
I get amused when I recognize that I want overnight change and the only ever change I have ever experienced is slowly and with increments.
You know – how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time – incrementally.
I found myself this week, sharing wisdom with folks that were looking to me for comfort. I have gleaned some wisdom during the most challenging times of my life. I share some of these with you in the hopes that it helps you recalibrate.
- What does mental and emotional self-care look like for you right now? It is very unique for each person. Don’t just try and escape. Instead, try and embrace the discomfort of change, while taking care of yourself.
- Remind yourself as often as you need to: Change often happens incrementally, not drastically.
- It is wise to want change to occur. If you resist it, it is going to occur. If you ignore it, it will occur in a negative way. If you work with it, you can dance with change and it can be positive. Yet you must be kind to yourself during change. Do not demand perfection of yourself and others. Think of winning battles rather than winning entire wars.
- One thing I kept repeating is this: You cannot create a solution with the same energy that created a problem. You cannot fight fire with fire. It takes sand or water to put out a fire. If you try to add a fire to an existing fire, you will just have complete desolation. Be intentional about being in the energy and mindset of solutions and not problems.
- As you engage with others who are also feeling the strain of the collective change we are going through, practice the art of dialogue. Look for exchange and talk that soothes. The art of dialogue* is developmental and has five levels. When we listen, we immediately engage in relationship to what we are hearing and respond accordingly. Many of us have never been taught how listening has levels and is a skill. However, you cannot start at the end. You must move through each stage below. As you engage in conversations with others, you want to be aware of where they are in each of these stages and where you are speaking to them from. You cannot speak at a level 5 to a person who is on level 1. Become aware of where you are speaking from. Then respond to others based on where they are.
- Superficial and perfunctory exchange: Nice words, fake smiles. No depth and very superficial. Just a mere acknowledgement of the other. You may not even be aware of the fact that you are not part of the whole. This is a transactional exchange.
- Debate and argument: You are trying to prove how right you are and you are acutely aware of how different the other viewpoint is. You feel that you are not allowed to be part of the whole (Don’t stay here.)
- Empathic Listening: You become aware of yourself and your role in the conversation. You eagerly listen. You ask questions. You inquire as to the viewpoint of the other. You speak as if you see yourself as part of the whole and you are trying to form a relationship with the other parts of the whole.
- Compassionate Presence: You listen to what your entire body is hearing. There is quietness in this listening. You are listening for what is both said and unsaid. You know you belong to the whole and that your relationship with others in the whole is collaborative. You feel needed and valued in this conversation.
- Generative Interaction: You become a different person from this listening. You respond to the motivation to create change. You are tapping into an energy of forward momentum and you are influencing others positively. This form of listening is based on your deep knowledge that you are responsible for yourself and therefore, the whole as it is based on interrelatedness. You are able to see patterns and have confidence in the future as you see the unfolding. This is transformational interaction.
- Deeply ask yourself this question repeatedly: What outcome do I want? And then continue to question the answers you give. Why? Why? Why? Know your why deeply.
- Find your way back home to you. Share poetry. Poetry helps our soul to re-calibrate and find herself at home. Two that I repeatedly recommended this week were, “The Sound of The Genuine” by Howard Thurman and “Citizenship” by John O Donohue and I share below
Beloveds, we must move forward but we also must be gentle with ourselves. If we do not find the sound of our genuine, we will get lost in all this morass.
In our pursuit of justice, we must be compassionate with ourselves first.
Peace on your journey this week. And incredible hugs from me.
*Adapted from Otto Scharmer’s work on fields of conversation and modified by me.
“For Citizenship” by John O’Donohue
In these times when anger
Is turned into anxiety
And someone has stolen
The horizons and the mountains,
Our small emperors on parade
Never expect our indifference
To disturb their nakedness
They keep their heads down
And their eyes gleam with reflection
From Aluminum economic ground,
The media wraps everything
In a cellophane of sound,
And the ghost surface of the virtual
Overlays the breathing earth.
The industry of distraction
Makes us forget
That we live in a universe
We have become converts
To the religion of stress
And its deity of progress
That we may have courage
To turn aside from it all
And come to kneel down before the poor,
To discover what we must do,
How to turn anxiety
Back into anger,
How to find our way home.
From Howard Thurman’s 1980 commencement address at Spelman College.
There is something in every one of you that waits, listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself and if you cannot hear it, you will never find whatever it is for which you are searching and if you hear it and then do not follow it, it was better that you had never been born…
You are the only you that has ever lived; your idiom is the only idiom of its kind in all of existence and if you cannot hear the sound of the genuine in you, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls…
There is in you something that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself and sometimes there is so much traffic going on in your minds, so many different kinds of signals, so many vast impulses floating through your organism that go back thousands of generations, long before you were even a thought in the mind of creation, and you are buffeted by these, and in the midst of all of this you have got to find out what your name is. Who are you? How does the sound of the genuine come through to you…
The sound of the genuine is flowing through you. Don’t be deceived and thrown off by all the noises that are a part even of your dreams, your ambitions, so that you don’t hear the sound of the genuine in you, because that is the only true guide that you will ever have, and if you don’t have that you don’t have a thing.
You may be famous. You may be whatever the other ideals are which are a part of this generation, but you know you don’t have the foggiest notion of who you are, where you are going, what you want. Cultivate the discipline of listening to the sound of the genuine in yourself.
Now there is something in everybody that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in other people. And it is so easy to say that anybody who looks like him or her, anybody who acts as this person acts, can’t hear any sound of the genuine. I must wait and listen for the sound of the genuine in you. I must wait. For if I cannot hear it, then in my scheme of things, you are not even present. And everybody wants to feel that everybody else knows that she is there.