We're Woke, but Blind

I wasn't planning on writing anything about the most recent United States election, but the energy in our country right now is impossible to ignore. And in fact, I feel that by ignoring it I am doing a disservice. I haven't remained silent on this issue because I was pretending that everything is fine, but rather I was trying to take the pulse of the situation and identify the best way to serve others.

It was very clear to me from the moment my head hit the pillow on election night that what was occurring is a call for lightworkers, coaches, healers, and people like me to step up our games. There are people hurting. There are people frightened. There are people who feel disconnected and misunderstood.

That is on all of us. It is not just the result of election season or of one political party or one candidate. It is the result of years and years of tuning out what we don’t want to hear. Of judging one another and pointing out our differences. Of not making friends with our neighbors because they are different. Of not engaging in conversation with people who have different beliefs or values. Of simply not striking up a conversation in an elevator because it is uncomfortable. We create these little divisions and walls around ourselves every day.

The result of this election is like the great dress debate.

So what is it? Black and blue? Or white and gold?

At the end of the day, it isn’t about the color.

It is about the fact that we can see and have a discussion about it.

The truth of the matter is that we are living a revolution. People on both sides of the debate firmly believe that they cast their vote for change. Because what we crave is change. Because our government and our democracy is so fundamentally broken and mired in corruption and we are finally WAKING THE F— UP to it. That is something to be celebrated.

Unfortunately, neither of these candidates stand a chance at fixing what is broken. Because the roots are too deep and the system is rigged against any one person swooping in to save the day.

We finally woke up, but unfortunately our revolution is wrapped in a dialogue of divisiveness, hatred, and misunderstanding. And that is where we—as individuals—have work to do.

Now that we’re woke, it’s time to focus on actually seeing.

It is so easy to gloss over the issues that don’t directly impact us. Undocumented immigrants, rural blue-collar workers, LGBTQ people, African-Americans, baby boomers near retirement, Muslims, urban millennials, Jews, victims of rape, Syrian refugees… chances are that the majority of your network will fall into one or two of these categories—but you may not know anyone from other groups. You are insulated in your own issues, so you can’t feel and empathize with others' plight. So whatever.

No. Not whatever.

The problem is with the categories to begin with. The problem is that we cannot just be HUMAN, we need to classify one another, and it is this insistence that divides us. These categories create barriers. We need to be talking to one another. Having a dialogue. And name-calling does not inspire open and honest conversation. We cannot assume that the voters in this election are either racist/misogynist/bigots or socialist/treehugging/”takers”. While there may be people on those extremes, the majority of the people fall in the middle, and no one responds positively to being called any of these hurtful things. We reflect back the energy that is directed at us, so it is only natural that if someone makes an aggressive or offensive comment, we will respond the same way.

During my reflections, my thoughts have been consistently drawn to the section of A Course in Miracles that says something along the lines of “everything that is not love is a call for it.”

Sadly, there is not a lot of love floating around right now. Which means that the door of opportunity is WIDE FREAKING OPEN for us to bring it on.

So this is my challenge to you: reach out to someone who is different from you. Reach out to someone who is on the other side of the aisle and really hear them without trying to change their mind or convince them that your opinion is the right one.

And then take it a step further. Identify a cause that is important to you and donate. Donate your money, volunteer your time; it doesn’t matter how you do it, but take action on the things that matter to you. Prove to the world that you really care about what you give lip service to. Don’t hide behind your computer and complain if you have not taken action.

If we really want to change our broken system, it will be through taking collective, unified action. It will be through taking on the system as a whole, not a particular party or a piece of it.

And if we really want to heal our divisions, it will be through reaching out and listening to one another.

At this point, what do we have to lose? I think we are all a little tired of the battle for the soapbox.

Finally, I want to close with a verse from Alicia Keys’ new song “Holy War” … because it is so timely and moved me to my core.

What if love was holy and hate obscene
We should give life to this beautiful dream
‘Cause peace and love ain’t so far
If we nurse our wounds before they scar