Monthly Archives: November 2016

Anger?

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Someone I follow on twitter, posted a quote from the Dalai Lama. The quote was “Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.” The person on twitter said, “This quote makes me furious.” Interesting.

I should say that the person I follow on twitter, is involved in politics and I think that informs his attitude. I’ve seen another quote around political circles, that says, “If you’re not angry, you aren’t paying attention.” The assumption is that the only sane response to some conditions is anger. I get why people feel that way, but I must respectfully disagree.

For me, this is about emotional perspective. Abraham Hicks talks about viewing our emotions on an emotional scale. It’s a scale measuring emotions from those that feel terrible to those that feel wonderful. At the lower end of this scale are emotions like despair, depression, feelings of worthlessness. At the top of the scale are emotions like joy, love, ecstasy. Abraham encourages us to work our way up the emotional scale to the happier emotions, to achieve what we want with our lives.

Abraham also talks about anger as being a huge emotional improvement over powerlessness. I think that’s why so many people rely on anger to fuel their political activism. It’s an affirmation that we are not in fact, powerless, even though we may feel that way in the face of larger political realities that distress us.

The problem I have with anger is that I don’t want to get stuck there. I want to feel better than that. I find it’s not a very effective state of mind when compared to joy. Joy is where I find clarity and creative solutions.

Anger has allowed me to take action to change circumstances in my life that I don’t like, but acting from anger is messy and ultimately unsatisfying. Anger is a good indicator for me of the need for change, but not a good place for me to launch action. If I lead myself up that emotional scale further, I will more easily generate results that I like.

I don’t hear much about working for societal change from a place of joy or love, but I do have role models for that. One role model for this joy-based activism is Thich Naht Hahn. He is a Vietnamese Monk who came of age during the Vietnam War. His advocacy of reconciliation got him ostracized by both sides in the war, but he has inspired millions with his loving view of the world. Martin Luther King, Jr. also inspired us with love. More recently, Barack Obama’s vision of hope, catapulted him to national prominence and drove his historic presidency.

Law of Attraction teachers point to a danger of staying too long in unpleasant states of mind like anger. Anger keeps our focus more on what we don’t want than on what we do want. The theory of law of attraction is that our focus brings us more of what we’re focusing on. If we focus on what we’re angry about, we bring more of it into our lives. That’s not usually the effect we’re hoping for.

Of course, I have to start wherever I am. If I’m angry, it’s not going to change the anger to pretend it’s not there. I can only change the effects of anger if I genuinely change the how I’m feeling. That’s what this law of attraction work is for me. It’s learning to change how I feel so I feel better and better.

Anger is empowering, but joy, love and hope can be empowering too. I can create what I want from a hopeful place. In fact, I believe it’s the easiest way to do it.

I was upset by the results of the recent presidential election. It took some time for me to gain emotional equilibrium afterwards. I felt some anger and despair, but eventually, I reaffirmed that I want to be led by joy. There was some joy for me in this election. I was joyful at the prospect of a good woman president. I was giddy when I thought Hillary would win.

This election has reawakened my feminist feelings in the best possible way. I’m now determined to let my joy lead me to find and promote good women politicians. I’ve already started. This is going to be fun.

The Election

 

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You may have heard.  We’ve had a presidential election here, in the United States.  Perhaps you’ve lived it these past months and years.

In my estimation, it didn’t end well.  My candidate lost and the winning candidate terrifies me.  Or at least he did.

On election night I stayed up late, watching the results.  The contest was too close to call for a long time, but clearly not going the way I wanted. I didn’t sleep much that night.  As the truth became clear, a solid feeling of despair and terror descended on me.

I quickly decided that I did not want to stay in that emotional neighborhood. One thing I’ve learned regarding the law of attraction, is that it’s vital for me to feel good.  That doesn’t mean I should pretend to feel good when I don’t.  I need to acknowledge the genuine feelings I have. It just means that my work is to gently and consistently soothe my unpleasant feelings and steer myself toward feeling better.

I think clearer when I feel good.  I see more options when I feel good.  I get inspired to wonderful solutions when I feel good. I want inspiration now.

I don’t know why this election went the way it did.  People are proposing all sorts of explanations. All I know is that if I stay feeling good and listen for inspiration, I will find the best possible way forward for myself.

Despite the final result, I’ve had wonderful experiences in this election.  I came to feel admiration and affection for Hillary Clinton as I learned more about her. I think she’s a wonderful, talented, kind person who has helped many people. Early in life, she made a conscious decision to spend her life helping others and she’s kept that focus.

It touched me to learn of the little things, in addition to her big accomplishments, that Hillary has done to protect and encourage vulnerable people.  For example, I learned that when she was a senator, Hillary reserved some of the intern openings in her office, for people who had been foster children. She also worked to make it easier for foster kids to get adopted.

During the beginning of the Aids epidemic in this country, when there was a lot of hysteria about contamination, she publicly stood by the gay community and people who were working to care for Aids patients. My twitter feed has been full of stories of people she’s helped. I admire her tremendously.

On twitter I discovered a wonderful community of Hillary’s supporters.  I feel a connection and a shared vision with these people. That connection and vision will last long past the election. It’s a vision of the many diverse people in this country, loving and appreciating each other, and building a society that allows us all to flourish.

The election got me to follow the twitter feed of one of my writing heroes, Anne Lamott.  Her clever posts as well as the pictures of her ever-growing pack of #gooddogsforclinton and #goodcatsforclinton, comforted and entertained me through this election.

I feel grateful to the comedians who’ve lightened the mood.  I’m particularly happy to have discovered Samantha Bee. It’s nice for me to hear humor about politics from a female perspective.

Hillary’s campaign reawakened my dormant feminist sensibilities and made me want to get involved with promoting feminist causes again. This time I’ll have less fear and anger, and more joy. It was joyful to be reminded of the Sufferagettes and the long line of feminists that paved the way for Hillary’s candidacy.  In my own small way, I was part of that line.

After the election, social media was full of people trying to comfort each other. We’ve been reminding each other that love and beauty still exist. Creativity and passion and kindness still exist.

Now, I have a challenge.  Can I take this election result, that I didn’t want, and find some hope in it?  Can I imagine it being okay? The law of attraction perspective on unwanted things in our lives, is that they clarify for us what we do want. We can use the unwanted to fuel our vision and pursuit of what we prefer.

This election is a call for me to get more involved in my wider community. It’s a call to create the things I want to see. I was overjoyed when I thought we were going to have a good woman president.  I want that feeling again.  I want to do everything I can to support women politicians I believe in. I also want to support organizations working for racial harmony.  I want to help slow climate change.  I want to promote peace.

Before this election, I couldn’t imagine that anyone as unqualified and unsuited to service as Donald Trump, could be elected to the highest office in the country. It’s shocking and appalling because he treats other people so badly, but it also shows that the limits of my imagination are just my limits.  One thing I can say about Donald Trump is that he demonstrates absolute belief in himself and it has helped him to accomplish what many reasonable people never thought he could.

It’s made me think. What could we accomplish together with that kind of faith in ourselves? Could we become people who love and value our racial and cultural differences? Could we live in harmony with nature and care for our environment?  Could we make sure that every person on the planet had clean water, good food and a comfortable home? Could we make a world where every child is treasured? Could we fill this world with music and art? Could we eliminate war?

Fear and hate got strong momentum in this election and carried us to this conclusion.  Imagine if we put that much energy into love and kindness. Imagine if love and kindness gained overwhelming momentum.  What could our world be like with that kind of power?