Seven Ways to Create a Positive Path Forward After this Election

Oh you guys. It's been a rough 24 hours. This time yesterday, I was pretty confident we'd have our first woman president, and now today, I'm crying and having my third kombucha as I write this. I'm feeling the feels, y'all. 

As a straight white woman though, I can only understand so much. I don't know what it's like to fear for my family's deportation, or worry that my gay marriage will be revoked. Or know what it's like to be told "go back home, we don't want you here." But that said, I get it as much as I think I possibly can (hence all the crying today). I worry for my Latino friends, my LGBT friends, my Muslim friends, etc. I worry about my black friends who now get to see our beloved Obama give over the presidency to someone endorsed by the KKK. I get the heartbreak here, and I'm feeling it too. It's pretty much why I'm a passionate supporter of Hillary. I don't want to see our country go backwards. 

BUT here's the thing. . . and it hit me like a lightning bolt. We CANNOT allow fear to rule. We cannot let ourselves be controlled by negative emotions. I woke up at 4 AM today, too wired to sleep, and overflowing with stuff I wanted to share with you. And although I've been feeling sad, I feel oddly "full" with all the love I've been seeing around me. I've noticed people from all "sides" being exceptionally kind and loving with each other today. It inspires me, and gives me a lot of hope. 

And I hope it's not "too soon" but I just want to give you all the biggest hug, and since I physically can't, here are some words . . .

1. Grieve and FEEL YOUR FEELINGS. Honor them. 

If you're sad, it's OK. If you're angry, it's OK. Feel it. As with any loss or experience that deeply challenges us, the first step is to just grieve and feel your feelings. I've been through two divorces, rough childhood experiences, homelessness, obesity and illness, breakups, loss, death of loved ones, you name it. That shit is never easy. But what it IS, is an opportunity to open our hearts even more. Feel even more. Be humble. Extend greater compassion to ourselves and others. When you FEEL your feelings, you create an open space for healing. 

2. Turn the kindness dial up to eleven. 

Something really cool I've noticed since the election last night, you guys? I have seen SO MUCH KINDNESS. Not just from those on "my" side, but those on ALL sides. People may be gloating and acting like jerks somewhere in the world (I'm quite sure they are), but I haven't seen much of it. I've instead seen a huge surge of love and kindness. (Which is honestly part of what's making me cry today - seeing so much love and humanity makes my heart overflow.)

It's like that line in one of my favorite movies, Love Actually . . . "When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around."

So, here's my suggestion . . .Let's increase the kindness to stupid levels. Just be RIDICULOUSLY kind. Be so freaking kind today (and every day) that it surprises you. And while you're at it, be really kind to yourself too. Kindness is a superpower. 

3. Don't assume Trump supporters are racist, misogynist homophobes.

I think this is where a lot of our fears come from. We think the country will be overtaken by hatred. But I know Trump supporters, and the ones I know aren't like that. Let me give you just three examples . . . 

One of the biggest Trump supporters I know is a client of mine (specifically the husband) from a few years ago. They were nothing but kind, generous, and wonderful to me. I really cannot say a bad thing about them. But after their win last night, you want to know what kind of stuff he's posting on his Facebook page? Shit like this:

Right? Very cool. He's been posting shit like that all day. He really cares about how the "other side" feels. It's a zero gloating zone on his page. 

The next person was someone who was at our election "party" (LOL, right?) last night. She's someone I've always enjoyed running into in town, as she always has a huge hug for me, and beams love. She's also intelligent, Latino, and loves my cookbooks. I was surprised to find out last night that she'd voted for Trump. For her, it was all about wanting a non-politician in office. She saw it as an opportunity for change. While I disagree with her on that, our conversation was respectful, and as usual we hugged it out. She's the last person I'd call a racist, misogynist, or homophobe. 

Finally, I have a friend I've known for 25 years who I'd trust with my life. He's into meditation, he's a vegetarian, and he's all about being an agent of light and healing. He's been vocally supportive of Trump on Facebook, but we have an understanding - agree to disagree. You won't catch him hating on immigrants or Muslims anytime soon, I guarantee you.

And a final note - I'm not pointing fingers, but that's something that's bothered me for a while now. Whenever I posted something pro-Hillary, people from "our side" would inevitably insult Trump supporters. People on either side insulting each other - that doesn't help, friends. We have to be kinder to each other, no matter WHAT our differences, and find common ground. It's always there if we're open to it. 

4. Don't give in to fear. 

This was the big idea that came to me at 4 AM. It was like a light bulb going off in my head. Last night before bed, I drew an "angel card" (yeah, I'm into that stuff) which said something about how I need to learn from the shadow side of what's going on around me - that it had a message for me. But I couldn't figure out what that was last night. I was like "well... I'm really NOT a racist, anti-gay liar, so I don't get how the Trump stuff has a message for me." 

But then BOOM, the 4 AM epiphany happened. I realized something - the reason I've been so angry about the Trump stuff boils down to one key concept . . . FEAR. I've hated to see how he's instilling fear in people, and preying on their fears. And I've allowed this to bother me, and get under my skin. But like I said on my Facebook friend page, this stops TODAY. I am no longer letting fear have a place in my heart. 

You know what the biggest problem is, friends? In this, and in life in general?? FEAR ITSELF. Fear is why we mistrust each other, fear is why we feel unhappy and scared. Fear holds us back. Fear is NOT a useful emotion. I've spent decades ridding myself of fear (I've come a long way, but still have work to do), and it's been one of the most liberating things I've done. Fear serves no good purpose, whether it's fear of political situations, fear of rejection in a romantic relationship, or fear of not having enough. Fear, fear, fear. What exactly does it do to elevate us? How does it make us stronger and happier and more effective? 

It's time to DITCH FEAR and CHOOSE LOVE. I've always said, when you have a decision to make, the answer is simple. One choice boils down to fear, and the other is love. Choose LOVE. It might be scary, but it's worth it. 

5. Choose BIG HUGE LOVE. Elevate.

"Time to dig deeper into love than we ever have before. Time to shine our light brighter than we ever have before. TIME TO SPEAK UP like never before. No more waiting. ENGAGE." - Licia Berry

I know it's not easy in the face of "defeat" and all the scary stuff that seems like it could happen, but I'm a big believer in LOVE. Love, my loves, is what we ARE. We all have a pure, brilliant heart beating within. We all have the ability to love ourselves and others. Yes, some people are damaged and closed off. But those are the ones who need love the most. Have you ever met someone who seemed sad and cold, but then an act of kindness or love opened them up like a flower? Maybe they grew up thinking they were unlovable. Maybe they had their heart broken and didn't know how to heal it. Maybe they were taught to fear people different than themselves. 

Whatever the case, we ALL NEED LOVE. Love transforms. Love lifts. Love is the thing we can give and give, and just receive more for the giving. We never lose by loving. And love is the highest energy I know of. So, if we all can just LOVE A LITTLE MORE (ourselves, included), it will create a beautiful shift that cannot help but affect the world around us. 

"All we need is love." - The Beatles

6. Root yourself in what IS, but take definitive action. 

This morning, I saw something from my Twitter friend Matthew Dowd that I really liked. Here's a quick clip of the video. Basically, he's saying that leaders are usually followers. They follow our lead, our energy. So, basically - if WE shift to a different energy, it's much more likely that Trump will shift too, to mimic it. 

Food for thought, y'all. I for one am in. I'm the first to admit I've been disgusted by Trump's behavior and words. So much so that I've allowed it to occupy space in my mind and affect me. But again, I'm done with that as of today. I no longer choose to use my energy that way. I'm going to use my energy to uplift myself and others, and create a positive path forward. 

How can we create that positive path? By creating community, raising our own energy, loving more, meditating, speaking up for others and being allies, being ridiculously kind to one another, choosing love over fear every chance we get, and educating others (and our kids) about compassion, equality, and the world we want to live in. 

7. Last, but in my opinion, most importantly - raise your own energy vibration. 

If this sounds too "woo-woo" for you, it's OK. But as someone who's been dedicated to my meditation practice for 25 years, I know how profound it's impacted my own life. When I was in my early college days, I suffered from depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. Fear had overtaken my life. The best way to manage this, I found, was through meditation. I also used affirmations and mantras (which are positive thoughts that you repeat over and over again in your mind, and counteract negative thoughts).

Meditation can be done by anyone, anywhere, and of any belief system. It's a way of overcoming lower energies within yourself, and increasing the positive. It actually makes your life better, period. And again with the woo-woo stuff, but I really believe that when we increase our own positive energy field, it lifts up those around us. In fact, don't believe me. But do check out articles that show how meditation affects those around us, including this study on how crime rates were lowered through meditation.

What we do really does matter. Our energy affects not only those in our own house, but those in our community and world. Be responsible for your energy. Be positive, give someone hope. Lift someone up when they need it, and start by being kind to YOURSELF.

I love you all so much, and I hope you find this comforting, helpful, empowering, or at the very least, a distraction.