November 9, 2016

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Many awoke this morning feeling sad, scared, helpless, and marginalized. The United States Government was effectively overturned last night. It was accomplished ceremoniously, peacefully, and with full integrity. It wasn’t “rigged;” there was no bloodshed. Votes were counted and lines were drawn. Yes, it is good to be an American.

Many of us never truly considered the reality of a Trump presidency. We never believed the American majority could disregard his campaign of hatred, bigotry, and isolationism, for the sake of “change.” But the electoral majority did.

Now what?

Growth is not linear and usually includes pain, setbacks, resets, and sometimes a mini-storm or two, but in the end, growth triumphs when we stay true to our purpose – when we continue to listen, learn, contribute, compromise, and work hard.

The antidote for a virus is an antiviral; the antidote for a bacterial infection is an antibiotic; the antidote for hate is love. The voters have spoken and Donald Trump will replace Barack Obama in that house on Pennsylvania Avenue. There will be change, likely a lot of it. We can and should challenge what we don’t like, but when we do it with love, we all feel better. Just as love is the antidote for hate, positivity is the only antidote for negativity.

In the wake of sudden and unexpected events our brain immediately goes into Fight, Flight, or Freeze mode. Our amygdalae (the part of the brain responsible for detecting fear) are in control when we are screaming at the TV, researching Canadian citizenship (yes, that site went down last night), or just laying in disbelief. Some of us did all of those things. But as the dust settles and the sun continues to rise in the east and set in the west, our prefrontal cortexes are back at work, saying “now what?”

Here a few ideas (I am certain you will come up with many of your own):

  • Let’s bring civility back to the dialogue.
  • Let’s take this opportunity to model for our children an appropriate and constructive way to express differences.
  • Let’s listen more
  • Let’s support our leaders
  • Let’s stand up for our neighbors, friends, and strangers
  • Let’s continue to learn from history
  • Let’s be inspired by our youth

There is growth ahead. We don’t know what it will look like or where it will blossom; we just know it will. Whether you voted for Trump, Clinton, or didn’t vote, no longer matters. We are here, right now. Each moment provides an opportunity to fight hate with love and negativity with optimism, to choose growth.  

I hugged the crossing guard at my children’s elementary school today. Not because I had to, because I wanted to.  My day has been better because of that hug and I hope his has too.  Let’s spread the love.

Live well/Be well

 

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