Walk With Love

img_6942Please note: If you are pleased with the results of the recent elections, you may not want to read this post. I wrote it for those who are struggling emotionally and need support and guidance for how to walk through their difficult feelings so that they can arrive, ultimately, back at love. 

However, I need to say that my first draft of this article was written two days after the elections in a raw state of emotions, and I have since edited out the portions of it that were coming from my own small-minded and black-and-white thinking. I do not want to name-call. I do not want to participate in a culture of hate and divisiveness. I know that not everyone who voted for Trump carries all of his values and his rhetoric, and that the reasons why people voted for whoever they voted for are complex and multi-faceted. I seek to understand and dialogue from a place of true curiosity, and I genuinely apologize to anyone I may have offended in the original version of this post.

I’ve been humbled by my first response to the election outcome, which was rooted in fear, and I’ve taken this as an opportunity to see some of my own blind spots and further my own growth. Everyone is welcome here, and I hope that my site continues to be a safe place where we can join together and explore any places inside that keep us separate from ourselves, our loved ones, each other, and the world. 

I hesitated for many reasons to write this post, but in the end the post wrote me. The topics that I write about every day demanded to be known and expressed in the context of this election: how to work with fear, how to respond effectively to our thoughts, how to attend to our feelings with compassion, and ultimately, how to awaken to our true nature, which rests in goodness, beauty, and love. Everything I write, say, and do stems from a devotion to the force of love, and a commitment to exploring the power of fear that obstructs love’s flow. This post isn’t so much a protest against the results of this election (although it is that as well) as much as a plea to all of you who are committed to your inner work to act now as love’s emissaries in a world that is falling prey to fear’s grip.

Love is stronger than fear, and yet nothing will incite more fear than when our own health and wellness or that of our children is threatened. The president-elect has inspired fear because, at least based on his campaign rhetoric and many of his past actions toward women and minorities, he seems to pose a real threat to our individual well-being and the wellness of the planet. Which is why, as love warriors, we must walk now, individually and collectively, into a world that needs us to wrestle fear to the mat, to call it by its true name, and to act in whatever ways we can so that all people, all creatures, all living beings, and the Earth herself live in integrity, equality, and freedom. And in order to do that, we must first meet the fear, grief, and despair that live inside each of us, tending gently and compassionately until it unfolds into action guided by the light of hope.

The fear softens into grief which fires into action cradled in hope.

FEAR

The first day: shock and fear. As the votes were being tallied and the states bled across the map on our screen,  I could feel a collective panic setting in. Hearts raced and bodies shook as we stared in disbelief at our screens. This isn’t the way it was supposed to go. This isn’t happening. It will turn around. But it didn’t turn around. The impossible happened (even the Trump campaign says they never expected he would actually win), and we woke up to a new reality.

There are many responses to shock: we fight, flee, or freeze. In fight, we stand up and rise against the perpetrator. In flee, we escape into safe territory (causing the Canadian visa website to shut down). In freeze, we collapse from cold fear. On that first day, many people froze as they viewed the world through a lens of despair. When we fall into the tarpit of fear and believe a vision of doom, we lose the impulse to act. On the other hand, when we can see an election result like this as a warning and an offering, it can propel us into action.

It’s the same process I talk about every week in my blog and my courses: when fear takes over, we become paralyzed. When we believe every thought and story that fear poses, the fear-lines obstruct our path. It’s not fear itself that blocks the path; it’s how much power we give to fear. The same applies here. We cannot give our fear of Trump the power. Fear paralyzes; truth and love mobilize. There’s a massive mobilization occurring across the country as people say NO, we reject your platform of bullying and divisiveness. You do not represent my values and my ideals. We say no as we rise up from out of fear’s clutches and act.

 

GRIEF

The fear softens into grief…

The morning after the elections, I received many emails from clients asking for guidance on how to handle the enormity of their feelings. The first step, as always, is to be with the feelings without the barriers of judgment or shame. We cry through the pain, we shiver through the fear, we yell through the outrage. Then we act.

One client who wrote to me early Wednesday morning and asked for something to ease the despair: some hope, some words, some anchor. I told her that the force of good will show up in numbers, and that there are many passionate people in this country who will rise up against injustice. There are so many ways this could go. We don’t know a lot right know and that’s very hard. We don’t have answers. But if we fall into the pit of fear, we can’t act. So, yes, we’re scared, there’s no way around that. And we are in deep grief; there are many people who are crying right now. But if we don’t look forward with hope and believe in the power of light, we will become paralyzed.

She responded (shared with permission):

I’ve been thinking of your words all today. Thank you for writing back and sharing them with me.
Most paramount for today: Giving myself permission to feel. Each tear has saturated the parched spots of my soul awakening me into action. Now more than ever I see a clearer path to how I can help or be of service. And thank you for forwarding this to me today. I’m also reminded of the Mizuta Masahide quote: “Barn’s burnt down — now I can see the moon.”
No time for complacency. No time for excuses. Only time to dive right into the heart of it all, challenging ourselves to really take ownership of our pain and suffering so love and healing can emerge.
Thank you for role modeling that for me.

Our grief takes many forms, and touches different places for each person.

As a woman, I grieve that the man elected as President is a misogynist, a man who parses women’s bodies into parts to be grabbed and rates women on a scale of his own invention. This destructive attitude toward women extends to his view of our beautiful Mother Earth, and mimics the mindset of those who raped and pillaged this country under the hubris of colonization hundreds of years ago. Our earth is in great danger (the number of species that go extinct yearly is staggering), and the man we just elected plans to further the peril, not only through lack of protection but through active violation.

We are this earth; we are not separate from the planet. We are animals, we are wild, and we are inextricably dependent on the earth that we are blessed enough to roam. It’s time to recognize this so that we can stand up and speak out and protect our Earth who has no voice. Leonardo DiCaprio makes the same point in his film, Before the Flood, which is free and has gone viral. As I drove into town this morning and watched a V of geese flying in formation next my car, their long, sleek necks and graceful feathers shimmering silver in the early light, the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains jutting up majestically above the golden fields, I wept.

As a therapist, I think about my clients and readers who struggle with anxiety, whose bones are quaking with fear and uncertainty. I think about one of my extraordinary course members who posted the following on her Facebook page (shared with permission):

As a woman I feel a surging sadness in ways I am only beginning to understand. When I did my morning yoga and came into my body, I began to weep. I became overwhelmed by a feeling that this body, my body, was not respected in the place that I live. I thought about my freedoms as a cis gender white female lesbian, to have cast votes in 8 presidential elections, to have been able to choose and have an abortion when I needed to, to marry the woman I loved with full legal rights, to say all of this out loud in this moment without fear of repercussion. 

As a Jew, I grieve for and with my people who have been marginalized for as long as we’ve walked this planet. We have known persecution through the centuries in all forms, an attack which crescendoed with the Holocaust. My sons know this, too. They know it in their genetic bones. We’re scared because we’ve all been marginalized at some point in our history, which means, when we let ourselves, we can easily step into the shoes of our Muslim, Hispanic, Gay, and African-American brothers and sisters whose bones are quaking. We stand with you now.

We allow ourselves to grieve as the grief arises. When we squash the grief, as we know from our inner work, it morphs into anxiety, and when we get stuck in the pit of fear or allow the grief to become indulgent, we become immobilized. We grieve in cycles and waves, allowing the pain to crash over and through us according to its own timetable and rhythm. Then we act.

 

ACTION

The fear softens into grief which fires into action…

As Maya Angelou wrote, “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”

How do we respond? What do we do?

The work is the same whether we’re in the realm of relationship anxiety, trying to conceive, or dealing with the fact that Donald Trump will be the first president elected in this country with no political or military experience (this is fact, not opinion). The work is to respond effectively to the thoughts that want to grab us by the throat and send us into the tailspin of anxiety and despair. The work is to attend to the feelings inside the thoughts: the uncertainty, the disappointment, the vulnerability, the sadness, the grief. From this place of internal equilibrium, we gather the strength that overpowers the threat of despair. And then we act.

As a citizen of the world, here is what I know: we must speak when we can speak and act when we can act. We must not be afraid of offending; we have a much bigger threat at stake. I hear a deep rumbling that extends beyond myself, a rumbling of the ancestors who are shaking their fists and a people who are protesting. When we untangle ourselves from fear’s chokehold, we find our voice. For me, when the dam of fear released and the grief softened my heart, the words streamed through me all day and into the night. I write and I write and I write, as this is one way that I can act.

It can feel overwhelming to know how to act, especially when you’re a highly sensitive person and are acutely aware of the multitude and magnitude of problems in the world. Where do you begin? I love this piece of guidance offered by Mirabai Starr in her book, God of Love:

Andrew Harvey, founder of the Institute for Sacred Activism, acknowledges the magnitude of the challenge to respond with compassion to the vast array of social and environmental crises. When the suffering of the world feels like too much to bear and you cannot figure out where to begin, pause and check in with your heart, he says. Find the cause that most deeply moves you – the suffering that most radically breaks through the protective layer of your complacency – and use that as your guide. Follow your heartbreak, is the way Harvey puts it. Choose one heartbreaking issues – one broken thing – and dedicate yourself to learning everything you can about it, and then do whatever you can to repair it.

I feel heartbroken about so many crises in the world, but the issue that breaks my heart open the most is the environment, and after these elections I feel a renewed energy to pour as much time, energy, and money as we can into the fight to save our planet. As a family of highly sensitives who derive endless comfort and renewal from nature, with sons who save mosquitoes and cry tears of deep sorrow for any living creature who is hurt or killed, we ache daily for the pillage of the earth and her resources. We act in ways big and small to conserve our resources, and we will continue to act with renewed passion to protect our precious earth.

What does your voice say? How will the quaking in your bones inspire you to act? Where will the rumbling in your legs lead you? I’d love to hear what breaks your heart open and how you do or can act in the comments section below.

 

HOPE

The fear softens into grief which fires into action cradled in hope.

Lastly, we turn to our antidotes and anchors, for we all need totems to hold onto when the forces of fear and despair take hold.

The antidote to fear is faith.

The antidote to despair is hope.

Where is the faith? Where is the hope?

It’s here:

  1. We’re going to be okay. We can adopt a mindset of doomsday and apocalypse or we can choose a mindset of faith. The choice is ours.
  2. Rebirth will occur. The law of transitions says that the rebirth of spring always follows the death of autumn and the frozen state of winter. From a psychological and spiritual perspective, there needs to be a shattering of the old structures before the new, healthy structures can take root. We know this from our inner work, as love warriors battling the stronghold of fear. We know that the old habits, patterns, beliefs, and behaviors must die before the new ones are born. The same is true on a nationwide and a global level.
  3. Resistance is necessary for change. Perhaps this president-elect is a gift in disguise, for we also know from our inner work that when resistance shows up it’s an opportunity to push through and press harder. He is the wall that he has said he will build, and we must rise up against that wall. Sometimes the most powerful change occurs when we have something to push up against.
  4. We cannot see the bigger picture, but we can trust that from collapse comes restoration, and that our planet and ourselves as humans are on a trajectory of healing and growth. We can trust that there’s a bigger plan in place, an invisible plan the timing of which may seem confusing and alarming from our earthly lens but makes perfect sense from a zoomed-out perspective. Historically, we’ve vacillated between times of immense darkness to times of awakening and creativity, for it seems that we need the darkness to awaken the light. The pendulum has now swung in a dark direction (it has been swinging there for years), and we must trust that in response and with time we will see a greater consciousness emerge.
  5. We accept responsibility, which means the opportunity to look at how we created this situation, and how we can change it. As Brother Phap Hai writes, “For too long, we have behaved as children, expecting others – in this case our political leaders – to do our work for us, or more precisely our shadow work. Expecting others to bring our nation together. Expecting others to heal the divide. Expecting others like organizations or churches to feed the hungry. This is a wake up call indeed.
    This is an invitation for us to step into adulthood and to realize both our capacity and our responsibility.”

We, on this website, fight for love in our lives every day. Now it’s time to bring this fight into the world. In solitude, we do our inner work. In solidarity, we take action. This is how the world changes in service of good. This is how we heal. This is how love prevails. 

***

P.S. Two songs that are lifting my spirits lately and giving me a quick infusion of hope and inspiration as I listen and dance in my kitchen:

Fight Song and Rise Up

What songs lift your spirits?

108 comments to Walk With Love

  • Sonakshi

    Beautiful..however the fact that dreams are a signal..an interpretation..is the cause of my anxiety right now..the day before yesterday I dreamt about dead snakes on one of the days leading to my someday-in-the-future wedding..hundreds of them..of many colours..lying dead in a small garden..I think it was in front of my old house..then I saw a thick and large yellow snake alive under the sofa on which I was sitting..and a very tiny one there too..which my aunt killed..it’s really very weird..in real life I am terrified of snakes..I really feel disgusted by them..I don’t mean to be rude..that’s just my opinion..but I don’t know what to understand from this particular one..

  • Please read the article on dreams I linked to in this blog:

    http://conscious-transitions.com/its-not-what-you-think/

    Snakes are a powerful symbol of change and transformation, as they must shed their old skin and tolerate the liminal, skinless phase before growing a new skin. It’s exactly what we do during transitions, both personal and global. If it were my dream, I would be asking, “What part or parts of me am I shedding as I prepare for my wedding?” We shed many skins (identities, beliefs, concepts, ideas, behaviors, patterns) during the separation and liminal stages of transitions, and it always feel scary.

  • Britt

    Several pieces of your article brought me to tears Sheryl. I’ve been filled with panic, anger, fear and anxiety since the night of the election. This has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to accept. Imagine living deep down south, here in Louisiana, you’re a female, who’s African-American, agnostic, and lesbian. I’m a walking anomaly. It’s painful realizing that, the person leading you is highly unpredictable. It’s painful realizing that, as a woman if, I’d meet my president, he’d see me as nothing more than a “thing,” that needs to be contained. It’s painful realizing that, your leader doesn’t give you hope. It’s painful realizing that, the new first lady of America, wasn’t born in America. Lastly, its painful realizing that, America, “land of the free,” still doesn’t fully apply to women.

    Also, To all my fellow anxious friends here on this site. I’m so grateful I never abandoned my partner or my relationship. This song means the world to us both. Please listen to it https://youtu.be/qjsQsmZ23VM
    It may give you courage or hope or just a smile.

    Thanks for this Sheryl.

    • Thank you, Britt. What a powerful voice you have and what a tender heart that shines through all of your comments. May you bring this voice and heart to your life in Louisiana, and it may it touch all who know you.

      And thank you for sharing the song. It’s beautiful. xo

    • Clara

      I found your post inspiring Britt. I feel for you deeply, and sending support from across the Pacific Ocean (Australia). I would feel exactly as you feel if I lived in an American southern state too – I share many of your demographics. Thank you for the song. Beautiful. X

      • Britt

        Really sweet Clara. You made me smile. Music is my meditation, it helps me cope. Thanks for the reply. Sending you lots of love.

        Stay Amazing
        Britt

      • Britt

        Are you and your partner still together, Clara? If so, how has it been for you? Has things changed? I remember reading your comments over a year ago when I was highly anxious. Here’s my email addres. You’re welcome to contact me bcole7896@gmail.com

  • Maya

    Thank you for this post. I have loved your writing and course work for two years. As my anxiety comes and goes in waves I am brought back to your words of guidance. Last Wednesday I got into an argument with my spouse about this very topic. I was saddened and frightened about the election results and began to question everything in the world. He began to talk about how perhaps trump could help the country. I felt so triggered that he was a bad person who must agree with all of the hatred and discrimination Trump’s platform stood for. He has explained to me that he does not believe in discriminating against anyone ever and that he believes in respecting others for all of their differences. I think he Ian minimizing the risk that lay ahead for so many marginalized communities. His actions show that he is a kind compassionate man who is not rooted in hate or judgment. Yet I cannot help but thinking that perhaps there is a limited future with someone with such different perspectives. I’m feeling a little lost. Every time I see something about the election now I start to panick

    • I encourage you to be very careful about the conclusions that your mind wants to draw regarding your husband’s take on the results. If he is kind and compassionate in his actions, that’s what matters.

    • Alicia

      Maya,

      My husband was vehemently anti-Trump, just like me, before the election. Now that it’s said and done, I find he says similar things, I guess to try to be optimistic about the future. I think this is his coping mechanism and the only option for him as he believes we must move forward with the hand we were dealt. I’m glad he’s the optimist in our relationship as I need that more now than ever.

  • Amanda

    Thank you so very much for writing this.

  • Thank you so much for writing this blog Sheryl. I always love reading your blog, especially in times of trouble for your wise words and I really need it now as I can’t stop crying. I agree with every word you have written. This is a time for action and we have to stand up for our rights but we also have to listen to why 1/2 the country is not satisfied. It can’t be “we are right and you are wrong” there has to be a coming together. We each have to find a group that speaks to us, whether it be political or humanitarian. There is no time to waste being passive- this is a very loud wake up call and I cannot sit back and “hope and pray” it will be better. We all have to be a part of the change taking action. #strongertogether isn’t just a campaign tagline, it is the truth. I keep thinking of 9/11 when people in Tower 1 were told to stay at their desks. We cannot stay at our desks, we have to get out of the building. We have to get out, speak up and act now.

    • That’s exactly right, Alyssa. It’s time to act, and this seems to be a wake up call for many of us. Yes, we need to listen to those who are angry and disenfranchised. Unfortunately, the white working class men who helped Trump win are the ones who are going to be the hardest hit by his policies.

  • ColoradoGirl

    This post means a great deal to me- THANK YOU for writing it!! Having worked in renewable energy for the last 6.5 years I was starting to feel complacent and was wondering if a change of career was calling to me. I’ve been putting the question out in to the universe for the last few weeks- “where is my energy most needed?” Listening, wondering if I’d get clear guidance. The moment he won, I got it. I’m right where I need to be, but I need to be doing more. I’m choosing to be thankful right now because had he not won, I may have continued to grow in my complacency. Even as a young child, the health of the environment was always my biggest concern as well. My heart absolutely breaks over Trumps horrendous agenda in opposition of the health of the environment. It has me fired up as hell right now. I think I was under the impression (as naive as this was) that others know that this is immensely important as well. When he won, I realized that no, others aren’t on the same page, and I need to step up in a big way- which I intend to do. Thanks for mentioning Leonardo’s video as well- I also saw that and feel it’s aomething that EVERYONE should see. Oh and thank you also for mentioning the book Most Good, Least Harm in an earlier post. I’m also reading that as well. Time for more action! Yours in love- Sara

  • Brooke Hatfield

    Sheryl,
    This makes my throat hurt from the lump that has been there since the election. Again the tears flow.
    As a Canadian, I am so sad for my American friends who did not get Hillary. She is the real deal and I am fiercely proud of her. I am still reeling that Trump is your new leader and my anxiety has spiked beyond measure. I am fearful for where we all in this world have landed with this election and can only hope it can be stopped. It just has to be stopped.

    Thank you for writing this.

  • B

    I’d just like to add the extraordinary events that are going on elsewhere that have received less coverage maybe. The Australian government is introducing new laws to say that no refugee who comes by boat will ever be resettled in Australia, and the human rights abuses going on in our offshore detention centres is abhorrent. There’s no shortage of reports of children harming themselves, women being raped and innocent refugees committing suicide as they are in limbo with no end date or resettlement date. Even our doctors and health care professionals are all in massive protest over the abuses going on in Nauru.

    I just want to add that although Trump is talking about all the racist and abhorrent things he will do (and people are taking it upon themselves to engage in hateful acts in his name), it’s already happening and state-sanctioned in Australia.

  • Alina Aweau

    Check out “Let it Be” by John Legend and Alicia Keys on YouTube. I can’t stop watching it. Thank you, Sheryl, for all you do. Let’s all rise up for LOVE!

  • Heather

    Hi Sheryl, when I opened this email I thought it was going to be inspirational instead It has been about politics which quite honestly I feel is inappropriate. As a fellow Jew myself who originally wanted Bernie and voted for Trump I came across a lot of obstacles in this election with my heart. I have endured the pain of having friends lose jobs to other countries and also the pain of our current health care system. I just wish that your post was a little more impartial. I have been offended that this current president elect has been compared to Hilter. My grandfathers parents were taken away and 8 million jews were killed and slaughtered. To equate the holocaust to immigration is making light of the PAIN that my grandfather felt and that entire generation. It is making the holocaust seem like nothing. I have been mocked and ridiculed for not voting for Hillary. My voice has been silent for so long with rage and anger from various democrats telling me how to feel, think and vote. I feel like I can breathe now and really be myself. So in a way although I am sitting writing this with anger—I thank you. I thank God-I thank the country for allowing us to come out and for everyone to voice our anger instead of being beaten down to think a certain way. I love your newsletters and I would hate for this post to really cover my heart.

    • I’m not quite sure how to respond to this, Heather, except to say that I think you’ve misunderstood several points in my post and, mostly, to send you love.

    • Joanna

      I agree with Heather. I did not find this post appropriate. As someone who voted for Trump I am deeply saddened how people are talking about us and how we must be racist and all these horrible things because we voted for Trump. We are great people and saw behind the lies the media painted about Trump.

      • As I wrote to Dawn below: “It’s essential for me to say, Dawn, that I do NOT believe that all people who voted for Trump are hateful and evil. This post is for those who are feeling uncertainty and are unmoored by the election results, and I knew it wouldn’t speak to everyone (which is why I hesitated to write it). As always with my work, I encourage you to take what resonates with you and leave the rest.”

  • Sarah

    https://youtu.be/1m_sWJQm2fs

    This is the song that best calms my anxiety.

  • Dawn

    Heather, I completely agree with your reply. This election has been ripping me to shreds on the inside, and I too was very disappointed to read this rather one sided post on the website where I come for some comfort. I resent the fact that people who have voted for Trump are automatically presumed to be hateful and evil, it’s just not fair. When I saw an email from you, Sheryl, I was hoping for a little boost of confidence in a time when I feel like the odd one out in my family.

    • It’s essential for me to say, Dawn, that I do NOT believe that all people who voted for Trump are hateful and evil. This post is for those who are feeling uncertainty and unmoored by the election results, and I knew it wouldn’t speak to everyone (which is why I hesitated to write it). As always with my work, I encourage you to take what resonates with you and leave the rest.

  • Rebecca

    Thank you, Sheryl. Your posts have offered me wisdom and comfort many times in the past and I have been checking your site since the election in hopes that you might be able to offer a port in the storm of my fear and grief since Tuesday. I know we are all suffering right now and I know this post must have taken a great deal of energy to write; I’m very grateful that you did write it.

    I am an American who now lives in Canada, and I can say that having “moved to Canada” several years ago, it doesn’t diminish my sadness about what is happening in America, or my sense of obligation to take action where I can. The potential environmental consequences of this election will affect the whole world, not just the United States, so that is where I am going to start. In the meantime, here is a peace song from Canada that has given me some comfort over the past few days. Thank you again for the work that you do, and peace to you and your family.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bc6HloRYZGc

  • Laura

    What a gift in the midst of a difficult week! Thank you for the safe space, authenticity, and hope offered here. Lots of love to you and your boys as we navigate all of this together.

  • Beautiful. Thank you very much for this.
    Julie

  • E

    The issue that speaks to me most is women’s reproductive health, and women’s rights in general. Having just had to terminate a very much wanted pregnancy because of serious genetic problems, I am still in the process of grieving and experiencing deep heartache. No one who has not gone through this (especially a man) can understand the pain of making such a difficult decision.. I would never choose to be in this position, though it has taught me such a great deal about life, love, myself, the world and has forced me to majorly slow down and turn inward. So many women experience this in silence and shame. The idea of random, ignorant men attempting to control the decisions of myself and thousands of women like me feels deeply wrong at my most core level. Perhaps they are preying on fears about reproduction or parenthood that are universal to humanity in some way. The wisdom of a woman and a mother should be honored, and her heartbreak should be supported and met with love, not scourn and hate.

    • Thank you so much for having the courage to share this, E, and as much heartbreak as I hear in your words, I also hear so much strength, clarity, wisdom, and love. May you bring this strength and conviction to the world in some way when you’re ready, and may you know that you are loved.

    • Alicia

      E,

      Thank you for the courage to share your story. I went through the same, for the same reason, a little over 5 years ago. No one who hasn’t experienced our pain can understand it. You are not alone, my friend. I pray for your comfort and peace.

  • Ellen

    Thank you for this post. I have read your posts many times in search of comfort in my personal life. Right now it feels like my personal life and the reality of our political life are inextricably linked.
    I am a teacher and the fear and anguish that my community is facing right now is not something I ever thought I would see. I appreciate your candor in directly confronting the hate and prejudice that has come from the Trump campaign. For some it is easy to pick and choose what you like about him, for others it is a matter of life and death, safety and danger, love and hate. What a privilege it must be to be able to look past Trump’s racism because there are no personal consequences.
    I will use this post to help me process the phase of this moment, and to help me find strength and hope and finally action. Thank you.

    • Thank you, Ellen. This is so well-articulated, and the fear/terror is very, very real for many people and families. It’s heart-wrenching, and one of the only comforts is knowing that we’re in this together. We will stand up.

  • LABride

    Dear Sheryl,

    Thank you so much for this. This last week I have been grieving, hard, and I am gripped with fear. As a woman and as an “obviously ethnic” Middle Easterner, I am terrified for what I might experience. As an academic who has studied political patterns, I can’t help but feel like I am living through the early days of Hitler’s rhetoric. And I feel like there is nothing I can do to stop it.

    My question is, how can I be okay? How can I shift from a perspective of inevitable apocalypse to a perspective of hope? I wrote in the CT boards that I notice similarities between the fear of uncertainty in my relationship and fear of uncertainty in America. But the difference is that while the fear in my relationship was unfounded, the fear of uncertainty with America is based on a lot more facts.

    I am just this unhealthy mix of anger, fear, frustration, and hopelessness. I know that the goal is to love and fight for love, but I can feel myself slipping into feelings of hatefulness and wanting vengeance (and by vengeance, I mean I want Americans to suffer at the hands of Trump so that they can finally know what they’ve done to themselves). How do you think I can I fight this growing dark part of me?

    And lastly, I want to thank you, because your work taught me so much about grieving and understanding myself. If it wasn’t for you, I would be in a much darker and more confused place this election.

    Thank you,

    LA Bride

    • Given your level of awareness and intelligence, of course you’re afraid. There’s no way you couldn’t be afraid. This is where this political situation and the climate in our country/world differs from relationship anxiety. But, ultimately, the work is the same: we must feel the fear completely, which may mean writing down what you are most afraid of. We’re telling ourselves stories in our minds, some of which could absolutely comes to fruition under Trump’s rule, and we need to make all of these stories conscious. Then we need to dig down deep inside and find that place of strength and triumph, that place that knows and trusts that we are stronger than this and we can work and fight to protect the dignity of all people and the Earth herself. If you fall into the pit of despair, you will lose the impulse to act. Finally, as I wrote in the post, it’s about training our minds to orient toward light and hope and to trust the bigger plan that we cannot see right now. I’m an optimist and I know, somehow, deep in my bones, that we’re going to be okay. That doesn’t mean there isn’t going to be loss and destruction on the way to being okay; it’s already happening. We’re already losing people, species, and land daily. It’s heartbreaking. Life swings between destruction and creation and we’re in a downswing cycle of destruction right now. It will swing back and we’ll see an upsurge of creativity and light, but the planet will need to reset itself first. We’re in the process of resetting right now, and it’s scary. Just as I told my son, you’re right to be scared: this is empirically, objectively scary, especially if you’re someone who has been targeted and marginalized. AND YET, we MUST move through the fear and grief so that we can ACT from the place of HOPE. We will overcome. We will be okay. We will be okay because we will MAKE it okay. It’s in the hands of the people now, and the people are saying NO, this is not okay, we do not accept, we will protect. I hope that helps. My heart is with you.

  • Kayla

    Jack Johnson songs always put me in a better mood. 🙂 This one especially: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EEZShiPTK6M

  • Wow!! I have been spending a great deal of time attempting to articulate all that you just wrote. Thank you for speaking with such grace and elegance!

    Song for me is “Brave New World” at http://www.fullmoonrisingmusic.Com

    Love you Sheryl. Thank you again!

  • Angela

    Dear Sheryl, Its sad that a few people didnt understand this post. I totally understand your interpretation relating to TRUMP. The way i see it is yes he is disrespectful to women and he is a racist but is that who he really is. Is it a smart tactic to get people his attention. Drama invites people, you see it happen on facebook , its only for viewings ratings. This is how the world is today, very sad but true. Nobody wants to hear the same old things.Its boring to alot of people. As they say sex sells and so does drama and lies. Its a well thought post Sheryl, its your truth and thats important. Beautiful songs guys.
    My inspiring song is https://youtu.be/ViqCO35OfNU rebecca ferguson nothings real but love

    • Sadly, Angela, it does seem to be who he really is, which we can see when we listen to his own, first-person words (not words mutated by the media). All we have to do is listen to the “sex tapes”, which he never thought he would be revealed to a worldwide audience, to hear the true Trump. And there are so many more examples.

  • Lucy

    Sheryl,
    Thank you for speaking so completely openly and honestly and, as always, from your heart in this post. I think it’s easy for people with wider followings and readership to try to be at least subtly impartial or neutral when it comes to politics but, in my opinion, that stance is dishonest and dangerous right now. Thank you for offering a guide on how to move forward with so many strong and painful emotions.
    Lucy

  • agnes

    Hello, Sheryl & all. I am not a US citizen but we definitely share your unease over here. I won’t pretend to be well-informed enough to comment further on the matter, so I won’t.

    I do have a couple of questions which are unrelated – I hope you don’t mind. I would post them at a more appropriate time on a more appropriate post, but I have been sat on these questions for many weeks as it is. I apologise if my timing is off.

    Lately (and since I broke free from the initial anxiety and numbness I have suffered in my relationship…) I have been so fearful of losing my boyfriend. My biggest fear is that I have done all this work, re-configuring my beliefs and the way I react to and perceive my thoughts and feelings…and that one day it will just stop feeling ‘right’ for him, and he will go. Whereas I have learned how to manage these things, he will take them at face-value eventually. He will follow the belief of the culture – doubt means don’t. How have you and your husband/other clients & partners introduced & involved each other in this work? I send him your posts and I express how important this work is to me, but you can’t make a person absorb something…or feel the same importance it holds for you. How do I handle that?

    Another question I have is about anger. One of the greatest emotions to manage, for me, is my anger. It grows to be so big until I feel like I am this fizzing bottle of rage that is about to blow its top. I feel that I have a low-level anger/resentment coursing through me most of the time. I am a very irritable person. I have tried to address the root of this problem but I feel at a loss to what it is. I don’t want to be an angry partner, daughter or parent. Yet there is an adolescent resistance in me towards ‘goodness’. I’m not sure what you can say to help me, but any advice would be greatly appreciative.

    This blog is home and I am so incredibly grateful it and you exist. Thank you.

    • Would your partner be willing to take this course?

      http://conscious-transitions.com/when-your-partner-has-relationship-anxiety/

      As far as anger, it’s a generally a cover-up emotion. If you can access the fear, grief, and disappointment that live inside of it, the anger usually dissipates. Like anxiety, it’s a messenger-emotion, not a core emotion, and the work is to access what’s at the core. I also find that anger reaches higher crescendoes when we’re off physically in some way: lack of sleep, lack of exercise, hormonal imbalance, too much stimulants (coffee, sugar, chocolate, alcohol), etc.

      • agnes

        He is willing in every other way, so I would hope so. Not that he is displaying signs of struggling in any way at all, but I fear it for the future. I certainly wouldn’t go through any major transitions (like moving in and getting married) without being very explicit about ‘doing my work’.

        That’s really interesting about anger, I didn’t know that. I will move forward better informed. Thank you for all your suggestions.

  • This is a much-needed, necessary post. Thank you. What I struggle with is how to get through to the people who don’t see him as a dangerous problem. How do we get people to listen and care beyond themselves? It feels like beating my head against a brick wall.

    On the night of the election as it was becoming clearer that he would win, I dreamed that I fearing being raped. The word “violated” you used is perfect; this feels like a true violation of my body, mind, and soul.

    What I’m feeling called to do, at least right now, is to keep my energy close to home. To focus on my daughter and really tap into what values I want to instill in her. She’s 7 weeks today, and seeing her innocence, her complete ignorance of anything that’s happening right now (aside from picking up on my stress), is somehow helpful. Knowing I’m fighting for her fuels my flames. Focusing on creating a new generation of people who love with grace and compassion is priority one.

    There’s an intense anger I feel, and I know in my bones that Mother Nature is infinitely stronger than man could ever be. She will win, someway, somehow. I don’t know yet in what ways I will act on her behalf, but for now I can be her voice. Thank you for your words, and your bravery in sharing them.

  • Thank you for voicing your thoughts in a respectful way, Maryann. I know it was the abortion issue that pushed many people, including women, toward Trump. As far as this:

    “I didn’t like either candidate, but your post is also making me realize that I am probably not the type of person you want on this blog, because I don’t think abortion is right.”

    I wouldn’t phrase it that way at all. If my work speaks to you, then by all means I encourage you continue to check in. It’s okay to “agree to disagree”, and to take what works and leave the rest. Sending love!

  • JB

    Last night, for the second time since the election I dreamed about being taken advantage of and nearly raped. Interesting though, it was not a man. I don’t take that literally, but I do see the connection between these dreams and the election.

    “To dream that you were raped or almost raped indicates vengeful or resentful feelings toward the opposite sex. You feel that you have been violated or that you have been taken advantage of. Something or someone is jeopardizing your self-esteem and emotional well-being. Things are being forced upon you. ”

    FACT, FACT AND FACT. This man, Trump, is being forced on me/us. I grieved, much harder than expected after last Tuesday. I mean, I’ve only voted in 2 other elections in my life. Politics was not a common subject in my household growing up and it wasn’t until I got older I started seeing that IT MATTERS and I need to make my voice heard. So I voted for the third time. And you know what? The majority didn’t win. THE MAJORITY didn’t win. I feel let down by our system currently. But I’m not hopeless. I’ve joined the tens-of-thousands around the country who are standing up. And we’ll continue to do so, because our future depends on it. I’m not hopeless and want to say thank you Sheryl for these words.

    • You’re speaking for many women right now, JB. I’m glad to hear that you’re not hopeless and that you are ready to stand up for freedom, respect, and equality for all.

  • Newly Married

    Interesting what Labride says, (I am just this unhealthy mix of anger, fear, frustration, and hopelessness. I know that the goal is to love and fight for love, but I can feel myself slipping into feelings of hatefulness and wanting vengeance (and by vengeance, I mean I want Americans to suffer at the hands of Trump so that they can finally know what they’ve done to themselves). How do you think I can I fight this growing dark part of me?)

    I been going through the same except is with everyone who has hurt me and I just dont know how to deal with this, I am becoming so angry and hateful sometimes and I dont like myself, but there is this part of me that says I have every right to punish and hurt them back, how do I deal with that, how can I get past this? I want to be humble and loving and forgiving its so much more peaceful.

    • It sounds like there is a lot of old hurt and anger that needs attention. Are you currently in regular therapy?

      • Newly Married

        I started it but and in January I am going to fully attend due to insurance.
        Sheryl there is this thing that is been bothering me, is this voice that says that if I continue with my partner because of what happened in the past (remember we talked about it) that because I should had not accepted that and should had put my foot down but because of low self steam or immaturity obviously I didnt stoped it at the time back then, and now this voice its telling me that if I continue with my husband I am putting myself down by being with him because of what happened and how he was hurtful and accepting or being with him now is putting me and myself steam down and he doesnt deserve me and accepting him or continuing with him its lowering my self steam for being with someone who hurt me back.
        He is obviously not doing anything like that again and he is great and our relationship is amazing other than my anger but we are great together, do you think its the voice of my wounded self to protect me? so that I find it as an excuse to continue angry and keeping him at length ? I dont want that to be my truth I want to be with him, but this voice tells me that. I am confused.

        • Newly Married

          When those thoughts arise, my angry self its like it grows and it gives my angry self like a ” right” to be angry and to be hurtful or mad.

          I am trying to think and i been thinking its my wounded self being in control and telling “angry self” the angry persona in me that and then that way “angry” gets angry and its excused to remain guarded.
          But I wonder if by being with someone who was hurtful in the past you do in fact lower or diminish yourself or if its just the voices of my ego.
          My husband is amazing and he has explained why he was like that back then he has grown and we have a wonderful relationship, we really do, I dont want to leave him. but that voice bothers me alot.

  • Emma1404

    Dear Sheryl,

    Thank you for this post – I was eagerly waiting for your reaction. I am not a US citizen but still feel very affected by all this. I have been trying to look at it through an inner bonding lens and an opportunity to practice all the tools I’ve learnt to deal with anxiety: sometimes our loving adult is there for a while, we make A LOT of progress, but suddenly, our ego feels threatened and it comes back with a vengeance. Fear and disconnection are back in the driver’s seat, screaming in our ears. But with practice, we know that we can’t take this at face value – we know that the wounded self/ego is there because we made so much progress and it is scared… scared of the uncertainty that these changes may bring.

    Our collective shadows are exposed now – intolerance, racism, homophobia, misogyny, disrespect for Mother Earth… maybe this is a wake up call for more of us to take action. I feel called to stand up for our planet and women’s right (their degradation work hand in hand, as you highlight in your blog).

    I find solace in listening to you meditation “yes, nos and I don’t knows” from the TY course – I repeat yo myself, like a mantra “trust in the rythm and wisdom of your body” – i see myself walking bare foot inNature and “grasping bamboos “. This is our true nature – and I feel connected to myself and centered again.

    I found these words of Buddhist teachers, including pema chodron http://www.lionsroar.com/buddhist-teachers-respond-to-news-of-trumps-presidential-win/
    And I am reminded of pema’s book “when things fall apart”… which sounds like an appropriate book to re lread..

    With love,
    Emma1404

  • Clare

    Thank you for taking the risk to post this. I was worried when I opened it that the message would be more impartial – but when we are talking about the violation of basic human rights, it is not the time for neutrality. So glad you took a stand.

  • Lydia

    Thank you so much for writing this, Sheryl. I too had a nightmare that Trump had won. I tossed and turned thinking the returns would surely right themselves and align with everyone’s predictions, and then woke up to find out my dream was reality.

    As for songs, I’ve been listening to Leonard Cohen’s version of Hallelujah in various forms, for various reasons. Pentatonix recently released a beautiful version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRP8d7hhpoQ, and Kate McKinnon sang it as HRC on SNL last weekend.

    Those who are arguing that Trump is not really as racist and misogynistic as he seems should really think about whether talking the talk isn’t just as harmful as truly being racist and misogynistic.

    • WOW to this: “Those who are arguing that Trump is not really as racist and misogynistic as he seems should really think about whether talking the talk isn’t just as harmful as truly being racist and misogynistic.”

  • Clara

    Sheryl, I cannot thank you enough for this post. We in Australia have been paralysed too by the result of your election. Not being able to participate in the outcome, but acutely conscious that it affects us all, it has been very hard to know what to do with our feelings. Many of us have crumbled into reactive anger ad cynicism… I’m seeing versions of the following statement filling up Facebook: “if you’re going to be this stupid, America, then this is your problem, not ours!”, but in our hearts we know that is not helpful, not true, and no solution or way forward (and, for what its worth, we’ve elected some pretty appalling Prime Ministers too, in our time).

    I have not been able to cry or grieve – but have been stuck, holding my breath, waiting for some fantasy resolution – for example, Trump declaring that he said everything he did during the campaign just to galvanise a huge sleeping swathe of the electorate to vote for him, but now that he’s in the plans to do genuine good in the world. It’s amazing what the gymnastics that mind will do to avoid pain and to suppress the unthinkable. Your post helped me cry. Helped me feel the reality of what has occurred. And helped me feel a sense of purpose and solidarity in whatever the counter-movement will be. Sending you, and all your American readers, so much love, support and strength. You have friends all across the world, praying for you, and willing and wanting to stand along side you in what will follow.

  • Dawn

    I just wonder if you would have written a post similar to this if the election had different results? The fact is, this election was hard on everyone, either result would have half of the country in complete upset. I am not going to go on about my feelings about this, as it will only contribute to making this “sanctuary” a political backdrop. I know that you originally posted this to calm the fears of Clinton supporters, but I really believe you could have went about it in a different way. I sincerely hope that all of your readers find the inner peace that all of us seem to be striving for.

  • Kaley

    Thanks for this. I think so many of us are trying not to give in to the fear. Personally I’ve started trying to get pregnant and it feels like a very scary time for that. But I don’t want to let this fear control my life. I’ve been listening to One Republic “Love Runs Out” during angry work outs this week. Trying to have faith that the love cannot run out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OWj0CiM8WU

  • Connie

    My goodness Sheryl…umm….what took place last week was the same amazing thing that happens every 4 years in America – We exercised the incredible privilege of getting to say how we feel and what we think by casting our ballots! (And getting to do so without fear, without coercion and in sweet, sanctioned safety I must add with Gratitude – ) Just as we did in the past two elections, we turned out, put our hearts and hopes into our votes, knowing it would be up to the majority of us and our dear fellow citizens.
    But this time, the majority-vote produced an ‘unexpected’ result, and now…everything is awful and terrible??
    My dear Girlfriend…No person in this country needs to be feeling fear because of ONE election outcome. ESPECIALLY children from a loving family such as yours. Unless of course, they learned this fear from their parents… and why create such a burden for them?? These election swings and surprises have been happening for YEARS. Disappointment? Yes. Fear? Nope – The sun still comes up every day and the rhythm of our work and our love continue on as they always have and always will until we are called Home from our earthly bounds.
    There is pain here for me in the way you have written this post…(I don’t believe you ever mean to inflict pain btw -) Tones of the same heartbreaking divisiveness I’ve been seeing on some of our news channels since the election. Your message is couched in Love, yet you have made some awful, scathing insults to another person’s character that just do not add up to ‘Love’ in any way, shape or form…. Sigh* I have greatly admired your work and taken one of your classes. You have helped me a great deal as a fellow HSP. I am just…a bit stunned that you would use your beautiful platform and voice to say such horrible things about our president-elect, (whether we like him or not, he IS our future president) AND dismiss what so many of our fellow countrymen are trying to say about how THEY feel. Of course, it is your right…and everyone needs to vent from time to time…and we DO hear you My Dear.
    I hope for some peace in your soul and some rest. And the realization of all the blessings at your home, in your family and in ‘our’ country…Yes OUR country. Not just his. And I hope that your options become shiny, clear and bright. There are many opportunities to let our needs be known and to tend to the needs of others – in a very free and safe land I must add. What a wonderful opportunity to teach your beautiful boys how their country’s elections and government work – and how we can all chip in to make it work in ways that will serve us better!
    All is NOT lost, my dear. Not in the least. Perceived setbacks and disappointments bring us gifts; maturity, resilience, and amazing gains for having gone through them. You said as much yourself. We will come out the other side stronger and possibly even grateful for having had this happen in our great Land.
    Meantime, please continue your beautiful work, marching along in love and consistency. I will do same,
    Connie

    • Ann

      Agree 100% you took the words out of my mouth.

      “I am just…a bit stunned that you would use your beautiful platform and voice to say such horrible things about our president-elect, (whether we like him or not, he IS our future president) AND dismiss what so many of our fellow countrymen are trying to say about how THEY feel.

      But this time, the majority-vote produced an ‘unexpected’ result, and now…everything is awful and terrible??”

      Im not terrified by the election outcome, I didn’t even vote for him and don’t agree with everything he says, but do think he has some good things to offer. He said some things during his campaign that he already has seemed to tone down a bit. We aren’t even giving him a chance. And if there is real fear look at history. People have feared past candidates and everything turned out ok in the end. Politics is cyclical. Read this https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/11/14/liberals-get-hyperbolic-every-time-a-republican-is-elected/

      The real tragedy in my mind isn’t who was elected, its how everyone hates each other now. Even those who are preaching love. Thats terrifying to me

      • There is no hatred here, Ann. “Hate” is word that I do not feel, say, or write, and I feel very sad that you’ve read my post through that lens.

      • J.

        I agree with the few who posted their surprise at this post. I have been reading this blog for a few years now, and it always brings me a feeling of peace and renewal. This post unfortunately made me rethink it all. I am incredibly tired of slanted media coverage, social media being overtaken by individuals who are absolutely TERRIFIED or protesting perfectly legal election results just because they don’t like said results. To be quite honest, it is repulsing many folks, rather than taking advantage of a great opportunity to act with graciousness and dignity which could have attracted more individuals who do not like Trump. Instead, it is making Democrats seem like a bunch of cry-babies and Chicken Littles, and if folks remember this in four years, they’ll be less apt to vote for Democrats.. I am frankly exhausted from all the hatred, overly dramatic fear that Democrats are feeling (as if WWIII is starting), and analogies of the president elect as an evil person (e.g. “Like the witch in The Chronicle of Narnia, he cast a spell that froze our world, so devoid is he of heart and humanity.”). He may not be great, he may even be terrible, but some of his platforms resonated with folks (non bigoted/racist/educated folks) and Democrats were too arrogant to see this. Everyone is entitled to their opinion,even loving, caring Sheryl, but as someone who claims no loyalty to any political party but just votes according to issues because most politicians have to pay the piper after the election, even Hillary (this election provided no quality candidates in the end), I am disappointed that the one remaining website, where I typically come for a positive respite from the sensationalism, divisiveness, and negativity of the internet, devolved into a very divisive and sensationalized post. If WWIII begins tomorrow, I stand corrected.

    • Thank you for sharing your opinions, Connie. There are so many points I could respond to, but as I said in my ezine intro, I’m not interested in using this platform to engage in political debate but rather to help those who are struggling in the aftermath to process their difficult feelings so that we can move toward hope, action, and love. Also, thank you for your thoughts about my boys. Rest assured that we are NOT living in fear here. Fear was a stage of the process but not an endpoint. We are filled with hope and an inspiration to take action, which stems from love. Thank you for the blessings for love and peace, and I’m sending you much love and peace as well.

  • Tara

    Hi Sheryl,
    I wonder if you could speak to the challenges this election presents in relationships. I have been working through my relationship anxiety with my fiance, who is loving and caring towards me. But he voted for Trump and I feel like it’s tearing our relationship apart. He keeps saying that he doesn’t agree with him on the sexist, racist things he said, but gets defensive whenever I want to talk about my feelings about the election. I do feel as though I’m grieving and feel really alone in my grief. And I feel so betrayed by his vote. I keep asking myself – is there room for healing here or is this a difference we cannot overcome? Our divide is growing daily. Help!

    • Hi Tara: I’ve often said, even before this election, that having different political opinions or being of different parties from one’s spouse must be one of the most challenging differences to have in a partnership. The only way through, as far as I can see, is to find a way to sit with each other and listen to each of your opposing views with an open heart and true curiosity. Is he able to tell you, for example, how he can separate the racists and sexist things Trump has said from the reasons why he voted for him? Perhaps he can hear your feelings about the election if he trusts that you’re not trying to convince him but just hoping to share? Like I said, this is extremely challenging, and my hearts go out to both of you as you try to navigate through this.

    • Elizabeth

      Sheryl – your response did spike me, is this a red flag issue that you speak of?

      Tara, I’ve had the same issue this election. I’ve heard of couples who felt this way. IT seems like it effects your day to day life now but may not in the long run. I guess its how political you may be. It may seem important now because its election time and its on everyones mind. But I know soon it won’t be part of my daily thoughts anymore mostly because politics are not in my day to day life. I see it like religion, it depends on how important it is to you. Im very religious so being with the same faith as my partner was way more important than a political party

      But I can see how being with a trump supporter can cause all other fears – is he racist or truly sexist? I had these fears too and after talking with him realized that when one supports a candidate, they don’t support all of the candidate necessarily

  • Loxa

    Hi Sheryl,

    Thank you for all the time and thoughtfulness, bravery, and love you put into this post.

    I’m having a hard time with my boyfriend during this post-election week. He’s British and been lashing out with statements about “all Americans” (I’m American). Within one conversation he expresses feelings of devastation at the results of the election, but then will tell me that my feelings of being devastated are bullshit and then goes back into an angry rant about all Americans and saying some really offensive things. I’ve asked him several times for some quiet companionship and a hug, I’ve asked him to contextualize his comments, I’ve asked him to use less aggressive language, I’ve told him his generalizations hurt me but none of those things have reached him. I’ve tried just reaching out and touching him lovingly and he just goes cold. I finally reached my breaking point and told him that he’s not a good person for me to be around right now while I’m having such intense feelings of grief and fear around the election, that I need to feel like he listens and believes me when I tell him my feelings and to have him respond to me with compassion. I told him I would contact him when I felt I was able to do so.

    I keep thinking of the concept of a relationship as a safe haven and am heartbroken and full of fear because that’s not what’s happening at the moment. Scared for the future anxiety and relationship anxiety are all mushed together and I’m having a hard time connecting to any other feeling.

    • It sounds like you’ve taken the most loving action you can take right now, which is to give both of you some space until you’ve cooled off. When emotions are running this high and deeper fears and patterns are triggered, it’s nearly impossible to find a safe haven in which to hear each other. This is true not only around elections but in relationship in general. It sounds like something very painful has been activated for him and he’s not able to see through it quite yet.

  • Tanya

    Dear Sheryl, I thought of you and your family and wondered just how the wisdom community was going to face this big shock. We are thinking of you and so many feel the same here in Australia. Devastated for you. Your words are so heartfelt and so helpful Thankyou. I also thought the same in terms of solidarity with any threatened group – that it’s just that threat that galvanises us to actually do something – A powerful thing like empathy brings people and our common humanity, closer together. Imagine what kind of country you will have when millions of you activate their love in everyday life in such a way. Powerful and amazing. Every great story ever told has a struggle. So sad to watch it in real life but confident in your community of hope. Love.

  • Angela

    My question is why would so many vote for trump if he isnt the right fit for America. Im so surprised especially the women who voted for him. I wonder why, can anyone help me here, im puzzled.

    • Emma

      I was taking about this with my friend the other day why women didn’t vote for her and the reason is that sometimes women have a better relationship with their father than mother. Sometimes women with other women can be the worst whereas if you’ve ever worked with men the culture is less vicious. It’s who she was as a woman and I think women got scared that they would be under their cold mother. I hesitated myself voting for her bc I saw my mother. She wasn’t warm but rather was seen as “the cold” mother which is something that many women hated. I think if we have a warm woman president candidate,someone who is truly caring like Michelle Obama the polls would be different.

      • I think we have to be very careful about hypothesizing about why other people voted the way they did. It’s complicated, and everyone has their reasons. I encourage us, on this site, to stay with our own feelings about the elections instead, which you have shared here.

  • Leah77

    Dear Sheryl,
    Thank you so much for this brave, honest and wonderful post. I admire you very deeply for writing it. As you know, I’m in UK and, following Brexit, SO many of us have been left feeling so angry, sad and unheard. I think the Trump vote further amplified these feelings. There’s such a sense of shock reverberating all around the world right now. To me, it’s all about the grief of feeling so disconnected and cut off from others. It’s hard to understand….but like you and others say, maybe this is an opportunity for us all to take responsibility and realise that the “ordinary man” CAN make a difference. “Emma 1404”, I love what you wrote!
    Sheryl….sending you so much love. Thank you once again.
    Zoe xxx

    • Thank you, dear Zoe. There’s such an interesting and disturbing parallel between Brexit and these elections, and I pray that the divisions that stem from fear of “other” lead to greater connection at some point and in some way.

  • Angela

    Thanks Emma, I think also alot of women didnt vote for Clinton because she is a woman. Anyways, Im not one who likes to talk about politics it gives me the shivers i hate the feeling and so do most people.

  • Two days after the election, I got into my car and the stereo turned on automatically. It’s connected to my iPhone which has over a thousand songs on it. The song that started playing was ‘No Bad News’ by Patty Griffin. One of my favorites, but not something I had listened to in quite some time. As I listened to the words, in a new light, I started crying once again. I’ve been listening to that song, on a loop, since that day.

    Thank you for this post and for helping me through this incredibly difficult time.

    Much love, Phoebe

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwSqJjQ1vJ0

  • Elizabeth

    First of all, thank you, Sheryl, for taking the obvious risk in writing this post. I want to say that in all the elections I voted in (the first was 1980) I have never experienced this mass mourning by one side of supporters over the election results. The Washington Post article, mentioned above by one of the commenters, says this happened in 1980 with Reagan. I was completely unaware of that. Perhaps it was the lack of social media then. And, I would not underestimate the role social media has played in this election, outcome and fallout as well.
    Secondly, I want to speak to the commenters who were disappointed in your post. You gave clear warning to all your subscribers and even created a portal where a password was needed and again made clear that this was not for those who were happy with the outcome. They entered at their own risk. They judged your decision as inappropriate. But for those of us who were devastated by the election outcome, and in need of a safe place in which to share our feelings and experience your shining light in the collective darkness, your decision to share your own, personal politics with us was, in my opinion, absolutely necessary. I’m sorry that some may feel that you are not on their side after this post. I hope they reconsider that conclusion. I read each one of their comments and there is obviously some patronizing judgement going on here in a couple of comments. On the other hand, I am glad to know there are some very articulate, thoughtful people who supported Trump and hopefully will join us all in making sure the hateful rhetoric, racism and sexism generated during the campaign does not enter the presidency.
    Thirdly, on a personal note, I am from Alabama and my entire family voted for Trump and I have always been disregarded as the bleeding heart liberal. I now live in Europe and I can tell you the ripples of this election have washed over the continent here. Living in a former communist bloc country, I can tell you the fear of NATO being dissolved is real. The fear of Putin’s long, greedy arms is real.
    Back to personal; on the day after the election, I changed my profile pic to black. No comment. My brother, within seconds, commented under my photo with a smug, gloating, patronizing few sentences. I had been crying, but his action drove me to anger and I immediately deleted his comment. I sat with it a few minutes and then I unfriended him. He did not notice it until a few days ago and wrote me a very angry message in which he accused me of unfriending him because of differing political views and told me to grow up. Well, I have not yet responded to him. I don’t know how to make him see, that it was his insensitivity that I responded to and decided not to put up with any longer. Because it goes back years and years. I certainly did not unfriend the rest of my family who were Trump supporters. There is no way under any circumstances, if Hillary had won, that I would gloat on ANY of my friends who supported Trump’s pages. I am not happy that my unfriending hurt my brother but we are so different in many ways, even beyond political, that I don’t know how to heal this rift or if that should even be my job. I am a little bit tired of always being the accomodating sister/friend/daughter who worries if everyone is not getting along. I don’t know if you have any advice to this end, but I would greatly appreciate it.

    • Thank you for your comment, Elizabeth. I appreciate your support and your words on many levels.

      As far as your brother, it sounds like these elections have illuminated a wound between you that extends far beyond these results. It’s not your job to heal the rift, and it also sounds like you’re ready to let go of your long-standing role in the family as peacemaker, which I imagine has come at the cost of your own integrity at times. You’re done playing nice! My hope and guess is that, at some point, and hopefully in person, you and your brother may be able to sit down and work this out, but that would require a genuine openness from both of you. His smug and gloating response leads me to believe that this is a common mindset for him, and that he’s not operating under a basic attitude of openness and curiosity. Yours is not the first story I’ve heard where family members have splintered because of these election results. What we must understand is that it’s not the result itself but the underlying fissures that are being revealed because of result that need attention. We cannot ignore our shadow places any longer, both personally and collectively.

  • Onedayatatime

    I admire your willingness to re open this post Sheryl and for what you so vulnerably added at the beginning. I am Canadian, but just like everyone has touched on, this has had ripple effects and not just politically but emotionally no matter who people would have voted for. So I even found myself, I guess being triggered, and even asking my partner and family where they stood and how they would vote. Constantly lookijg things up on the internet. It was very soothing to see what you wrote the second time and that this was reopened because it highlights why this community has given so many so much hope. Why this has been such a place of support and healing. And to ultimately strive for love, understanding, connection and acceptance no matter what our differences are. And then of course taking responsibility and ownership in our own lives (and relationships and anxiety). Sending love and strength.

    • Thank you. This post-election time has been both eye-opening and humbling for me, for which I am grateful. My deepest prayer is that it awakens us from our cultural and even global slumber around so many key issues and inspires us, from a place of calm and love, to listen, to grow, and to take loving action.

  • Paul Browde

    Dear Sheryl
    I came to your site to look for inspiration as I will lead the ceremony for my niece’s wedding in January. I was so happy and relieved to find your post. What I do know right now, is that with all the years of practice, of letting go, of practicing non violence, etc. this election has stirred a place in me, where the best I can say right now is “I don’t know.”
    I really don’t know how to be, for within me are so many competing parts. The gay man who is terrified by the rhetoric spoken by the Vice President elect, the new Education secretary and others, which call me sick and says I should be allowed health care if I don’t choose to try to change my essential nature.
    The Jew, who feels that we have to notice when other groups are being harrassed, it’s the way it all begins.
    The doctor, who is so very worried about the dismissal of science, and the possible destruction of our beautiful planet.
    And also the peacemaker, who knows that clinging to any of these identities may find me others who agree with me, but will not help to heal the divide, to remind us that we are one organism. I don’t know. And perhaps as a man, that’s something for now…..we men are so quick to “know”. Time for some different role models.

    • This is beautiful and powerful, Paul, especially this: ” I don’t know. And perhaps as a man, that’s something for now… we men are so quick to “know”. Time for some different role models.” How very little we know, and, paradoxically, the more we rest in “I don’t know”, the more clear the path becomes.

  • Craig

    Hi Sheryl,

    I think if people truly understand the nature of your work then they’ll understand the nature of this post.

    It’s as if the whole thing is just one big collective projection…something’s not right in me/us so it’s gotta be the “others” fault.

    C

  • Lins G

    As an HSP, thank you for including how I can find what my path of action is. What calls me most is promotion of tolerance, acceptance, and all forms of love and expression humans have to offer. I am a teacher and have an audience of young minds to encourage daily. I sponsor our chapter of the Gay Straight Alliance and can reach kids that way too. I am white, cisgender, and heterosexual, acutely aware of the privileges unwittingly given- and also aware that I must stand with others to show that love will always win.