Friday, November 18, 2016

Nothing normal

Everyone keeps saying don't allow this situation with Trump as the president elect to become normalized. But how do we live with our breath caught, our fists balled, our hearts in a vise. I've been trying to move forward, to not allow myself to be so stuck on one note. And yet, each new cabinet appointment is a fresh reminder of just how dire things are:

A man deemed too racist to be appointed a judge might now become the U.S. attorney general. This man reportedly once joked that his only issue with the KKK was their drug use. A general who called Islam "a cancer" and defended Trump's call for a Muslim ban, will now be the national security advisor. A member of the Benghazi committee witch hunt is up for the top CIA post. The rheumy wizard of white supremacy will be Trump's senior advisor and counselor. And so it goes. Let's not even talk about Pence, who might be ever scarier than Trump. Whereas Trump is a hollow narcissist with no ideas of his own, Pence is a true ideologue with some really scary beliefs. Suffice it to say he signed a law allowing businesses and health care providers to refuse to serve members of the LGBTQ community based on their personal beliefs about "the lifestyle." Pence believes that gay people need to undergo conversion therapy. And these are the men who are whispering in the empty vessel's ear.

The problem is, all this is becoming our new normal. How exactly do we fight the pervasiveness of this—the forces of hate and self-interest that are standing in the daylight and taking over our federal government? Which thread do we pull on first? Where will our efforts do the most good? It scares me that I don't know, that I am just getting swept along, watching it all happen with a persistent sense of the surreal, feeling powerless to effect even the smallest change.

This morning, I remembered something a Tibetan Buddhist monk I interviewed once told me. "Our sense of being helpless to create change runs deep," he said. "That’s why our world is in such trouble, because we don’t understand that to change the world, we have only to change ourselves. We don’t have to go out and fight wars or march and carry placards and take on world powers. We merely have to live our lives where we are with as much love and generosity and faith as we can muster."

Could it be that simple? Maybe it's a good place to begin.


  1. I don't know. I keep seeking answers to this. We have to keep talking about it.

  2. I think it is the only way to begin. "Think globally, act locally." I hope I am not proven wrong.


  3. Thank you. I needed to hear those words so badly. They speak the truth of what I know in my heart but it's so hard to believe that love can bring change.
    Well. It sure can't hurt.
    And by the way- I love you.

  4. Thank you and the wise monk. It's exhausting living with the heaviness of this new reality and his words do help.

  5. Yes thank you for sharing this. Those words do help my spirit.

  6. I think there is a place for both.

  7. Yes. I think that monk is right. There's a lot of power in being kind, and honestly sometimes it takes a lot of courage.
    I read something on Buzzfeed about how Facebook has radicalized and polarized us, and not just the right side of 'us.' I haven't been on in almost a year, but when I take a peek at my husband's newsfeed, anger is all I see (even if the anger is, at least in my view) righteous. I'm staying away and going inward, and trying to be more affectionate with those I love, and even those I just kinda like.

  8. I come here by way of Elizabeth. I've read several of your posts, and your writing moves me. I am finally feeling the fog lift after this election and while I am practicing equanimity, I also am ready to march. Finding kindred spirits in these crazy days is akin to finding water in the desert. Absolutely essential to life. Thank you for sharing yourself so honestly.