Well, we are finally here...Election Day! Normally I would make some comment about how "tomorrow we will wake up and there will be a new president." Yet, since nothing has been normal about this election, who knows what tomorrow will bring and what the status of the election not to mention the State of the Union will be.
What I do know is what many media outlets have been reporting -- "election anxiety" is at an all time high! The American Psychological Association says, "52 percent of American adults are coping with high levels of stress brought on by the election and that this anxiety is affecting both Republicans and Democrats equally."
Our work is grounded in the premise that every emotion, the "positive" as well as the "negative," are meant to serve us or as the great poet Rumi says are "sent as a guide from beyond."
Often it takes a breakdown to get to a breakthrough. So although this anxiety that many of us are experiencing might feel uncomfortable and may cause stress, frustration, and fear and may have its cost, my hope is that we can use this anxiety as a guide to learn, heal, and grow. My hope is that we can extract the wisdom from the wounds of this election and use it as a catalyst to evolve both individually and collectively.
Debbie Ford used to say, "Elections are all about the shadow." They are all about projection. We judge in the candidates, their "surrogates", and their supporters the qualities that we don't like or don't see in ourselves. Generally you want and need to take back your projections so that you can vote according to the issues facing the country as opposed to your own personal issues and unhealed wounds. Well, there is no question that this election has triggered reactions in all of us and provided us all with opportunities to look at our shadows and unconceal disowned qualities, both positive and negative, that we project on others.
Although I am obviously a great believer and lover of shadow work, my hope is that the learning and lessons that this election will ultimately provide go far beyond shadow work. If, as Newton's Third Law says, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction," then my hope is that on the other side of the tremendous anxiety, negativity, and divisiveness this election has caused, there will be a healing, learning, and shift of the same if not even greater magnitude.
My hope is that this experience serves as the catalyst for each of us to look beyond the politics and at our own personal platforms. In watching all that has been going on and sensing what has triggered or inspired you, let this election serve as an opportunity for us all to look within and reflect upon:
What do I stand for?
What do I want to say and how do I want to say it?
And, most importantly - who do I want to be and how do I want to contribute to the collective?
As you ponder these questions and find your answers within, I invite you to join me in thinking about an idea that Debbie wrote about years ago. She called it "The Communication Clean-Up Campaign." When she originally proffered this concept, I am sure she couldn't have imagined how relevant and necessary this campaign would be today. Her intention for that newsletter was to "bring to our attention something we can all work on that will not only change the lives of those around us but will change our lives as well...the way that we communicate." She talked about how the way we communicate can have "a devastating effect on our self-esteem and on our ability to live an open-hearted life."
There is no question that during this election we have seen how our words can be weapons, used to shame others, cut some one down at the knees, incite violence, fighting, and division, and even boomerang back around to assault the person who spoke them. The disrespectful has and will ultimately become the disrespected. But change can happen and it can start with each of us thinking globally and acting locally. It can start with us each being uber-vigilant and conscious about what we say and being mindful about restoring the integrity of our communications. We can and must demand this of ourselves and proactively ask for it in others.
Not to at all demean the significance of what happens today and tomorrow, since it is important, no matter what happens, I think we can all agree that we are stronger together and that we want America and the world to be great. I think we also can agree, as I read on someone's Facebook feed, it's time to "Make America Kind Again!" The good news is we can do that by joining in on The Communication Clean-Up Campaign.
Transformational Action Steps
(1) Start watching your words.
- Think about the purpose and intent of every communication and make sure your words match and magnify that intention.
- When you write an email, text or tweet, breath it in and feel how it lands in your body. Does it feel clean? Expansive? Or create any static that needs to be cleaned up?
- Before you speak, think about the impact your words will have as they are received and ripple out into the ether and see if there are any simple adjustments you need to make as you bring awareness to each and every word that you speak.
(2) Come join us at The Shadow Experience November 11th to November 13th in Irvington, New York or The Shadow Process December 2nd to December 4th in Los Angeles for the ultimate cleanup of your communication with yourself and others!