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“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what the storm is all about.” ~ Haruki Murakami
It’s not breaking news. There is an inauguration planned to mark the commencement of Donald Trump’s office as the 45th President of the United States on January 20, 2017.
Many of us have mixed emotions around what’s happening in America. They rest along a continuum, from acceptance and hope on one end to fear and all-out rage on the other.
This is okay.
This is better than okay; this is necessary.
I’m not writing this to instigate fear around the inauguration. We don’t need any more of that floating around the airwaves.
As a nation—and even as a global community—we’re confused. We have lost a lot of trust in the media, our leadership, and maybe even each other.
Many who have lived seven or eight decades have said they’d never before witnessed such emotional backlash as occurred after the election on November 8th, 2016. Some fear that we’re regressing as a nation when it comes to racism, misogyny and all other issues of equal rights and freedom.
While this may appear true at first glance, it’s more likely that the results of the election are actually a response to the masses, but this is complex.
This is an indicator of where we were and are as a nation—and this is a challenging yet necessary opportunity to purge even more of what’s been lurking undetected in the shadows of this country for decades—if not centuries.
At the risk of sounding trite, I’d like to ask you consider this scenario:
Imagine a woman who chooses to marry a man, despite all the blatant red flags and gut feelings about where things could likely be headed.
He promises her everything that he knows she wants to hear, and sells her what she wants the most: hope, safety, stability and maybe even just something different.
She looks to him, instead of looking to herself, because of those wounded aspects of herself that she doesn’t yet know how to heal.
She wavers, feeling divided, and considers her options. Maybe she even leans toward trusting herself at times, but the larger part of herself that needed healing and clarity—that aspect of herself that actually makes the choice—goes through with the marriage.
After the wedding, most of the woman’s worst fears and ignored intuitions come to fruition in a way so epic that all of the pillars of who she thought she was crumble.
She blames other people, and she blames him for quite a while, before ultimately looking to herself for accountability.
But then, something beautiful happens—and this is where we have our biggest opportunity right now:
She chooses to heal, just as we can.
She chose to rise, just as we will do.
She chooses to rid herself of the victim mentality, because one can never, ever be in a victim mindset and be empowered at the same time.
This was her storm, and this sure feels like our storm. And despite the differences of these situations—they are not actually all that different at all.
A storm that feels like complete and utter darkness can use its winds of chaos, dis-ease, imbalance and certainly injustice to teach us to find strength in muscles we didn’t even know we had.
This is exactly where and how we find the tools that we need, as individuals and as a nation, to come out the other side of any situation with more integrity, character and equality than we had before.
While I can not predict a future (and neither can anyone else, regardless of political expertise or intuition), there is momentum here that cannot be denied.
The strongest and the wisest always prepare for the long game, and have developed a keen awareness that the “long game” is nothing more than a collection of moments—moments where every single one of us gets to choose.
This means that we cannot exhaust ourselves on domestic disputes on a daily or weekly basis.
This means that the time for ignorance has come to an abrupt halt.
This means that, as a country and a global community, we are only as strong as our individuals.
So, individuals, let’s find our strength first and foremost through discernment.
Moment by moment by moment.
Because it matters, and we all matter. Every one of us.
We can begin as we mean to go on. And we can begin—starting now—with moments that align with our long game, whatever that looks like for us.
Some of us may move forward protesting. If you feel moved to protest, then by all means use your voice. But if your gut is telling you on a certain night to stay at home with your kids, or to rest, or to do something else that brings you joy, then I encourage you to listen to that, because that type of listening and paying attention is our power right now.
After all, the best way to protest anything is to instill in our own lives the exact opposite of whatever it is we’re protesting.
If you want justice, which is nothing more than a balancing of the scales, then find your justice through the seeking of a balance of healthy power.
If you want truth, then live your day-to-day life in a manner that you feel is true to you.
This is not an encouragement to suppress any emotions—far from it.
If you feel anger, good.
Feel it all and listen to it all, because these emotions are our messengers, come to tell us that something has got to change.
Listen to them.
This may all sound floaty, but this is the guts of how this will all eventually go down, so the sooner we can realize it, collectively, the easier it will be.
If watching the news or reading headlines is creating dis-ease in your life and in your home, be mindful of this, starting with the night of the inauguration.
Moving forward will take an immense amount of footwork, but if we are going to get involved we have got to first ensure that we are centered.
We get to choose. We may not get to choose what is happening around us, but we always get to choose how we respond.
We choose how we affect the world by choosing how the world affects us. This is always, always where our true power lies.
Author: Katie Vessel
Image: @waylonlewis on Instagram
Editor: Toby Israel