After the Election, How Do We Begin?

After the election, how do we begin to. . .

by Jodi Clark

Heal, move forward, feel our experience and extreme mix of emotions, not wallow in outrage and despair or let go of a sense of helplessness on what has happened. . .?

This was how I walked into GRTL Wednesday morning, carrying the knowledge of what has transpired in this election. Our country has expressed its deepest divisions, unveiled racism, bigotry, sexism, homophobia, disregard for the environment, hatred, fear, and more that has been bubbling under the surface for a long time. I was carrying this, feeling it off to the side of me. I could have totally gone there and stayed there. And yet above all of this, even more painful than all of these things, what rose was how desperately I missed my cat who passed away at the end of September. In the swirl of all of this disconnection, I wanted my beloved companion of 21 years to sit on my lap calmly purring, her soft, strong zen energy reminding me of what is most present and alive every day: our connection to each other. I wanted to be reminded of what is good, pure, and can never be defeated.

As the team of us sat together today processing everything, we talked about what is still heartening us and emboldening us. What heartens me most right now is knowing that at our core, humans have access to connect with each other and to what is best in us. We do have to practice and commit to it. And I KNOW it is possible. What came immediately to mind were our Four Pillars of Shared Leadership. They are both behind me and ahead of me as both beacons of light and guideposts for how I want to act that give me hope and strength. Our Shared Humanity has not disappeared. We can and must commit to being Equal Learning Partners as we move forward. We will cultivate our Wholeness every time we deeply listen to each other and share with authenticity. We can create more innovatively and compassionately through making space for our Collective Wisdom to rise, from our ancestors to us now.

I want to stand for what is best in us in everything I do. That is what is so important to me about the work we do here at GRTL in our work with teams and organizations. How can we rise into our best selves all the time and particularly when it is hard? How do we speak to each other not only with respect, but reverence? Who and how we are with each other matters. It has always mattered. Right now, how much it matters has been brought into crystal clear focus. In every group we are in, how will we stand for love and being our best selves in service of our healing? How will we show compassion to those we disagree with so we don’t perpetuate divisiveness? What would our everyday lives look like if we all stood on the side of radical love?

I am beginning with a conversation with a family member I know voted for Trump. I know she loves and respects me, as I do her. I am asking her to tell me why she voted for him and letting her know I am scared and why. She has been very gracious about engaging with me in the conversation, knowing I’m not trying to convince her of anything, simply seeking to understand. May I meet her graciousness with her and everyone else I engage with.

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While they were saying it couldn't be done, it was done.
— Helen Keller