Saturday, November 8, 2008

Post Election Reflections

Okay - a bit of an interruption for the elections there. Very exciting to see Hamilton county go blue! The election of Barak Obama certainly appeals to the optimist in me. All the economic gloom may take us awhile to work our way out of, but it may also have been the only thing that allowed Obama to be elected by such a strong majority - or perhaps at all. And it is clear to me that we need this person at this time to help begin the changes that need to happen if we are to survive - not just as a nation but as a planet.

Change continues in every moment, with every breath. It is not just something that comes to us in tsunami-like waves, as it did with this election, but with every choice we make. To paraphrase a billboard about seat belts, "it's not just a good idea - it's how things work."

Life has a way of teaching us the lessons we need - long before we have any idea we need them. I suppose that's why mindfulness shows up in so many practices. If we aren't paying attention - we miss the lesson. I think that one of the lessons I've learned over the course of the past few elections is that our choices do not operate in a vacuum. Other people have a choice too. And when there are more of them - or if their choice is more powerfully manifested - the change will be the one they choose. 

I know it felt really good to be an active part of the campaign to elect Obama (thank you, Patricia) and that for the first time in 8 years I feel comfortable and proud to be a citizen of the U.S.A. However, I also think back to how I felt after those last two elections - the sense of profound exclusion; of being disenfranchised from the American identity. I remember talking with others about the possibility of moving to Canada, because we no longer felt like we belonged here. Now it is those who voted for the other candidate who feel that way, and this is an opportunity to practice compassion for those who made the less powerful choice. Even if that compassion is not received, it is still good for us to feel it - to choose it - at this time and place in our personal and communal history.