Now that Donald Trump is President-elect of the United States, fear and anger saturate the hearts of many people, world-wide. A Trump presidency threatens Muslims, Jewish people, refugees, immigrants, African-Americans, people living with disabilities, individuals who rely on social services, women who have suffered sexual assault and many, many others. How can we, as individuals, make a difference and stand against Trump’s divisiveness?
This post offers two possible responses. Both require taking responsibility for our unhealed aspects of self. One promotes personal integration and the other supports systemic transformation.
William Lee Rand, a Reiki healer and founder of the Reiki Membership Association recently wrote an article titled, “Dealing with the United States Election.” He focuses on personal healing, reminding us that:
[w]hen a negative event affects us, it tends to re-stimulate unresolved emotional distress that we have stored inside. This unresolved distress was often created long ago and was added to by [sub]sequent negative experiences that we were not able to heal at the time. Shoving them deep inside ourselves was the only way we knew to respond to them. Even though we may not be fully aware of them most of the time, they still have a negative effect on our lives and lower the level of health, well-being and vitality we experience. The re-stimulation of these old feelings that were hidden from our awareness causes them to rise to the surface of our emotions where they can be more easily healed. By looking at the current political situation in this way, we can use it positively to move forward with our own healing and by doing so, become better able to healthily address the resulting changes taking place in the world around us.[i]
In contrast to Rand’s perspective, the healer and author Monica McDowell describes a process that transforms systems. McDowell knows what it’s like to stand against tyranny. She came forward with accusations of sexual misconduct against a minister who is very much like our President-elect. McDowell tells her story in her book, My Karma Ran Over My Dogma.[ii]
Paraphrasing McDowell’s experience, she indicates that:
our outer circumstances and relationships mirror our inner world. Every time I criticized something in the presbytery, I knew it reflected something in me. I had to find that aspect in myself, no matter how small, and offer it compassion. When I could find the piece in me and see why I had acted that way at some time in the past, then I could understand and feel compassion toward those who were perpetuating the abuse. As soon as I healed that part of myself, I would get a phone call or a letter or some other indication that the system had also shifted.
To heal the world, we must first heal ourselves. If you are feeling helpless, hopeless or overwhelmed by current events, you might consider scheduling an appointment with me, another healer or a mental health professional who can support you as you release unresolved emotional pain. Or, as McDowell suggests, you might look into the mirror of societal conditions and direct compassion to your inner shadow. Either approach allows you to “be the change you wish to see in the world” (Gandhi).[iii] You, as an individual, CAN make a difference!
[i] Rand, W. L. (2016). Dealing with the United States Election. http://www.reikiwebstore.com/ProductPage.cfm?ProductID=726&CategoryID=38
[ii] McDowell, M. (2007). http://www.monicamcdowell.com/my-karma-ran-over-my-dogma.html
[iii] Gandhi, M. (1942). http://www.academia.edu/3604874/Quit_India_Speech_by_Mahatma_Gandhi_1942_
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