(I have spent these past 10 days deliberating my thoughts and feelings about the Presidential election and have decided to share my story here. I share it as a symbol of hope and resilience. And while you may be at a different place from others, or myself, I hope you will take what resonates for you in the way that you are ready to. Please share this post with others if that is something you desire to do.)
I went to bed last Tuesday pretty late and very disheartened. The candidate I had hoped to win in the election was not winning and I began searching for what that meant to me. I had been ready for a woman to fill the position of President of the U.S. and I had been in disbelief with the hate, racism and other positions that were commonly a part of this campaign season.
At 3:45 a.m., on Wed., I was awake and spent several hours battling bouts of fear, sadness and doubt. With the training I have received in Somatic Trauma Resolution work, I knew that staying in that vicious cycle was not going to help. So I started breathing, which is what I go to when I need to find calm. At one point I rolled onto my back with my arms outstretched and as I did, the image of a night 6 years ago was immediately front and center in my mind. That evening we had discovered that my husband of 19 years and my girls’ father had died by suicide. The girls slept with me that night and I remembered vividly that as they slept, I laid in bed, holding onto them, and filled with fear, sadness and doubt and not sure how to go on. This same sensation was now being triggered for me with the election results.
Within seconds of realizing where that fear and doubt was coming from, there was another most powerful thought that took center stage: “BUT WE MADE IT!” With that thought, the fear and doubt dissipated to the back of my mind. I was filled with a peace that is hard to explain, but very real. And the road to recovery has not been easy, but we did it. We did it by putting one foot in front of the other even when we didn’t want to, we did it with MUCH love and support from family and friends and sometimes strangers, we did it with folks who supported us without judgment, and when others judged us, we called them out and other times we learned to accept that their judgment was their ‘stuff.’
We healed because we grieved, we talked, we laughed, we were angry and we named the fear and doubt for what it was. And in this week since the election, I have cycled through each of these emotions and may do so many times in the present and in our future. But I know that resiliency and empowerment are also a part of my story. Several of you have also posted about looking at your strong emotions with this election and finding what it is that is an old trigger and I applaud you. I would encourage each of you reading this post to do the same if you haven’t done so already. And know that you will find support on your journey.
The core of my sadness, pre and post election, continues to be what I call a tear in our moral fabric as human beings. We have many opportunities, now and in the future, to ask ourselves, “what do I value” and “what am I willing to do to take action for what I value.” As human beings, we are hardwired for ‘connectedness with others.’ So we will need to ask ourselves these questions as well: What do I fear about that connectedness, what do I believe about it, what am I willing to do to heal those connections with humanity and what are the triggers that keep me from being able to ask those questions?
One person will be the President of the United States and yes, they, and the people they surround themselves with do affect policy and our relationships with other countries in our world. But also be cautious of making that one person your savior or the recipient of your blame. It will not help you move forward on your journey. I do believe that this is a time where we can experience real healing. It may not look the way we envisioned it to look, but sometimes we have to step back, remember the lessons of our past, be alert to the future and live in the present. We must each do our part to build bridges and not expect others to build them for us. We are all in this together!
I remember very vividly several years after my husband died, that I had to make a choice: I knew I could choose to be a victim or I could choose to heal and move forward. I am so glad I chose to heal. At the crossroad of choice is where healing begins. Regardless of the actions each of us take, we are now at crossroads and there will be many choices that we each must make in the next years. I urge you to make those choices from a place of integrity, of purpose, of recognizing what triggers you and naming it, so you/we can then function and make decisions based upon the values of being human. That is our connection with one another. Thank you for listening to ‘my story’ of healing and hope. WE CAN MAKE IT TOGETHER!
I welcome you to use the ‘comments’ section of this post to give light to a trigger that may have surfaced for you recently. I would ask that we then hold comments in a space of support, without the need to give advice, but to simply listen. If you want to visit more about healing options available to you or you would like more information about the work I do, explore my website or you can contact me there as well.