I've written and dumped a few blog posts since It happened.  Oddly, I started with Reasons for Hope, then hope gave way to lament, so I parked hope and wrote First, Lament, but by the next day the fever had subsided and I felt empty, so I wrote nothing.  Nothing spawned new layers of understanding, and then more confusion, and then a sense of community, because actually we are all fucking confused, and maybe that's a good place to start.  

Confusion and maybe even paralysis are cousins of Not Knowing-- the Zen Peacemaker interpretation of the Buddhist precept, Cease from Evil!  Years ago, I encountered a yoga teacher who started a weekend workshop saying that the best thing about yoga is that it keeps people from doing other stuff.  Possibly he was a tad bitter, but I think he had a point.  On Saturday, my Zen teacher, Ryotan, told a story about a monk who became enlightened after his teacher blew out his candle. So, that's where we are.  We thought we knew, but we did not.  It is dark.

Not knowing is the prerequisite for effective action, but in the midst of high emotion we want to wail or scream or do stuff now. That's why the first few days were a flurry of desperate actions. Such actions are not systemic change, but they help us lament. Though normally overwhelmed by crowds, I needed to make my way into the center of a rally, embracing intensity like a giant group hug.  Rage was running high.  Several Trump supporters, fresh faced young white men, showed up.  A woman my age was shouting at them in agony.  A younger woman patronized and flirted with them. (Please, what female word can capture that quality?).  An even younger woman, very serious, interviewed them.  I heard them repeat: "it's been taken out of context."  I left the rally, meditated with my community, and somehow rage transformed into love.  "Mourning turns ecsatic from surplus," said my comrade Filip

We do have to understand the causes and we do have to do something, but we need to work with complexity, not yield to the temptation of simplicity as so many voters did.  And there are many reasons for hope. Here are a few that are circulating:  

  1. At least now we know.  Misogyny is rampant and unconscious and this is a wake up call.  
  2. The system will stop him from doing too much damage (actually I don't buy this).  
  3. He will do so much damage that there will be a sharply focussed dissent.  blah blah blah

My biggest reason for hope right now is what I see among my friends and clients.  Our Roshi (Election Blues) said that each of us has something that we know we need to do.  It is happening already, even in the midst of reckoning.   People are touching into their deep wisdom and moving.  I believe we are entering into the most creative period of our lifetime.  Crones are waking up.  Our talented younger sisters who pissed us off by not being polite can inspire us instead.  Personally I've had it with playing by the rules of the boy's club.  It's time for change.  

Coming Soon:  Refuse.  Respond.  

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Reader Comments (3)

There are many things I like in this article. But I wish people would stop with assumption that "we thought we knew" and lines like that.

We thought we knew what? That Hillary would win. I did not think she would. I voted for her but I also saw that many people of working class and so called rust belts (outdated term) etc. have felt left out. We keep making the same mistake.
New York City is not Omaha, and the other states. All that being said, I am in deep grief for our disunited states. I understand having come from one of those areas. It is hard to get educated, get out, get accepted in so called polite society and be heard.

I was not asleep at the wheel, I did not think she would win and I will yell to be heard about this.

Much love and acceptance and respect.


November 17, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Lakis

I'm with you there. I was not relaxed about the outcome, nor was I surprised about the human nature that is attracted to everything Trump represents. Do yell!

November 17, 2016 | Registered CommenterElena Taurke

I'm a crone, I'm wide awake, and I now often find myself in despair. I've erased most of the post I just wrote in response to your wise essay because what I wrote was mostly a rant. But I applaud what you say, and I won't rest with the current situation in our country. I'll continue supporting opposition efforts with my donations, and keep expressing my opinions wherever I can. Perhaps there is something else I need to do, as Roshi said each of us must. If so, I hope to find my way there.

Let's hope that enough of our lawmakers find enough courage in themselves to do what they must. Let's keep hope alive!

February 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarina

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