You Can’t Always Choose What Happens to You.
Wow. I did not vote for Donald Trump…so in a very literal way I did not “choose” this scenario. However, as we all know by now, the scenario is real. I often say, sometimes rather glibly, “you can’t always choose what happens to you, but you can choose how you respond.”
I find myself being tested by those words this morning. I’ve got many emotions and judgements running amok inside of me. And yet my desire is to be very intentional and measured in my response.
How do I want to “show up” in this moment?
How do I want to “be” in this moment?
As I reflect on those questions, I’m drawn to the idea that I aspire to continue working on being my best self. I want to leverage my strengths which include being a passionate and optimistic person. I’m working on raising self-awareness in the world and this situation provides fuel to my fire as it only increases for me the sense of importance of my work.
I’m reminded of the value of having a gratitude practice. I still have SO much to be grateful for. Love, health, food, shelter, etc.. Trump becoming president does not take those things away from me.
I’m also reminded of an Eastern “parable” of sorts that talks about our notion of “good” and “bad.” The parable starts with a farmer having his work horse run away. The community is saddened by his misfortune and tells him in many ways “That is a bad thing that happened to you.” His reply…”maybe.”
Then a few days later the work horse returns and brings with him a few other wild horses. The community is elated and tells the farmer “That is a good thing that happened to you.” His reply…”maybe.”
This back-and-forth continues with the unfolding message that we label things as “good” and “bad” in a moment and it’s possible that in time those perceptions will shift. So the message is to not get too hung up on labeling things as bad or good. (Here’s a link to the whole story if you are intrigued: http://www.katinkahesselink.net/tibet/zen.html)
With this I hold out hope that this event which I have currently labeled as “bad” may lead to “good” outcomes. Maybe this will lead to taking the feminist movement to entirely new heights. Maybe this will lead to taking meaningful steps toward resuscitating the middle class and lifting more Americans out of poverty. Maybe this will lead to real political reform that is so badly needed. So many possibilities.
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” Martin Luther King Jr.
The bottom line for me is that my best coping mechanism is to carry on with my life, bringing kindness and compassion to my actions and interactions, sharing my gifts, staying on purpose, being a positive role model in simply trying the best I can to be my best self. That feels like something that is reasonable to ask of myself at this time.