In a time of a lot of political hate, Valentines Day is a day to remember love. And, when it comes down to it, marital love is about practicing gratitude. I am grateful that my husband has dealt with my total abandonment of domestic duties since the election. He has sacrificed nights and weekends so I can go to events. He has supported me in every audacious goal I have set (while gently reminding me that I need to take it easy). So, on Valentines Day, I remembered to be grateful for his support.
But, my gratitude didn’t stop there. I love that we have had a Black president. I love that women marched throughout the country. I love that lawyers and judges are standing up for justice. I love that more people are becoming actively involved in the democratic party and politics.
I am grateful for women in politics who stand-up for the rights of women and all people. I am grateful that such a strong group of women have come to the forefront to protect the future of our country. I am so grateful for all of the strong women that have come before me fighting for woman’s suffrage, civil rights, freedom, education and equal opportunities. I am also grateful for all the women who have sacrificed their bodies, careers, sleep, time and sanity to raise a family. I am grateful for the women who have quietly supported the great men of our nation–the first ladies, the fundraisers, the wives, the mothers. I am so grateful for all of the powerful women from which we draw inspiration and who have paved a way for women today.
I am grateful for the black women who have come before me and created such an amazing culture of strength, resiliency and courage. I am grateful for my mother who never put limits on what I could do as a person or a woman. I am grateful for my beautiful feminine spiritual teachers who have shown me the feminine side of the divine in a deeper way than I had previously known. As I get more in touch with the divine feminine, I understand parts of myself that I previously ignored and belittled. I am grateful for the wisdom to listen rather than act. I am grateful for fluidity. I am grateful for the lesson of the ocean and rivers. I am grateful for the nurturing sun and earth. I am grateful for the sisterhood that I have only recently begun to feel with other women and especially other mothers. I am grateful for the stay-at-home-moms, the teachers, the nurtures, the quiet warriors.
I am also grateful for the men in my life. I am grateful for the divine masculine energy. I am grateful for strength and determination to accomplish my goals. I am grateful for having a father that I know loved me. I am grateful for having a husband that I can trust and depend on. I am grateful for a my son that is teaching me daily what is means to be mom and what it means to raise a man.
I am grateful for:
Those women and men who work quietly without recognition,
Those people who feed to the poor, those people who volunteer to stuff envelopes and help at church,
Those people who make it their job and life mission to raise healthy, happy and well-adjusted children,
Those people who help kids who have been abused or neglected,
Those people who will drop and everything to help a family member in need, without the need for recognition or reward,
Those people who do random acts of kindness,
Those people who stop to help the elderly cross the road, return a found wallet, post a found pet sign,
Those people who smile at people as they pass,
Those people who give without the expectation of reward,
Those people make it their mission to help kids learn and succeed,
Those people who do the right thing, even when it hard or no one is watching.
I am grateful for you reading this. I am grateful for all of my fellow liberal, progressives. And, for you, I say that we must make take time for gratitude. A friend of mine has been doing 100 days of gratitude on Facebook and I have been using her practice is my lazy woman’s gratitude practice. It has reminded me that there are still things to be grateful for. But, a personal gratitude practice is much more powerful.
Taking a daily moment to practice gratitude before calling your representative to oppose a bill, executive order or cabinet appointed is a necessity. We need to balance the energy in the world right now. Many things that we took for granted, are now uncertain. But, love remains in the world and we have to nurture love every day with the same force we fight hate. As MLK said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that.” So, as we fight and resist, we must remember to be a beacon of light by taking time to remember those things we are grateful for, praise those leaders who hold our values and uplift those that are oppressed. As we fight to protect our planet, we must also have gratitude for all that our planet provides. As we use our passion and fire within us to stand-up and fight, we must also remember to use our love and compassion to uplift those that fight with us. We must remember to love our enemy, not for their sake, but for the sake of the future of our country.
Right now, despite the stories of our victories, I feel defeated. I feel like I’m spinning my wheels in mud. I feel like I fight one battle, only to have 5 more present themselves the next day. It’s overwhelming. It’s draining. It’s intimidating. The ultimate result of of this is an overwhelming cloud of negativity surrounding me. That cloud is increased when I read Facebook for 5 minutes and see 5 action items and have to somehow choose one to act on. That cloud of negativity is increased when I have to choose which event to go to rather than spending time with son or doing yoga. So, finding time to balance that constant bombardment of negativity is essential. And, this balance is not just essential for our personal well-being, it is essential for the collective energy that surrounds everyone. None of those feelings are feelings I want to create in the world. I want to fill the world with love, peace, joy and harmony. Therefore, I can’t spend my day being enraged and fighting.
I must find a way to spend my day being informed and spreading love. So, when the indivisible guide says be polite or be nice when speaking with your representative, don’t just do it to get what you want. Remember that each time you speak with anyone, it is an opportunity to spread love. Maybe you take a moment to find some common ground with your representative. Maybe you find a bill or platform that you agree with. And, rather than twisting that belief against them, you can genuinely thank them for the good work they are doing at the same time you ask them to oppose the atrocity you are calling about. Again, this act of love and gratitude is not for them. It is for you and to help create a world filled with love, compassion, gratitude and hope. What we do on the spiritual and emotional level right now is just as important as what we do on the political and physical level.
We can legislate and litigate all we want, but real change comes from the heart and mind, not politics. We can force businesses to admit gay employees and customers but it doesn’t’ accomplish our true goal if we don’t change those individuals hearts and minds about gays. Seeking to solve problems with laws and politics has created the current situation that that Black people face in America. On paper, everything is equal. We have all the same rights. But, when someone hates you because of your race, those laws don’t protect your heart. The laws can’t regulate the heart and it is the hatred that still hurts us.
We can rally and protest for more regulations (and they will make things better), but the more important work for me is increasing the amount of love in the world, which will naturally dissolve the hate and fear just as water erodes rocks to create valleys. It is a slow process, but it won’t happen if we are overcome with outrage because outrage is a form of hate. I need a more productive form of action that results in overarching outcomes. Please excuse the imperfection of this analogy, but I feel like all these calls are like stepping on ants rather than eradicating the anthill. Don’t get me wrong, if it works for you, by all means keep going. But, for me, personally, it does not. I need something proactive, rather than reactive. As Earnest Holmes says, “Changing your thinking, change your life.” If we change our opponents hearts and minds, we can change not only their lives, but our own. I find this one big hairy audacious goal to be more attainable than battling their endless little actions.
We can and must act on this physical level but we must also remember that at the root, we are all energy. We must remember that the energy we send out is what we receive. We must remember that the spiritual level is the root cause of our problems, not Trump. Trump is simply a manifestation of hate, fear and ignorance. If we dump Trump, but fail to address the root cause of his rise to power, we will simply have to fight another “enemy.” My true, deep calling and purpose is to eliminate the hate, fear and ignorance that is predominate in our society, by cultivating love, wisdom and unity. I will use law, politics, gratitude, prayer and any other tools I have in my arsenal to accomplish this goal. I will be mindful of this mission at all times and measure all my actions by its ability to accomplish this end. The magic of Martin Luther King, Jr. was not in what he did or said but in the heart and spiritual foundation upon which those words and actions were based. That is what we must remember and emulate today.