09 November 2016

Mourning & Looking for the Light

(photo by Linsey Laidlaw)

Dearest friends, I wanted to get this out sooner as I've been wanting to mourn here with those who feel pain. I need you and I know we need each other. Though this morning, I was a mess of pajamas and tears after nightmares and little sleep. Hillary's speech this morning had me sobbing. And then I hurried to meet up with one good friend I have here. We had a girls' lunch with her two daughters, and it was a gift from heaven to feel sisterhood. My soul is now relieved to connect with you here, as my thoughts have been with you all day. Thank you for being here. 

I wrote this just before Hillary's speech...

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Mourning

On this day, I feel the deepest despair for our nation and our world.

I've been reeling at the pain this message sends to lives, families, and children - and most especially to women, girls, Muslims, blacks, browns, LGBTQ, disabled, immigrants, veterans, and on and on.

I feel beaten down by the sheer numbers that chose this. I feel betrayal in my core and in my cells, in places that get reached by the greatest offenses. I'll be working to heal this pain so that it does not settle in my bones.

My eyes felt swollen when I awoke, as I remembered that the horrific nightmare I was having while sleeping was actually real life.

My dogs are near me now. And I have tears streaming down as I write. And I remember so clearly...

This feeling of betrayal and loss is one I have experienced before. 

My worst nightmares have come true before. 

I survived it. 

And I can be better and make the world better because of this - because of this pain.

The Miracle of a Shift

When I first tasted this kind of despair, it was after my first husband left the country and never returned. The grief and betrayal was so, so deep, so personal. One dark night I got out an empty journal - one that I had never written in, as journals require that you write the truths of your soul. But back then, the truth inside me was not connected to the outside world. It never surfaced. How could I taint cotton pages in a fancy leather-bound book with pain?

But in that moment, I wrote it out. And what was in me was anger and disgust. I wrote so hard and uninhibited with my pen that words were large and all over the page. My pen pierced through the paper. I sobbed, as I'm sobbing now. And then I also spoke out those vehement words in my empty apartment. The walls heard my voice loud and clear.

The next time I opened that book, I wrote a new list. I wrote every damn thing that was still good in my life. Every ounce. I made that list as long as I could.

And that gratitude shifted my energy. This is what miracles are made of. And that shift gave me some strength to move on. It empowered me. It ignited a flicker of light and hope within me. And I realized that this man did not own me. I had so much goodness in me. My greatness could fill the world and he couldn't stop me. That liberation literally changed the course of my life.

Looking for Light Now

Last night, after seeing Trump's numbers take over, I could barely speak. This morning I have felt mostly felt numb.

But as I mourn, I know, too, that I can embody light more and more as my strength returns. I know Trump does not own us and our power to change the world for the better. We are limitless and I know we can GO HIGH - to the highest places of humanity. And I have extreme gratitude for the Revolution that has begun, for millions who are working against hate and for equality, for the women who are standing SO VERY STRONG and rising up in the millions, for people who have crossed lines to take a moral stand, for the deep sisterhood and oneness I feel with so many.

This movement of Freedom is calling my name so strongly. I feel on a wave of history making. The baton has been passed from those who have come before - from those who have been fighting for decades, mostly in my oblivion. And I feel it in my hands now. It is clear there are others who cannot yet carry it. This is my time and our time to step up - for those who have experienced loss and betrayal much greater than I could ever imagine; for all those who don't yet know this loss exists

I will do my best to carry this baton forward for the rest of my days. 

Yours,

Mara

"If you had a taste of what I'm talking about, you couldn't get enough of it. You may spend your whole life chasing it (and that's possible) - but it would be a good thing to chase." 

-Buck Brannaman, from the movie, Buck.


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My heart is with you now. What has this outcome been like for you? Please feel free to mourn here. Or to share light. Or ideas for change. I would love to hear whatever is inside you now. You have my love and support and solidarity. 




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36 comments:

  1. Thank you Mara. I wish so, so much you were here to cry walk the park loop.

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  2. Gutted. I never thought I would feel so much heartache over an election. I'm not a crier, but I have cried and cried. People say things like, the sun will come out tomorrow and life goes on.... but it's not about the fact that Donald Trump will be the president for 4 years as much as it is about the fact that the American people--people I thought I knew and trusted--voted him in. I don't recognize this America.

    As a mother who is CONSTANTLY trying to raise awareness for special needs and disability--constantly as in everywhere we go in everyday life talking to kids who point, whisper and stare in addition to blogging and educating our schools--trying to teach children the right and wrong ways to interact with those who are different this sting is particularly painful. You can tell a kid not to tease or use rude words but when they see the President of the United States doing these things? They will know we're liars and that it is OK to belittle and tease.

    I'm exhausted.

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    1. Oh Miggy - my heart hurts. To have your life's work and your child and all other children basically slapped is gut wrenching. He gives people permission to abuse -and especially when this affects kids I just have no words. That fatigue must run so deep. Sending LOVE and more love.

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    2. Miggy, I wholeheartedly agree. It has been difficult to realize that perhaps I don't know much about the America I live in.

      My six year old daughter cried yesterday after hearing the results. I reminded her that there are great opportunities here for girls and women. She can continue to excel in school and sports and be a good, caring friend and sister and go on to change the world.

      I also felt comfort after reading a post by Ali Michael about what to tell our children today, and she made this point: “Remind them ― to ease their minds ― that not everyone who voted for Donald Trump did so because they believe the bigoted things that he has said this year. Many of them voted for him because they feel frustrated with the economy, they feel socially left behind, and they are exercising the one power they have.”

      I know this to be true. I know some who voted for Trump and I know them to be good, decent people who want the same America we want, but are seeking a different way to get there.

      Love to you all.

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  3. Thank you so much Mara. So many of us are so hurt and baffled by how so many Americans could support so much hate. There was talk about a Hidden Trump Vote and shockingly they were right. In public and in polls they would never admit to voting for such an awful person. But in the cloak of anonymity, they revealed their true hate and prejudice for their fellow Americans. Racists feel empowered to say their hate aloud because their leader encourages it.

    We were improving sooo much. I remember thinking how wonderful it was for my kids, to not have to endure the prejudice and painful barbs as I did when I was young. Now I have to tell them they cannot apply to colleges in the Midwest and the South. My heart is broken. I hope to heal one day but right now I'm not there yet. This has set us back socially 50 years and it will take decades to recover.

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    1. Yeah - that cloak of anonymity is interesting. It seems so many people were closeted.

      Here's one thought, and if true, provides a glimmer of hope. I saw this on Pantsuit Nation (which is a FB group you would loooove.) A woman wrote:

      "There's a concept in behavioral therapy known as an "extinction burst" -- basically, when you're trying to remove a behavior (let's say in this case, xenophobia/misogyny/etc.) often you will actually see an increase in that behavior before it dies.
      The old world order is SCREAMING right now. What I'm seeing tonight are the death throes of a system that cannot last. Whatever the outcome, remember that what happens at the federal level is not the end of the story. We can take charge in our communities, and we can continue to move in the right direction.
      Let 'em scream. The rest of us have work to do."

      This really makes sense to me. I feel the same thing happened in the Mormon church. As people started to become more accepting of LGBTQ in the mainstream, the church laid down the gauntlet. I doubt they would have done that unless there had been a swell of tremendous progress.

      Anyway, these times are unreal. And yeah, I agree - - this will take a long time to recover. :(

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    2. Thank you for your insight Mara and taking the time to comment to my post. I love behavioral studies and I am so thankful you introduced this idea to me. It makes complete rational sense and I cannot wait to share it with all my friends who are also in pain. Your comparison to the Mormon church was an excellent reference too. I will say that this event has inspired many of us quieter folks to start speaking up and speaking loud. May we continue to have strength and be heard.

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  4. I posted this on Facebook today with a little help from Elizabeth Gilbert...This is my perspective.

    Good morning,

    Many of us are hurting today with an election outcome in the US that we didn't want.

    Many hearts are broken and if your heart is feeling grief or sadness I send you all love.

    However, the fact that some of us did not conceive of this outcome being possible means that many of us are out of touch with our fellow citizens. Please resist the urge to judge or label those who vote differently to you. I have talked to many, many Trump supporters and the reasons they voted for him are many. Many more than our limited minds can understand. I cannot say that I agree with their choice necessarily but the reality is this is the world we wake up to today.

    What then do we do now?

    First, we take back our individual power. Let's stop pretending that one man is more powerful than all of us put together. Let's stop pretending than one man even controls the choices of the US government (Yes, I know the house, Senate and Congress are all Republican strongholds now but let's not forget that Trump has alienated many of his own Party).

    We all have a choice every single day.

    As Elizabeth Gilbert says:
    "Every single day, you must face whatever world you have woken up to — whatever that may be. That's the only world you get. You must start there...
    "Who do I want to be in this situation?"
    That is the only question that EVER really matters.
    I insist that we can learn — with practice — how to choose our emotional state in all situations. This has to be true. If this isn't true, then we are TRULY AND THOROUGHLY FUCKED — because our state of being is literally the only thing in this world that we can control.
    This is not denial. This is not complacency. This not me cheerfully saying, "Oh well! I'm sure everything will be fine!" Sometimes things are not fine. Sometimes the outcome is dreadful.
    But all our practices in peace and grace and equanimity and courage are for TIMES LIKE THESE — for times when you do not get the outcome that you want. This is when it matters. When the shit goes down, and the shit goes wrong, and when the shit gets real — that's when the shit gets interesting. That's when the test comes: Who will you be now? Right now. Right this moment. Because that's the only part that is up to you."

    xo

    May I also recommend the following posts for some more perspective/light:

    https://www.facebook.com/nigellatta/posts/1326358740716287?pnref=story

    https://medium.com/shiny-objects/from-inside-the-darkness-750b11b341c8#.oooqqp9s4

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    1. Beautiful, Michelle!! Thanks for this!

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    2. You're welcome :) May I also say that to anyone who is not able to be in this headspace that I shared about just yet, that is okay too. The reason I could so confidently and powerfully share this was because I KNEW this would be the outcome of the election and so had prepared myself for this very moment months ago. But I know that many people did not conceive that people could vote this way so have their own journey and process to take with getting up to speed on this.

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  5. So discouraged. I thought love trumps hate! I thought bullies never win in the end! I felt so ridiculous and unproductive at work today. Instead of working on spreadsheets and project management software I wanted to go find every humble refugee, sweet latina cook and kind gardener and give them hugs. I'm a lover. Thank you for sharing your feelings.

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    1. ohhhh.... my... feeling for you hard core. I've been scraping by with getting work done. Today was a little better.

      Last summer after some of the shootings, I was in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, which is mostly a black neighborhood. I felt like such an idiot but I literally wanted to just start hugging people. One night at 11 pm I was parking my sister's car around the block and some teenagers walked by. I just blurted out, "Just want to let you guys know I have a lot of love for black people right now." And one guy was like "say what?!" as he didn't hear what I said. But his friend heard it and gave the hugest smile ever and brought his fist to his heart. It was an unexpected moment for both of us, but also a moment of connection. So I get you on wanting to just do something - anything.

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  6. Thank you for your words today. This situation is so confusing and I've been thinking all day, "What would Mara do?" I immediately remembered, "choose a virtue" and "I can't look to anyone else for wholeness." I can't count on peace from my leaders. But I can BE peace and I will try hard to share my light with others. I recognize my privilege in this country, so it's easy-ish for me to think this way. But I ache for those who have/will suffer direct losses because of an abusive president. Michelle

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    1. Michelle - thank you. And yessss. Choose virtue. We can't look to anyone else for wholeness. Works every dang time. I think this is how we can have the energy and power to stand with all those who need help - instead of despair and fear. I'm working through all this now... but feeling powerful and ready to mobilize.

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  7. Also here is something you can all do to make a difference. As you know Hillary won the popular vote but Trump won the electoral college. The electoral college can be overturned though. You can put pressure on your local representatives to reverse the result by signing here https://www.change.org/p/electoral-college-electors-electoral-college-make-hillary-clinton-president-on-december-19?recruiter=7518642&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=share_twitter_responsive

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  8. Good Morning from small town Utah! I saw this today on MSN from Aaron Sorkin to his daughters. I thought of you and so I share...
    http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/11/aaron-sorkin-donald-trump-president-letter-daughter

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  9. I wanted a woman president too , but Hillary Clinton is not the one.
    Trump will be gone in 4 yrs. and we can hopefully repair the mess.

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    1. With his following, I wonder if we'll be facing this for 8 years! eeks.

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  10. Dear Mara, I've been a reader for a long time and your blog has offered so much wisdom, insight, and a great deal of grace. Your endorsement of Hillary before the election moved me and gave authoritative voice to what I'd been wishing I could say for so long. Your response to the outcome is equally beautiful, and motivating. Thank you so much for doing the work you did to find your voice so that in times like these, it can serve as a beacon. I'm so excited to fight alongside you (virtually) for everything that is true, noble, right, and praiseworthy. Much love!

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    1. such an honor to meet a long time reader! thank you! And trust me, my voice has been a long time in the making. ha. and I know it has a long ways to go, in terms of being an even stronger, more informed voice regarding different subjects. I hope it will always be evolving, as it has quite a bit even since starting this blog. But I thank you for your words and for reading along the way - and I'm so glad that this space has had a positive influence on you. There are so many who have had an impact on me, as well. It's amazing to grow together. Much love, M

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  11. Completely heartbroken.

    I resonate with much of this article:
    "I cried because it’s not fair, and I’m so tired, and every woman I know is so tired. I cried because I don’t even know what it feels like to be taken seriously — not fully, not in that whole, unequivocal, confident way that’s native to handshakes between men. I cried because it does things to you to always come second.

    Whatever your personal opinion of the Clintons, as politicians or as human beings, that dynamic is real. We, as a culture, do not take women seriously on a profound level. We do not believe women. We do not trust women. We do not like women.

    I understand that many men cannot see it, and plenty more do not care. I know that many men will read this and laugh, or become defensive, or call me hysterical, or worse, and that’s fine. I am used to it. It doesn’t make me wrong."

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/cp/opinion/election-night-2016/her-loss

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    1. Olivia - I resonate with this, too. I think there are many who don't see how much misogyny affects this life. At the minimum, it's soul crushing. At the extreme, it's flat out life-threatening. I once couldn't see it as much as I do now. And I know many who can barely see it at all. So I know that world. And I'm thankful for women ahead of me who showed me the way. It motivates me to be bold and to share my own experiences. And also to continue seeking out women that I can continue to learn from. My hope is that we can all learn together, grow, develop and help each other in the years to come.

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  12. You’ve asserted that ‘women, girls, Muslims, blacks, browns, LGBTQ, disabled, immigrants, veterans, and on and on’ are unsafe with Trump as president.

    If this is unequivocally the case, why did any people in the above categories vote for Trump?
    And why, in many cases, was there greater support from these people for Trump than for Romney?

    According to the NYT exit polls,

    Voters who are female voted for Clinton versus Trump by about a 6 to 4 margin.
    88% of voters who are African American voted for Clinton. 8% voted for Trump.
    65% of voters who are Hispanic/Latino voted for Clinton. 29% voted for Trump.
    78% of voters who are gay, lesbian, transsexual, or transgender voted for Clinton. 14% voted for Trump.

    I understand that the majority of people in the above categories voted for Clinton, but if Trump is sexist, racist, and homophobic, why would any of these people vote for him?

    1% more voters who are female voted for Clinton than had for Obama.
    1% more voters who are Caucasian voted for Trump than had for Romney.
    7% more voters who are African American voted for Trump than had for Romney.
    8% more voters who are Hispanic/Latino voted for Trump than had for Romney.
    16% more voters with incomes under $30,000 voted for Trump than had for Romney.
    18% more voters of non-Christian religions voted for Trump than had for Romney.
    Voters who served in the U.S. military voted for Trump versus Clinton by about a 2 to 1 margin.

    If Trump unquestionably endangers certain people’s well-being, why, in many cases, did Trump gain their vote?

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    1. I think people usually vote based upon their values. Whatever values they hold MOST near and dear will affect their vote - and it just depends on how that stacks up.

      Perhaps Trump supporters could share why they voted for him.

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    2. There are sociological explanations for this. I wish I was qualified to articulate them better, but maybe someone else can for me. I've heard from a friend in academia who has studied these things, that very often, a woman who perpetuates abuse of other women is herself in an abusive situation. Instead of her abuse causing her to feel empathy, it has degraded her to the point that she is no longer respects herself, feels her worth, or believes she has a voice that matters. Maybe like a "if you can't beat them, join them" mentality. It feels like the only way to have any power. Perhaps people that have been persecuted or oppressed for so long, have on a subconscious level, bought into the lies and justifications that their persecutors feed them and the world.

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    3. JoJo - thx for these thoughts. I definitely know many women in this situation - women who are oppressed, but who support further oppression (of themselves and others). And the truth is, I, too, was once there myself. I once pretty much supported patriarchy and thought it was a good idea. My eyes have been opened more and more and more over time...

      I think of that past mentality a lot. I feel greatly for people- esp. women - who still can't put their foot down to misogyny - and at the extreme, even celebrate it. I have compassion for this. I understand this. And I hope that in any small way I can help women to see their worth, to know their power, to have a voice, and to thrive more than they ever thought possible. So many helped me and planted seeds in me, and there's nothing I'm more passionate about than trying to do that for others.

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    4. Agreed Mara. I have compassion for them too, and not just women but other oppressed people. I don't know how to say it without sounding pretentious, but I'm pretty forgiving of the many ways vulnerable populations try to cope or make sense of their reality.

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    5. Agreed. Tricky to express, I know. But I hear and agree with your words...

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    6. You already decided that all Trump supporters are immoral or ignorant.
      That their values do not stack up in the proper order.

      I ask for your charity that I am not immoral.
      I ask for your humility that I am not ignorant.
      And I ask for your trust to grant me both.

      Could you at least give me these for a single moment?
      That right now, as I write this, I am open to being reasoned with about all my values and beliefs.

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    7. Anon, I don't know why you voted for trump. But it would be futile to go back and forth about who is moral and who is not. We all have different versions of what immorality is or ignorance is. We have different versions of what fear or love are, as well. What you say is moral may not be moral to me. Our personal life experiences and our exposure to people and mindsets define this over time. I know on my end, what I have personally considered immoral has changed DRASTICALLY over time. And I am so glad. I’d never go back. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to develop. Though I get it that every person is at a different stage of development -and they will have different priorities and viewpoints. I just hope that over time we’re all evolving in a positive direction and that we’re actually seeking for that to happen - and hopefully we can help each other along the way.

      I'd be happy to chat if you want to share more about what your values and beliefs are currently and how that led to voting for trump.

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    8. You think that I am not as moral as you and I have Stockholm syndrome.

      I’ve commented not to argue for why I voted for Trump but to argue against why I am necessarily immoral or ignorant for doing so.

      As I said, I am open to being reasoned with about all my values and beliefs.

      You make dialogue impossible when you decide I am morally underdeveloped and irrational.

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    9. What I think is that racism, sexism, xenophobia, and ridicule of disabled is the most offensive behavior on the planet earth. To check a box next to a man who exudes and embodies this to the worst levels we've ever seen is immoral to me. You may say you are not immoral for supporting this. But by supporting this you are saying that racism, white supremacy, sexism and the worst bullying we've ever seen in our nation are not deal breakers for you. And the truth is, this leaves me speechless.

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    10. Amen to what Mara just said! If you can get behind someone that inspires Americans to act on racism, sexism, xenophobia, nationalism, fear and discrimination than your values couldn't be more opposite of my own. If you believe Trump to be something other than this, than you have chosen to close your eyes to the effect that Trump has already had in the short few days since the election. "By your fruits ye shall know them."

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  13. I thought these two videos below (from Russell Brand and Stephen Colbert) were pretty insightful, and speak to the heart of why Trump was elected and where we can go from here, because the majority of his closeted supporters did not for him BECAUSE of his atrocious racist/sexist/etc rhetoric, but rather DESPITE it because they felt powerless for so long. It's a tragic outcome, but perhaps the country is in such a place of disillusioned vulnerability, that we can start some real conversations and get to the heart of the systemic problems that allowed his election. I think the key is to fight for the good while remaining open to listen and to let go of assumptions about "the other side." In the end, I still believe in the goodness of people, and that we're more similar than we are different.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3Ou5uFFn8Q

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXhFGO8R7aU

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