Leveling Up

November 14, 2016 § 1 Comment

wolf-1341881_1920This is for those who are devastated and heart-broken by the implications of our national election. Those who are self-righteous or triumphant are way down my list of priorities right now.

Several people have asked me if they can have another three days. The short answer is, no. No, you can’t. If you spent your three days under the covers, it’s time to come out now. If you spent them obsessing with social media, it’s time to set some limits. If you spent them feeling guilty because everyone and her second cousin was blaming you personally or everyone in a demographic you fit in, it’s time to reassess the usefulness of guilt. If you spent them purging people from your Facebook feed, or analyzing and re-analyzing what the hell happened, give it a rest. All of those things are normal because you are in new territory now and all your instincts are going to want to go back to where you were one week ago and that is not possible because you got thrown into a new level in this game you didn’t even know you were in, against your will and before you were ready.

So what now?

First, you have to sort through the onslaught of information we are both blessed and cursed with in this electronic age. Perform triage. You have a circle of control, a circle of influence, and a circle of concern. (Thanks, innumerable business consultants.) You can easily go wrong here by deciding too quickly that something is outside the inner two circles – the problem is too big, you are just one person, etc. But part of leveling up is deciding you are going to take on something you didn’t think you had the ability to take on. You are going to surprise yourself. You are going to be heroic.

In these three days (and you did get a bonus two) your heart has told you where you need to focus your efforts. Maybe your choice is surprising you. Maybe it just fits. It might not be what everyone is yelling at you to take on, but it is important and it needs attention. You begin to take some action. You start to speak up. And the first thing that happens is you get blow-back, maybe from all sides. You start wearing a safety pin, for example, because they did it in England after Brexit so it must be a good idea. It is a symbol and symbols are important. They are a sign of who you are and who you are not. You hear the stories of connection, the random hugs, the tears. And then the blowback comes, everything from mocking from supposed allies to columns reminding you of the seriousness of what you signed up for, that if something actually happens in front of you, you are going to need some pretty high-level training if you want to actually help. You have to think it through. Maybe you decide it is all too much for you. Or maybe you claim control and get that training.

Maybe you didn’t think of yourself as “political.” Maybe, God forbid, you didn’t vote. Maybe you don’t think any of this has to do with you because you don’t trust anybody and they are all the same, and you knew you were right all along but nobody listened so they won’t listen now, so to hell with everyone. Well, as we used to say in the 60s, the personal is political. You are a part of everything and everything is a part of you, so get involved, or get involved in a new way, whatever you have to do to redouble your efforts.

You don’t have to go to every rally. You don’t have to have an opinion on every issue. You don’t have to prove your allegiance to anyone or your righteousness. You need to find something you can do that will make all this better, some action you can take that follows your heart, something you can sustain for the long run because you are going to have to. Then you need to find, ask for, accept the support you will need to accomplish this thing. This new level you are now in comes with tools you didn’t even know you had, by the way. And new companions. And new joys.

§ One Response to Leveling Up

  • Susan Dixon says:

    For example – my sister has been an ex-pat for many years, living in North Wales. She could have watched all our drama from afar, thinking, well, she’s an ex-pat and she has trouble enough with Brexit, that she also can’t do anything about because … she’s an ex-pat. But she didn’t. She was deeply involved in the issues of this campaign and just as deeply involved in the reaction to it. She has decided to start a project that raises awareness of the Constitution – not just its existence but what it actually says. It is a manageable project but it could have huge implications. It is sustainable and patriotic but also potentially revolutionary. (And if you want to get involved I’ll send you her contact information.)

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