People Have the Power
Hey there, my bright-community, my warm hearted tribe of creative, deep-feeling, generous souls... I am thinking about you today. I want to offer some loving support. I want you to know that I am here for you.
How are you feeling today? Check in with yourself… what are you thinking about? How does your body feel? What emotions are your reckoning with?
You know why I am asking this, right?
We are going through some big changes here in the United States. Today marks a transition that many feel angry and fearful about.
If you are passionate about social justice, human rights, and economic freedom it’s totally understandable that you feel concern, fear, anger, and whatever other strong feelings are happening for you. I am right there with you. While we feel these big feelings, it may be important to remember a few things right now.
First,you are not alone.In many ways, very little has changed (at least so far). The rights you had in place yesterday are the same. Your friends, family, and community are the same. The people who you have counted on to share your passions and values, and those who you know really understand you and support you… they are still those same people, and they are there for you. Today, and any day that you feel lonely, would be a good day to reach out to them. You have the power to be connected right now.
It is easy to project ourselves far forward into imagined possible outcomes when really everything in our world is pretty manageable. Right now, if you are safe, if you are comfortable, if there are people, animals, things, events, circumstances that bring you joy - notice them, find your way to gratitude for them. I do not mean to undermine the reality that things could change to be more difficult, frightening, or dangerous. I know that it is possible. But it might be important to remember right now that those types of changes are always possible, we simply tend not to focus on those possibilities until some kind of change creates fear in us and reminds us to notice. Today if you are safe, give thanks for that, relish and appreciate that. If you are not safe tomorrow, you will be better equipped to face whatever danger is before you if you did not wear yourself out being frightened for your safety when you were, indeed, safe. You have the power to be present in the moment you are actually experiencing instead of being lost in imagined, uncertain future scenarios or past events.
Right now, I hope you will also remember (or reconsider this if you have thought otherwise)… There are no guarantees that everything is going to become terrible, just like when everything is good there are no guarantees that things will stay good.
How much do you think it supports your well-being to be convinced that the worst is coming? Let me tell you, it takes a lot out of you to live in fear, anger, dread, and hopelessness. When you feel this way for prolonged periods of time your brain and body act as though they are being pummeled by a battering ram. Digestion, sleep, immune function, they literally shut down when you live in dread. Let’s be right here, right now in whatever relative comfort and peace is available to you in your life so you can get rest, be nourished by the food you eat, and stay strong. Take a moment now to notice…what is positive, beautiful, uplifting, and smoothly unfolding in your life? Breathe in the wonder of these blessings. Your noticing what is good is a power you have that is good for you every single day.
I want you to know that you have more power over your mood and your feelings than you ever believed was possible. Yes, it is hard work to learn to quiet fears, gentle anger, and reach for positivity. Yes, some people are more challenged by that work than others, which is absolutely no statement upon their worth, skills, or strengths. The simple truth is that some of us were born with, raised with, surrounded by different levels of all abilities. These differences affect us in all of our work. Yet, we still have the power to strive toward our greatest abilities.
I want to be super clear with you…I am not saying that anger or fear or disappointment or frustration or disgust or shock are bad or unacceptable emotions to feel. They are crucial to our functioning! We learn so much from these emotional responses! I just want you to know that if you are stuck feeling any of those feelings, especially if you get stuck for a long time, that if you stay in a downward spiral of difficult emotions, it can have negative consequences for you. I also want you to know that you definitely have the power to shift those feelings, invite in other feelings, productively experience the pain, and then move on.
When you move on from pain, often you will feel motivated. Motivated, perhaps, to help others or to build community or to take action either in your personal life or in the world at large to create potentially positive new outcomes. I invite you to that motivated, action-taking place within yourself once you have visited the frightening visions of what could be, some of the disappointing truth of what is. If you look at your life, at the whole world, with a very wide lens, you will see that there is always positive alongside the negative, always dark following light following dark, always some way to see that things could be worse... or better. You have the power to decide which way you look at everything.
What is happening in the U.S. today is part of a turning cycle. This country of millions of people has many, many different ways of seeing the world, and the truth is that most people are good-hearted, even if we don’t all agree on how things should be done. For as long as there have been governments, governments have swung back and forth between differing sets of values and perspectives. Just us this country has before, it is swinging in a different direction that for many feels like a swing away from all that we hold dear. The power of this swinging pendulum of ideals is that we all learn more about each other, our neighbors, and the different perspectives of others when the change comes upon us. We may learn things we do not like or want to know, but we gain power by learning more.
People, we have power. Remember this in all of the small and large ways that it is true today, tomorrow, the next day. Possibly our greatest power lies in our ability to shift our focus and notice what we can change and to change those very things, often starting within ourselves. We can get through these coming changes, whatever they may bring. Maintaining our strength, our vision of what is possible, our connections to each other, and building up our sense of ourselves as powerful will guide us through in untold ways.
Please reach out to me if I can help you find your power. It is what I love to do.
And if you need a little music to remind you of your power, listen to the poetic declaration of Patti Smith when she tells us People Have the Power.
“I awakened to the cry
that the people / have the power
to redeem / the work of fools
upon the meek / the graces shower
it's decreed / the people rule
The people have the power“