To love thine enemy: why love will always trump hate.

Originally published on elephant journal: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2016/11/to-love-thine-enemy-why-love-will-always-trump-hate/

The morning after the election, I woke up crying.

I went to bed at 2:00 a.m., right after John Podesta came on the air and told us to get some sleep. He told us that it was too close to call. That they would keep counting. Even at that point, Hillary only stood a 25% chance of winning, but I still had hope. I couldn’t believe in a world where Donald Trump was President. It was unfathomable to me.

I woke up around 9:00 a.m. from a dream in which I was being held captive in a strange topsy, turvy type of fun house. The floors were uneven and I was being kept chained to a strange device in the centre of the moving, writhing space. When I would try to get up and leave, the floors would shift on their axis, and I’d sit back down, defeated. There were other people there too, in the dream, telling me that I couldn’t leave. That I shouldn’t leave.

“It’s dangerous out there,” they warned me. “You’ll never make it.”

And so I stayed. Shackled. Chained. Defeated. Until suddenly I looked down at my hand, and I wiggled my wrist. The shackle loosened slightly. Slowly, one link at a time, the chain began to disappear. I soon realised that I was only being told I was stuck, that the very thing I believed was binding me to that awful place was something I had constructed on my own.

I stood up, and suddenly the floors became smooth and stable. I walked out the door while the people screamed obscenities behind me.

“This is it for you. You’re done. It’s over!”

Although the dream felt hopeful at the end, when I awoke and the last few remnants of it drifted off, that was when I knew… I picked up my phone and opened the CBC news app.

‘Donald Trump wins U.S. election in astonishing victory,’ it read. My heart sunk the rest of the way down my chest. And then the tears came.

It’s been hours since I found out, and I’m still crying off and on. I haven’t felt this upset in ages. And I’m Canadian. I wonder to myself why this is affecting me so deeply?

It won’t really affect us that much, I can hear people saying.

“He’s not our President,” one Canadian was even quoted on the news.

But this does affect us. It affects all of us, no matter what country we call home.

We are all one race. One tribe. One group.

To know that half of the people who voted in America support a man who spews forth homophobic, xenophobic, racist, sexist, misogynistic bullshit makes me more than sad. It makes me distraught. I feel like all the things I stand for, all the things I love—compassion, unity, understanding, tolerance, kindness—are at risk.

But are they?

I participated in Elevate the Vote on the night of the election. I tuned in to an audio broadcast to mediate with thousands of other people at 6:00 p.m. During that time I could feel the hope of our neighbouring country. I could sense it, in every fibre of my being. And once I’ve processed this change, I think I’ll feel it again.

We have to go through the motions here. We have to feel our feelings, whatever they are. But we do not, we cannot, fold in the face of adversity. We have to fight. We have to hold strong. We have to find a way to work together, to be compassionate in the face of all this, in the same way we would have expected of them had they won. As Hillary said in her concession speech that morning, “We have spent a year and a half bringing together millions of people from every corner of our country to say with one voice that we believe that the American dream is big enough for everyone, for people of all races and religions, for men and women, for immigrants, for LGBT people and for people with disabilities.”

And it is. It can be. This is only a setback if we give ourselves over to it fully. Instead, we can use it as a kindling for the fire. We can return to the fight with new vigour, new purpose.

“This loss hurts,” Hillary said. “But please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It is. It is worth it. And so we need you to keep up these fights now and for the rest of your lives […].”

So what can you do today? You can get involved. Find the communities and organisations that will be ready to fight back. Create your own army of spiritual warriors, humanitarians, and social activist. And most importantly write, speak out, explore your own feelings and desires, and then express them fully.

If this election has taught us anything it’s that we need to listen to one another. We need to at least try to understand, to reach out, to offer solutions. We need to bridge cultural and racial divides, and we need to start today.

A friend of mine in California went to a yoga class the morning after the election, and she said that every single person in the class was crying. At first I found that to be heartbreaking. I understand their pain so fully. I feel it. But then I thought, that it’s actually beautiful as well. It’s incredible that in a world so vast and often divisive, that we can find people who feel exactly the same way we do. Who understand our plight. Who bleed, and hurt, and cry the same way.

What if we could all find a way to bleed together, as one? What if we can say I don’t understand you, I don’t agree with you, but I still offer you love. Let’s try to find some common ground we can stand on.

Once I’m done mourning this loss, and what it could have been for the country, what it should have been for the world, I will find hope.

We can only stay shackled if we believe we should stay shackled. We have the opportunity, the power, the ability, to free ourselves.

For now, take solace in each other, my friends. Turn to your yoga and meditation practices. Turn to writing, music, and art. Turn to all the beautiful things we have in this life that give us hope. And remind yourself, that love always, always trumps hate.

love, beach, girls

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