Positive Action in Challenging Times

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“You go on by doing the best you can. You go on by being generous. You go on by being true. You go on by offering comfort to others who can’t go on. You go on by allowing the unbearable days to pass and by allowing the pleasure other days. You go on by finding a channel for your love and another for your rage.”                   ~ Cheryl Strayed

Presidential election weeks tend to be challenging — on one side are the ‘winners’ while on another side are the ‘losers’. In this election, there is a wider divide than in any previous elections I’ve lived through. By now, in most elections, the dust settles and we get on with our daily lives. This time, however, the campaigning was filled with too many words of hatred, racism, and disrespect of women — words that cannot be unsaid. This time, the dust is not settling and there is much fear and separation and determination.

I have had to turn away from the news and social media in order to find my way back to my personal calm center. Writing and processing in my journal and being outdoors in nature are the two ways I find the most solace and can relax. This time, I feel the need for more time to heal and to consider what will be next. This time I am ready to roll up my sleeves and stand up for what I believe in.

It has helped for me to gain clarity around what I believe so that I might take positive action in each moment.

Here is what I believe:

  1. I believe we all, essentially, want the same things for ourselves, our families, our communities, and our nation. I am discouraged that because of words spoken (even shouted), it seems the hatred, racism, and disrespect has won.
  2. I believe that our system of the electoral college and voting needs to change. The results of the electoral college and the popular votes do not agree. I wish the system would change and be updated. The electoral college is an outdated system that was designed at a time when slavery and women were unable to vote and information travelled slowly. The idea, for the time, was good as it created a balance of voting in areas where the majority of people were not allowed to vote. I do believe it is time to change the system to be one vote for everyone — which counts. In that way, there is no guessing. The popular vote wins and everyone who votes matters.
  3. I believe we all want a government that works for the people, all the people. We are a nation built on diversity. Not too long ago, we all came from immigrant roots. Our Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” In other words, everyone is created equal and has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It also means that the government is designed to be by the people and for the people.
  4. I believe it is time to deeply listen to one another in order to get to the deeper story of what we all want for ourselves, our families, our communities, and our country. Through listening — lovingly and empathically — we can find our common ground and discover our way forward.
  5. I believe we must begin to ask different questions, ones that focus on moving forward. More useful questions would be, Who am I now, even in this? What positive actions can I take to be sure that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are available for everyone?
  6. I also believe that we all have a choice in every moment. Positive Psychology encourages us to make choices from strength and in alignment with our values.
  7. I choose to stand up and focus on positive action. I will wear my safety pin in solidarity and encourage others to do the same.
  8. I choose to listen to those with different viewpoints.
  9. I choose to focus on what I am grateful for in my daily life.
  10. I choose to stand strong for what I believe in and roll up my sleeves for positive action.
  11. I choose to let go of negativity and live in my values of love and peace.
  12. I choose to stand strong with all women who deserve respect, who have a voice, and should not suffer from abuse, harassment, or assault.
  13. I choose to use my voice and my actions for the good I believe in.
  14. I choose to trust that what is right and good will prevail.
  15.  I choose to take positive action and to do the work that needs to be done to keep my family, my friends, and my community safe — all those who are of a different color, nationality, gays, and everyone who deserves a chance.
  16. I also choose to take time away from the news and social media so that I can continue to find my calm center.

I will continue to work for the good in everyone unless they prove otherwise, then I will take positive action. My hope is that you will do the same.

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