I published this piece for a local group that I host, on the morning after the election. There were many people on the list who had pledged serious effort towards, and pinned many hopes on, outcomes different from those that occurred. Due to the popularity of the piece, I am sharing it here for the larger community, with some modification.
You wake up in the morning and sense that something is wrong. Your surroundings are unfamiliar, and uncomfortable. As your eyes and attention focus, you begin to feel that something is very, very wrong. Indeed, you are looking at the inside of a prison cell.
What do you do? Your first reaction may be one of disbelief, and protest. With increasing agitation you implore the other inmates, the guards, the warden, to acknowledge this error, but the reaction is one of indifference and boredom; everyone treats you as if your situation is normal and expected, as if you have been here all along. Indignant and outraged, you seize the lapels of anyone within reach, rattle the bars, hammer the walls, but it is like screaming in the bottom of a well. No one hears you, no one cares. Spinning in psychic distress, dislocated emotionally and intellectually, you sink to the floor in sobs and dry heaves; you have no idea how you got here, and no idea how to get out.
But you have a secret power. Silent on your bunk, you feel the great pull of gravity streaming through you. You are anchored to the earth. Somewhere, beneath you, there is soil and living rock. Somewhere, above you, there is sky and space. Wrapped in this sacred field, you breathe. Once, deeply. Twice. Deeper. A third time, deeper still. And you ask.
“Help me see, Divine Wisdom, Guide, Guardian, God, what is right before my eyes. Help me know that I am held. Remind me that my bones are an antenna for truth, that my breath is a bellows for intuition, that my heart is beating the pulse of my path forward.”
And you receive. Because you always receive, if you ask, and then listen. And when that happens, you will discover that the walls crumble in your fists, and the people around you who can’t hear you are cardboard cutouts, and your feet are on the grass, and the sun is on your skin.
You make the prison, and you tear it down.
I haven’t voted for 20 years. And up until a few weeks ago, I had no intention of voting this time, either. But I have met the people in my district and shaken their hands; I have their numbers, their emails. I have felt the grassroots swell of anger but also of hope all around me, and, though I do not believe in pinning hope on politics, I decided to cast a ballot. If there was any influence left to the every day people, I would see it in this election, when the corruption is so foul that it is piling up like rotten garbage on Main St.
And what I saw was both disappointing and edifying. Disappointing because it is clear to me that political system is so hopelessly broken that huge swaths of people will always be under the ostensible rule of others who despise them and their values (and this is not limited to one specific group), whether it is genuinely locally decided or globally manipulated.
But edifying because I already KNEW this is not the way. It is nice to get more comfortable deck seating when we can, but it means nothing if the ship is going down.
The ship is going down. That’s okay.
I can’t think of a metaphor for the behavior of some of the people who hold power that doesn’t insult the lowly scum or slime or waste that’s just doing its job in the world without malice, and no amount of accountability would be redemptive in my eyes. So I free my own soul from those fetters, and leave those gargoyles to the reckoning of theirs. The focus has shifted.
And what it has shifted to is building and bolstering robust and resilient parallel systems and greener pastures, laying stones of our sacred architecture rather than fearing and attacking mouldering prisons.
So rejoice! And continue to focus your attention where you feel called, where you are in service, where you are blessed and blissful.
Wake up in the morning and know you are free.