November 25, 2016

Post-Election Experiences

Dashielle Vawter

I wanted to share both what I’ve been experiencing personally and what I’ve been witnessing in my community. My hope is that this will help people not feel alone, will help people be with their own experiences. Events like this can bring up a lot, and being with all the layers is a way of being honest. It can also help is see the complexity of values we’re invested in. I see it as a form of radical authenticity to speak both the grief and the praise, the anger and the hope. So…

What I’m experiencing personally:

1. Difficulty focusing on anything but the feeling in my body and the contemplation of what happened and is going to happen. An awakeness/aliveness/presence in my body that feels like it’s connected to the entire historical moment, not just my life. Like I’m tuned to a radio in the air. Hard to do things, or focus on anything else.

2. Waves of fear and grief, overwhelm.

3. Questions… what will happen with the environment? What will happen with people’s health care? What will happen to me? The earth? The animals? What is my responsibility? What can I do? Do I need to get involved in politics? Do I need to change the direction of my life? What projects that I’m working on are still important? Which are not? And on and on…

4. Coming back to presence in the moment.

5. A sense of knowing how to do this, as a woman. Feeling the core of me very very strong. Steel-like. Unbreakable. Enjoying the feeling of strength and a little bit of sassy attitude that comes up in me. Readiness to engage. Spiritual warriorship. Fierce determination.

6. Awareness of how my middle class white privilege has prevented me from taking these things personally in the past. Shame about that. And relief to be jolted out of it, excitement to take deeper more personal responsibility.

7. Disempowerment. Moments of feeling hopeless/helpless/tired/etc. I’ve been working with this aspect of my humanness for a long time so these moments aren’t taking up much time, but they are still there and important to witness. Disempowerment- my wound as a woman and member of an industrialized capitalist civilization that locates and centralizes power far away and actively marginalizes and disenfranchises people. Here in particular is where the difference is so important between a. feeling/honoring an experience and b. getting stuck in it, repeating to ourselves and others, and believing it as truth.

8. A desire for lots of space. I don’t want so much activity right now. I want time and spaciousness to be with what I’m feeling- and to stay present. In this space I can receive the waves of emotion, the questions, the moments of disempowerment, and the sense of strength. I’m able to flow with all the different layers and levels of what’s going on without getting attached to or stuck in any of them. Out of that emerges:

9. Aliveness. I feel truly, vibrantly, physically, alive.

10. Ready to stand, ready to be uncomfortable, and excited to truly, in a different way, feel deeply connected and not separate from this. It is mine and it is yours. It is ours. It’s not out there, it’s in here. Part of humanity. Part of life. Knowing what I’m willing to die for. And feeling love flowing very strongly, a clear clear river in me.

Those are my multiple truths…What are yours?
What are you experiencing?

What I’m hearing in my conversations:

1. Profound amount of space for experiencing grief, anger, confusion, fear, etc. A generosity and compassion towards ourselves and others to be with the initial WTF?!

2. Many people expressing how different this FEELS. Not like Bush or other setbacks we’ve experienced. A bubble has burst, we’ve just landed in another dimension, on a planet we didn’t know existed.

3. So much support, coming together, desire for learning, taking responsibility, many rallying cries around deeper civic engagement, and a galvanizing FELT commitment to deeper participation. I’m not hearing people say they know they “should”; people simply taking next steps that are seeming to emerge out of a GENUINE FELT DESIRE to be more deeply responsible, and more deeply engaged.

These gifts are some of the first I’m watching emerge out of our community….

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I’m also seeing our collective and individual shadows and wounds coming up:

1. People wanting to run away, escape, leave, distract, minimize, avoid, self-harm, etc.

2. Feeling victimized by the outcome, feeling triggered as women, POC, Trans, etc in the places where we’ve lost or given away power in the past. The form that took in me was Tuesday night waking up afraid of a mob coming to get me, wondering if I was safe in my home, wondering if men would be more physically aggressive with me on the street, or if I would be beaten or raped by groups of angry white men.

3. Projecting anger and blame outward at others, the system, etc.

4. Getting lost in intellectual abstractions and dark predictions. Claiming it’s over, spreading hopelessness, aggressively trying to get others to “understand” but really validate how bad we feel/fear it is. Obsessively reading and immersing in the dark predictions and intellectualizing the potential impacts in an attempt to control through understanding or being more certain.

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We all have different ways. Where trouble happens is when we get attached to our coping mechanism or story and refuse to move forward. Grief is absolutely healthy and necessary, and at some point grief naturally changes form and other experiences occur. But when we repeat the story to ourselves and choose not to move on (because the story has become comfortable and practiced, because we think our power lies in victimhood, because…) depression and deep disempowerment can emerge. These feelings do not stay siloed politically, they can begin to pervade every aspect of life.

So be with it. As long as you need. And when you start to feel the half-life of the shock, grief and anger make more space to look inside for what comes next. The experience will unfold and change and inform us in unexpected ways if we can keep the reverent space for listening to the wisdom within.

Our hearts and mind are travelers into an unknown future- and the truth is… while it feels like and is less predictable this time, it has always been an unknown future.

About Dashielle Vawter

I’m a coach, lover, writer, singer, experimenter, dancer and adventurer. Here's to our beautiful lives together <3

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