(While fully admitting that politics isn’t my forte, I felt compelled to try to say something that might speak to the events of this year).
2016 has been a year of unpredicted whirlwind changes on the world stage.
June saw approximately half of UK voters cast their vote to leave the EU.
That night I watched the number of constituencies voting to leave steadily rise with a sick sense of disbelief deep in the pit of my stomach.
I wasn’t the only one.
“What have we done?” asked one of my friends on Facebook. (A Remain voter).
“How can this be happening?” were the first words of another.
With an eerie sense of deja vu, I’ve seen many American friends express the same sense of shock and disbelief in the wake of the Presidential elections.
Both the UK and the USA – despite their umpteen deplorable mistakes that have left deep scars on the face of history – have been in many ways proponents of humanitarian values.
We now find ourself in the situation where they are – politically speaking – leaning heavily towards the right.
This seems to have given hardcore nationalism, white supremacy and the minuscule percentage of people who subscribe to them the license to rear their ugly heads. Spates of xenophobia and other hate crimes followed close behind in both countries.
Although it is edifying to see the amount of support for the targeted minorities and that these incidents have been swiftly dealt with by the authorities, it is easy to surmise that the political, moral and ethical landscape in the UK and the US has shifted beyond recognition.
It is as if the values that we thought our countries stood for have been swept away from under our feet.
People from both sides of the political spectrum feel the pain of this.
Many who were on the “losing side” feel that far exceeding any personal sense of loss, the result is a loss for the nation; a loss for the world.
Stranded in this sea of uncertainty and tumultuous change many of us feel anchorless. Ungrounded. Like strangers in our homeland.
We are shaken to our core; no longer able to identify with the badge of belonging which has been ours for so long.
In this sea of dismay and despair, it can be easy to feel like we have little say in the way our lives are determined.
We can feel like our lives are controlled by external events; forces bigger than us – things that are beyond our control.
When we do, we give away our power.
The truth is that we are the biggest force in our own lives.
We are the source of our power.
Reeling after the Brexit decision back in June, it took me a couple of days to remember that I am the authority in my own life and reclaim my power.
When I did, I wrote these words:
“I am not defined by my nationality. I can and do choose to embrace inclusive values, love and compassion; even if the leader(s) of my country or some of my fellow countrymen do not. I can hope that the leadership that emerges will also choose to embrace these and other such noble qualities. I can commit to doing all that is within my power to sow seeds of love that will grow in the hearts and lives of others and to spread compassion in the world.”
This is where our power resides:
In our response.
We always have the power to choose the way we want to show up in the world.
We always have the power to choose the values we want to uphold and embody.
That the political, moral and ethical landscape is always changing is not a fact we often consider.
Referendums and presidential elections may emphasize and draw our attention to this; but the political arena is not where the moral and ethical landscapes of our countries are created.
The power to create the moral and ethical landscape of our nation resides within us: in the moment-to-moment choices we make, and the values we source them in.
As sovereign beings, we always have the power of choice.
We have the power to choose who we want to be and how we want to show up in the world – how we want to act, speak and respond – in each and every moment of our lives.
The current state of the world is calling us to step up into that power.
To claim our authority.
To develop increasing mastery of ourself.
To bring more consciousness to the world we are co-creating together.
To step into the fullness of our power as co-creators.
It is asking each one of us to examine who we are and who we want to be.
It is asking us to examine our values.
It is asking us to commit to all that we believe is good and pure and true.
It is asking us to uphold these things.
It is asking us to do these things now.
So that we can create a better world for ourselves, and for each other.
Now is the time for us to shine our light.
Without the darkness of the night, the brilliance of the new day cannot be seen or comprehended.
The darkness of intolerance, greed and hate; disrespect for each other, our fellow creatures and our planet is the stark contrast that is calling us to boldly shine our light forth in the world as never before.
The world needs our light.
The inequalities, divisions and discriminations that have permeated our society for so long; deeply embedded but all too often denied and discounted; have at last broken the surface and are exposed, in plain view for all to see.
This sense of decline we feel; this sense that as a nation, and as nations, our collective backs have been turned and we have regressed to the divisive politics of bygone years – this is our medicine.
This is what – if we allow it, will empower us to diagnose and treat the greed, superiority and hatred; the politics of fear and division; the legacy of suspicion and mistrust of difference that is a cancerous cell embedded deep within the heart of humanity.
We cannot treat a disease that we do not know is there.
Nor one which we refuse to acknowledge.
We have made gigantic leaps and bounds in many parts of the world towards embracing inclusive policies and equal rights. It is right that we should celebrate this.
Now the shadow has come into plain view again so that we can heal it on an even deeper and more profound level.
It is not the politicians and world leaders who have the ability do this; though they have their role to play.
The power resides with us.
It is up to each one of us to take on the task of healing and transmuting the darkness. Turning it into light:
One loving thought at a time; one loving word at a time; one loving act at a time.
We begin with ourself.
Noticing the shadow within us – the places where we act from fear, greed and hate – surrendering it; breathing in love instead.
The love we breathe in is a love that embraces the whole of humanity.
A love that embraces the whole of life.
It is akin to the concept of love expressed in the word Namaste:
I honor the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells, I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Integrity, of Wisdom and of Peace. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are One.
The question to ask ourself is are we acting from this space of Love?
Are the moment-to-moment choices we are making coming from this space in which we honor the whole of humanity, the whole of life, as expressions of divine Source; each equally worthy, each deserving of our love and compassion?
Are the moment-to-moment choices we make – choosing one thought over another; one word in place of another; one action instead of another – grounded in love and compassion; rooted in a desire for the freedom of all sentient beings to live happy and fulfilling lives?
We extend this love into the lives of the people around us by:
Choosing thoughts, words and deeds that respect and honor.
Choosing thoughts, words and deeds that offer solidarity, peace, joy and hope.
Choosing thoughts, words and deeds that bridge differences and build connection.
Choosing thoughts, words and deeds that seek to understand and find value in others; that let be and continue to treat with respect and dignity those with whom we find ourselves to be irreconcilable with in some way.
Choosing thoughts, words and deeds that unite us in our common humanity, whilst also respecting its multifaceted faces.
Choosing thoughts, words and deeds that join us together in mutual compassion and understanding, discarding those that drive us apart.
As each of us chooses to act from this space of love and compassion, as this ripples out into the lives of the people around us, we change the moral and ethical landscape of our nation.
This is the tremendous force of the power that resides within us.
The power to choose and – by our choices – change the face of our nation.
The power to choose and – by our choices – change the face of the world.
Image credit: QuotesPick.com