It has been 10 days since the U.S. Election. Like many, I have been involved in exhaustive soul searching about the threat of being reduced to a name on a registry as a suspicious ethnic OTHER. I kept thinking about a Dalai Lama lecture I recently attended. He shared a story about a monk who was imprisoned by the Chinese. The conversation went something like this:
Monk: ” I was in deep danger.”
Dalai Lama: “You mean in danger of loosing your life.”
Monk: “No, I was in deep danger of loosing my compassion for the Chinese soldiers.”
The last ten days, I’ve been thinking about this exchange and the fear of loosing compassion. Here are my strategies to “Love More” during and beyond the age of President Donald Trump that include: acceptance, resistance, understanding, action and gratitude.
I paused and let the loss sink in as an essential part of democracy. At least a military coup was not a threat here.
I commiserated with dear ones and discovered unexpected support and new dear ones.
I oscillated between connecting and disconnecting with others, in person and on social media. I allowed myself erratic emotions of….. okay, I’ll just hate them back to ….no, but I love a lot of “them.” Who are “they” and “us” anyway?
I smiled more. Said “hello” more. As if to say…You may see me as threateningly brown but I will recognize you as a person. It is your choice to be suspicious, not mine.
I started to read Fox news along with CNN, Huff Post, BBC, Le Monde, and other newspapers to remind myself that every story has multiple perspectives.
I read books about “other”perspectives and cultivated my compassion. http://www.npr.org/2016/11/14/501975656/one-way-to-bridge-the-political-divide-read-the-book-thats-not-for-you
I signed up to learn more about my local government through apps like “Countable” and other websites.
I continued with my weekly volunteering and looked to volunteer, donate more to food issues and women’s empowerment.
I refuse to demonize and categorize others. I choose to make the people I live with “my people” regardless of income, political inclination and ethnic composition. I will be loud and visible in defending my people here and now.
Most importantly, I refuse to let fear pollute the deep gratitude I feel towards all the people, my people, White-Black-Brown who have supported and continue to nourish my life. The list is too long! ….teachers who taught me and my children to read, nurses who held my hand as my children emerged into the world, the people who stock the grocery store shelves, cashiers who patiently look up the numbers for produce they never use, the lady behind the fish counter who shares recipes, the police officer who found my orange purse after our house was robbed, the postman who brings my boxes to the door with a smile, the bank teller who patiently replace a stolen new debit card, the construction workers fixing the roads, the trash collectors who carry away the smelly ugly mess, the quiet librarians, the diner cooks who make me eggs on the weekends, all the people I don’t ever see, who support my life nevertheless……..this is why my family came to this country, for these people who make America great every-freakin-day, who work hard to make it possible for me to sit here with my cup of coffee and write to you. That person over there behind the counter, who charged me $2.34 for a cup of coffee and asked me if I wanted a mug or a to-go cup. Yes, all the people behind the counter and behind our view. I as an immigrant have failed to convey my deep gratitude for people who now feel invisible, afraid and left behind. I will do better. Maybe just starting with holiday cookies. This is a war of love just as much as policy. I may not be able to make people feel different about me but I can try to win “hearts and minds.” Some, I will never. Haters will hate, right? But that can’t be an excuse to do nothing. Maybe the US military can help us “nation build” at home (oh yes…also send my gratitude to veterans). Happy to be a domestic American soldier of compassion.
I am doing this so my “I” can dissolve into “US,” flawed, conflicted and confused like any family.
All this may be stupid and ineffective but this is what I’ll be doing. Bake and share cookies. At the least this election makes me rethink the “family” cookbook I’m working on for my daughters. You out there!… send me your recipes and stories, I will include them. You are now a part of my family, my story and whether you like it or not, I am yours. Let’s take better care of each other.
Thank you for reading yet one more post-election rant.
With deep gratitude,