Orange is the new Black. Are you ready?

For those of us holding onto denial for dear life, today is the day we must face our worst fear.... Inauguration Day!

It's done. The electoral college failed to be the fail safe. Russia's hacking and fake news bombardment worked. And despite obvious conflicts of interest, no tax return, and terrible appointments, Donald J Trump will be our president for the next 4 years.

So now what?

I could vent my frustrations about unqualified appointments, like Betsy DeVos and Ben Carson, but do I really need to? Trump's presidency is sure to be unlike any other, and while we can all imagine the worst case scenario, or cry, moan, and groan about all the madness going down in DC, it's time to start seeking a more positive perspective, and begin moving forward in the best way possible.

Here are some very powerful lessons this election has reminded me of, that I feel we could all use a refresher on:

Lesson #1 - Realistic Optimism

Being realistic is often synonymous with pessimism. Conversely, blind optimism is just being naive. Realistic Optimism is to dance a fine line between recognizing our rose-colored glasses, and taking a good honest look at the reality we see through them. We don't need to deny the truth, nor sugar coat it, but we can strive to find a silver lining, and transform that shit into rich fertile soil. Why do you think I love composting so much? It's the perfect metaphor! If one can literally turn shit back into soil, then surely, there must be some shred of hope in the shit storm we're about to enter. 

Yep! Me as Ms. August in 2013 teaching about Humanure (go ahead, google it). 

Yep! Me as Ms. August in 2013 teaching about Humanure (go ahead, google it). 

Lesson #2 - Listen and Learn.

I genuinely believed no one I knew could possibly vote for Trump, because most of the people I know are "good people," and a "good" person would never vote for that orange faced demon. I believed I was right, and "they" were wrong.

Despite this, I began seeing more and more posts about people who said they voted for Trump, and they weren't the stereotypes we imagined. After posting a video on Facebook encouraging peaceful and loving solutions on Nov 11, I discovered that people I know, and consider good, kind, and loving, voted for Trump. I was even lucky enough to connect with an old friend, and understand her logic behind her vote. How ironic that our differing political views turned out to be a reason to talk again for the first time in years. 

My main takeaway from our conversation: she was frustrated with the existing political atmosphere, and Clinton would've just been more of the same... as I learned from other friends later, and a very powerful episode of Black-ish, this was a huge reason for many.


Lesson #3 - Disagree, RESPECTFULLY. 

You CAN disagree with someone, AND still be polite, civil, and honest. Express what you believe is true, listen as the other person express their beliefs, and then talk about it. This means asks questions, deepen your understanding of their belief(s), and put yourself in their shoes. You don't have to always convince them to agree with you. The object = to learn.  

 just because you're right, doesn't mean they're   wrong.

 just because you're right, doesn't mean they're wrong.

Lesson #4 - Anything is Possible

Like many people, I sincerely thought there was no way in hell that Trump would win the election. IMPOSSIBLE! Anyone else...?

Yet here we are. Inauguration Day and he is being sworn in. Therefore, we can safely and confidently deduce that - Anything Is Possible! 

I know scary times lay ahead of us, and I won't deny my concern for my fellow citizens (local and abroad), the environment, and the constitution. But just as these scary realities are all possible, so are their equal and opposite realities - because that's how nature works: for every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction (aka Newton's 3rd law of physics).

Take this lesson and run with it as far and wide as your imagination and courage will allow. Believing in our own strength, resilience, and capacity to change for the better is incredibly powerful, and a necessary foundation for the many battles ahead (because let's be real - there will be many battles). 

Lesson #5 - Crisis creates the opporunity for Change

One thing I think we can all agree on, is that the we needed some change. As much as I love President Obama, his 8 years in office weren't perfect. That's because the President is just one person, and the bigger problem of money in politics was there long before he arrived. 

When faced with a crisis, we only have two choices: stay the same and suffer, or step up to the challenge and change. If you've been sitting on the sidelines complaining, refusing to act, listen, and do your part in fixing the collective mess we are all responsible for, now is your time to shine baby!  

Because change is a part of growth. And growth is a part of life. Sometimes it's painful, sometimes it's not, but it always asks us to step out of our comfort zone, and change the way we view ourselves and each other (including that person you still can't believe is a Trump supporter!).

Ways you can contribute to or create positive change:

  • Check out Represent US, and learn more about making corruption illegal (cuz it's not right now).
  • Join the Women's March, either in DC or in your area. There are hundreds of rallies throughout the country. Here's the info for the one in Miami this Saturday.
  • Reach out to a Trump supporter you know and try to understand his/her perspective. Dispel the illusion that they are racist, sexist, or bigots. Or confirm it and stop being their friend because of that, not just because of who they voted for. 
  • Volunteer with an organization whose cause you feel strongly about. There are soooooo many nonprofits, and they would all love any kind of help. I personally volunteer with Fertile Earth Foundation, and support many other nonprofits in other ways.
  • Be the reason someone believes in the goodness of people. Be the change you wish to see in the world. When you extend kindness, love, and generosity, it feels good and you create positive vibrations. That shit matters!
  • Stay informed, but don't dwell on the bad news. Always look for the solution within the problem, and keep your focus there. That's how you choose to practice hope. If you can't find hope at all, reach out, and I'll do my best to help you find it.
  • Remember to take care of yourself, and nourish you mind & body with healthy food, mindful media, and self-care rituals. Because you can't give what you don't have, so if you don't have love for yourself and your needs, how will you be able to give it to others?

Which of these actions can you commit to? How will you be a force for the change we need? I'd love to hear your plan of peaceful action in the comments below. 

You and your actions can and do matter.

Always remember and believe that. If you don't just yet, I do - for you and me both ;-)

Lots of Love,