The last week has been intense, stressful and even overwhelming for many women (and men). I put aside the topic I had planned to write about today because I feel a pressing need to address the flood of emotion that so many are struggling with — friends, family members, clients, and my own troubling emotions.
If you have a different political orientation, and feel happy with the current state of affairs in our country, I welcome you to stop reading now.
But if, like me, you have been distressed by the political climate and you feel that hope is hard to hold onto, you are not alone. We have witnessed deeply disturbing changes put in place that impact our health and environment, damaging changes to educational and our justice system, policies that are cruel and inhumane, and unspeakable omissions such as withholding standard levels of support for everything from health insurance to help for those hit by devesting hurricanes.
And then we watched the events of the last week unfold.
A brave, articulate, remarkable, composed and credible victim of sexual assault came forward with important testimony. A nominee for a seat on the highest court in this country, for a lifetime appointment, was frighteningly partisan, shockingly emotional, and seemingly untruthful. The sham of a limited investigation gave cover to lawmakers to approve the nominee, despite the outpouring of cries not to do so from scores of women who have suffered sexual assault, scores of prominent lawyers and academics, the editorial boards of the most respected news organizations, and countless citizens.
It has felt for many that this is a new and especially frightening low, one that surpasses many points where we thought things could surely not get worse.
Which brings me to address our collective state of mind, and how we can live and move forward in such troubling times.
We have been bullied, and bullies want to silence us.
They want us to cower and hide.
I say, “No!”
I urge you to resist the temptation to go fetal, or simply wring your hands with other like-minded people, or numb yourself to all the distress.
Here are some of the tenets of my manifesto for living a creative life that are top of mind for me today, and that you may want to consider.
1. Slow down. Be still.
In quiet we can honor ourselves and have time to feel our emotions. And, we can collect our thoughts. This is important self-care that provides a foundation for taking action.
2. Live without fear.
Fear paralyzes, which is why it’s used by powerful people to quiet those they don’t want to hear from. Two sure antidotes to fear are love and action. Start by surrounding yourself with people you love, who fill your heart with good, positive energy, and who you can shower with love.
Filled with this positive energy you will think more clearly and be able to consider the actions that you can take to influence the situation in positive ways. In this circumstance, you can actively work to get like-minded people out to vote in great numbers. You can send financial support to candidates and causes you are aligned with. You can show up at rallies and be counted among the masses who will not be cowed.
3. Tap your passion.
Your passion connects you to your heart, your beliefs and your values. Let these guide you each day, and they will serve you well.
4. Live boldly.
Being bold requires that you think big. When you are bold you speak your mind. You show up to support the causes that matter to you, and encourage others with shared sentiments to do the same.
We all have the capacity to create our futures, rather than resigning ourselves to being passive, or worse yet, victims. When we adopt the mindset of a creator, life is full of vast possibilities, and we can be agents of change. Creativity can resolve confusion and inspire effective action. Test it and see what happens. Then keep reminding yourself that you are a creator until it is embedded in your thinking.
6. Be patient.
The challenges we face are huge, and there are few quick fixes for the changes that are needed. We must be patient and diligent as we work to turn the tide on so many fronts.
7. Carry on.
As we work as individuals and together to create a better future, new challenges will show up. Setbacks are inevitable. These will test us. We must live with intention and return to the themes discussed above as needed. We can and must maintain our commitment and persevere.
Our nation has rebounded from other dark periods, and often come out of them stronger than before. It’s by standing together and staying committed that we will turn the tide and restore justice, decency and honor, to live up to the true values of our nation. We have been the light of the world and we can be that light again.
I invite you to join me in voting in the coming election, in working to get all committed citizens to the polls, in supporting candidates with values worthy of our respect, and to staying the course for the big work that lies ahead for all of us.