Last night as I sat watching the election results roll in I felt myself slipping into fear, overwhelm and profound disappointment as it became evident that the final tally would be a far cry from everything I had hoped. I went to bed in a funk, and woke up feeling thoroughly depressed as reality set in. I am Canadian, not American but I do feel strongly that everything is connected and I am aware that what happens in the United States will very likely have an effect on us as well.
I struggled to pull myself out of the very negative space I woke up in, taking a few moments to be quiet and check in. As I sat there I picked up on the sounds of my children playing down the hall, and those sounds brought me hope. I realized that by focusing on and being present in the moment I am currently experiencing I have the opportunity to change how I look at a situation. Fear about the future has no purpose, as there are no guarantees in life. I could be hit by a bus tomorrow, wasting my time worrying about it only serves to ruin and cast a negative light on my current experience. I cannot change the past, no matter how hard I try, so perhaps focusing on what has transpired is a useless endeavour also.
What remains is how I choose to deal with what is in front of me. I have three beautiful children I have the great privilege of spending my days with. As their parent I have the ability (and responsibility) to teach them the traits of empathy, kindness, compassion and tolerance that are so vitally important to us as individuals and as parents. Regardless of what is going on in the world, by helping them develop these skills in how they treat themselves and others I can help foster hope and positive change for the future. In the face of the bigotry, racism, misogyny and hate that exist on so many levels in the world right now, we can choose hope, tolerance and love. I can choose to find something positive in what has transpired. When I find it I will let you know, but for now I am actively engaged in the attempt. I have to believe that there is something positive to be found in any situation, and a perspective grounded on hate and ridicule only serves to foster more of the same. In the immortal words of the brilliant poet, Leonard Cohen:
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.…
These words serve as a reminder to me, that even in the darkest of times, when everything seems broken and hopeless there is still the potential for love, light, and hope. I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, but for now I choose to focus on simple tasks. Being engaged and present with my kids. Baking a batch of heart shaped cookies, because sometimes that is all that is really left to do. Practicing gratitude and appreciation for the abundance of positive things in my life. And making the conscious decision to always choose love. Will this make a difference, in the grand scheme of things? I have no idea. But all I can do is try.