From where I am writing, I can see brilliant trees outside. One fiery maple is twisting and bowing to reveal flashes of yellow from behind it, and below, a defiant row of green bushes deny that winter will ever come. This town is breathtaking in the fall. This week the dramatic foliage felt exactly right for the headlines.
When I was at Bastyr, we once crowded into a chapel on campus to hear a professor, Bill Mitchell, ND speak. He spoke about Gaia, the ancestral mother of all life. We hear from physics that we are all made up of recycled molecules, all originating from the same primordial soup, and merely changing form over time. The boundaries of individual health extend well beyond the body, and are dependent on more than fellow humans. My class at Bastyr first gathered for orientation on September 13, 2001, and we were uniquely able to witness these truths. Gaia, the mother of all life, the unifying force. When she suffers, we all suffer.
We think of Gaia as peaceful. Yoga, mindfulness, meditation beside a peaceful stream. The fact is that nature is not always peaceful. The brilliance outside my window is an elaborate death. Every sunrise is chased by darkness and many of the primal instincts we have grant us the capacity to leverage harm, especially when we are afraid. When one piece of the fabric is wounded, it is mended by another. We see this every time a dying patient defies their odds. But we also see that balance whenever the body heals with a violent release of the bowels, or when a person succumbs to a victorious bacteria. Peace is a luxury we enjoy between upheavals.
Our goodness is a choice. It is a choice we all believe we make every day. Whatever vote you cast, this was a hard election. The world is afraid and hurting. The discussion veered from policy to pit unity against division and by that rhetoric, division won. This election drew its strength from fear. Fear is not a stronger message than unity, but it is a stronger motivator.
This weekend I went to see the Tour of Gymnastics Champions. One of the Olympic gymnasts said, “I used to get nervous, and I still do, but I learned how to use it. It’s a great energy if you can use it to help you.” If you are feeling grief, or fear, whether it is because you feel robbed of an election or the freedom to celebrate your win, use that energy to protect our America. Get up with the sun’s rise, get dressed and keep pushing yourself to choose goodness and to voice it ever more loudly.