As I ponder gratitude and the Thanksgiving holiday, I realized that the current interactions of people in this country are eerily looking like history repeating itself — our currently divided country and the civil war from when Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday and the interactions between the Native Americans now and in the past. It’s interesting because it appears that the history may not be as we were taught. If you wish to explore, here are a couple of links: Real Story #1 and Real Story #2.
With respect to how our country feels very divided, it is clear that Americans wanted change. The reactions post election have been extreme and I would like to address ways that we can look at ourselves and perhaps take a perspective from a higher level of consciousness. From a spiritual perspective, when we get triggered by something, it represents one of the following.
- The trigger is a mirror unto ourselves. Judgment is a prevalent mirror that we, obviously, have not completely transcended.
- The trigger represents an area that we may need to heal within. For example, it may be something that reminds us of a past hurt. These even include ancestral and historical injustices.
- The trigger may be an area where we need to find compassion. For example, it is important to recognize that when someone puts someone down, or anything along those lines, it is because they are operating from a place of fear. That may be tough to recognize, but remember our reaction is our own fear.
Because it is clear that we do wish for change, it is important that the change begins within ourselves. For that is the only thing we have control over. Now, more than ever, it is time to get out of the complacency and move forward into change at the grassroots level. I realize that many people in this country are both overworked and under worked (unemployed) and it is difficult to make time in our busy lives to make change and not feel reactive. Margaret Mead said, “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” If you care about the future for your children and future generations, now is the time to act and not react! Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” If we mirror the fear, it will continue to propagate.
I encourage coming together in community to honor the full range of our emotions from joy to anger and if the emotions tend to be more negative, bringing them to the surface will help neutralize them. Coming together in community also enables us to bring forth constructive solutions for change, from our hearts, for future generations.
I also encourage you to find gratitude for how wonderful we have it in this country and let gratitude be the internal compass that guides you. According to Richard Rohr, neuroscience says it takes at least 15 seconds of focused contemplation of joy for it to imprint. Because we have a propensity for negative thought, gratitude takes deliberate practice.
Before I close, I would like to bring forth a little bit more information. We all have different belief systems of what all of these issues mean to “we the people” of this country. I ask that we embrace the idea of coming together in order to connect to solutions that tend to divide us for the sake of caring for the freedoms of future generations as well as a sustainable planet to inhabit. If you are interested, I have some research information with respect to the Electoral College and Standing Rock — the Dakota Access pipeline. In addition, I provided information about climate change for you to explore below.
Many of you do not know this, but I am also an Environmental Scientist and the research is sound…climate change is real. I know that climate change is a trigger for many people, but I cannot be complacent about this. There is a great documentary about climate change that Leonardo DiCaprio put together that is entitled: “Before the Flood.” It is extremely well done and it contains solutions such as a carbon tax and ways to reduce our carbon footprint. You may view it on National Geographic for free, if it is in your TV channel programming, by entering in your account information. For now, it is still playing on YouTube and, hopefully, it will remain there for viewing. The National Geographic Channel is also featuring a series aired on Wednesday evenings entitled, “Years of Living Dangerously.” There are many episodes and here is the first one of them. Again, you may access full episodes, if you have the Nat Geo channel in your programing on http://www.nationalgeographic.com.