Opportunities and Challenges of Donald Trump’s Presidency

by Aysha Griffin on November 10, 2016

The world awoke to a surprising reality on Nov. 9, 2016, that a sleazy businessman – who has said and done the most outrageous, vulgar and hateful things – was elected the 45th President of the United States.

I wandered in a daze all day, under chilly gray skies, unable to focus. Everyone I passed seemed grim, as if a veil of sadness covered the usually sunny, colorful and friendly city. I felt I had entered a book I’d just published for a Young Adult author in Cuba about a cloudy city under the curse of a council of evil witches. I didn’t want to think what this might mean, but of course I knew – just as when I watched the Twin Towers fall – that today was a day that the universe changed.

Facebook friends from the U.S., Canada, England, Netherlands, Spain, Cuba and Mexico expressed extreme sorrow, anger, frustration, bewilderment, and reported even physical reactions like crying and vomiting. And then there were the voices for calm, hope, renewed commitment to values of equality, justice and freedom; and calls to actions of kindness and reconciliation.

What are the challenges?
brother and sister photoBesides the obvious of getting over our immediate reactions of shock, projections of the worst-case scenarios and commiserations of how badly we feel, we need to look out for one another. There are a lot of crazy and angry people who may feel they’ve been given carte blanche to vent. I don’t mean looking out for just our families and small circle of friends, but anyone who might be the victim of hateful or nasty words or deeds.

This same day, a petite blond woman friend was walking down the street, in our seemingly peaceful village of San Miguel de Allende, and a young Mexican dude screamed at her, “Regresa a su país!” (“Go home!”). She is home, a Mexican born and raised in San Miguel.

Anger is powerful, releasing all sorts of chemicals to the brain and body, like adrenaline and nonepinephrine, the same that are released when we feel threatened or unsafe; i.e., in fear. “… Our brains are wired in such a way as to influence us to act before we can properly consider the consequences of our actions. This is not an excuse for behaving badly – people can and do control their aggressive impulses and you can too with some practice. Instead, it means that learning to manage anger properly is a skill that has to be learned, instead of something we are born knowing how to do instinctually.” (From the “Physiology of Anger“)

We need to overcome our fears, old friends photorewire our thoughts and feelings by imagining and actively creating best-case scenarios. This stimulates all sorts of positive neurochemicals that let our bodies know it is safe to be expansive, to be creative, to love and be loved.

What are the opportunities?
For the “Tribe of the Kind and Conscious” – which you are by virtue of reading this – I think it means that we’re going to have to step up to the plate. It’s our turn at bat. How conscious are we really? How aware of the matrix? How willing to put aside our egos, our differences and our comfort zones?

All the years of practicing meditating, yoga, opening our minds and hearts, becoming vulnerable to feelings and aware of the difficulties of being human… now we get to put it to use in the world. Many of us are the elders, the ones who’ve lived through many battles – starting with our own demons. We’ve developed good communication skills, awareness and deep concern for the planet’s health and our own. We know a lot. And, most importantly, we know how to be kind, the meaning of compassion and the power of gratitude and love.

Everything is in crisis! So, how do you and I respond in a crisis? First-responders – those amazing EMTs, firemen, ER docs and nurses – are trained to know what to do, but their work usually involves a singular event, while the complexity of issues and real problems facing all life on earth is extraordinary. Never has the human race been at this point, and you and I are here. What will we make of this? What will we do now?

We could follow Garrison Keilor’s wry advice in today’s Washington Post OpEd piece: ” … let the Republicans build the wall and carry on the trade war with China and deport the undocumented and deal with opioids, and we Democrats can go for a long, brisk walk and smell the roses.” Or, we can exercise our passions, our wisdom and our hearts to collaborate, cooperate, believe in the power of kindness, compassion and love, and support one another in creating, as author Charles Eisenstein calls it, “The more beautiful world our hearts can imagine.” Why not? What better do we have to do?

If you saw yourself as a most-powerful being, what beautiful world would your heart imagine? Please leave a comment below.

beach at sunset, beautiful world

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

judith fein November 10, 2016 at 4:25 pm

You are a beautiful and deep soul

Donca Vianu November 10, 2016 at 7:40 pm

Thank you Aysha for this words of comfort. Not easy to find them now, and you succeed brilliantly!

kitty miller November 10, 2016 at 7:45 pm

You melt my heart and jump start my woman;s soul with your writing!

Patrice November 11, 2016 at 3:17 am

I thank you for your inspiration and kindness at this darkest hour. And tomorrow the sun will rise on our sadness and light will creep in through the cracks of our awareness.

Patrice Wynne November 11, 2016 at 3:19 am

Aysha, thank you for your words of inspiration and kindness at this darkest hour. And tomorrow the sun will rise on our sadness and light will creep in through the cracks of our awareness.

Aysha Griffin November 11, 2016 at 4:43 am

Patrice, Thank for reading, and your kind response!

Aysha Griffin November 11, 2016 at 4:43 am

Oh Kitty, you are such a beautiful spirit! Thank you!

Aysha Griffin November 11, 2016 at 4:45 am

Dear Donca, Thank you. They were written largely to myself – as perhaps all writing is – to calm my own soul. I am heartened that you found my words comforting!

Aysha Griffin November 11, 2016 at 4:46 am

Egualmente, hermana mia de mi corazón!

Tessa Bendelow November 11, 2016 at 2:39 pm

Dear Aysha, thank you I find your words comforting. Even though I am British, and live in the u.k I too am concerned, but your words have calmed away the concerns I had. Thank you.

devon November 11, 2016 at 3:10 pm

Thank you Aysha, These enlightened words are in the New Yorker..
“Now is the time to live by our beliefs. We cannot change what has happened We have lost nothing yet and gained the opportunity to practice non judgement, non aggression, patience, respect and forgiveness.
We live in a democracy in the midst of change. We can embrace the change or resist it but it will take its course. I surrender myself to the winds that are blowing through this country. I will not label them as good or bad but listen for the truth in the chaos and learn how to realize how much more we have in common than we do not. Us and them will only add to a divided country.
Practicing peace in times of conflict takes focus and commitment and love.”

Doug McDowell

Michael Wright November 25, 2016 at 2:33 am

I voted for Hillary, as did my two kids and four grandkids. However, politics is not my religion, so I don’t place strong faith in any positive or negative outcome. For me, taking a page from the Buddhists is important, in the sense that I’d rather not lament the past or dwell on an unknown future. Rather, after having recovered from my surprise at the Trump win, I continue to seek my personal balance as before.

Nevertheless, I did feel fulfilled by the demonstrations, in that my emotions were nicely represented by the passion of the young people on the streets. And I’m now keeping tabs on Bernie Sanders, who is calling for us to be vigilant in seeking social democratic principles and maintaining human rights.

Those are the things out there that inspire me “in the moment”.

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