I tried to facilitate a conversation on Expectations for this new cycle. I’d hoped we’d explore how Expectation was buoying us up or holding us back. To my surprise, people looked at me blankly. Psyches resistant to opening that door. What do we expect in this pre-election climate? For things to get worse. For our attention to be hijacked by the Tweeter in-charge, the TV personality skilled in outrage, manipulating the collective limbic system.
How do we get access to our empowering Expectations? Turning off the TV three hours before going to sleep is a good idea. Limiting our exposure to social media and email rants is a good idea.
But it’s also important to look for signs of life: People reporting good news – working for racial justice, for environmental justice, for economic justice. People in your neighborhood, in Ohio, in the US, in other countries. It’s important to decide on how you can be a catalyst for good news. How can you keep your heart open and your mind engaged? What do you have to learn to help? Who can you work with?
The greatest threat to democracy comes from people failing to trust in our social contract. It is alive and well. But we have to see it. And value it. And remember it.
And we are wired to remember only the negative. If someone tells us, over and over again that we cannot trust one another, we are wired to believe that lie.
The most important action for our spiritual well-being, our emotional and psychological well-being, for our democracy’s well-being, is to notice everyday acts of caring, kindness, connection, community, service, and justice.
They’re happening all around us. But they are not threatening, so we don’t even see them. We have to pause, in order to let them in. They will save our lives. And together, they and we can save democracy.