Since the night of the presidential election, as I offered final slices of homemade pizza and watched the tenor of the room change, there hasn’t been much else on my mind. I’m embarrassed to admit that I stopped reading the news for a week, at least. I did NOT want to write about the election, about the lead up or the final results. I was in emotional and mental overload of facts, headlines, opinions and angry words.
It’s been over a month since the election. I still go to yoga, write emails at work and drink with friends. The–shall I say–trepidation about the present and curiosity about the future still lingers in my mind. Every conversation could, if pushed, tumble in an avalanche of recent articles and fierce opinions. With events like the unfolding horrors of Aleppo and unchanging concerns about America’s impoverished, I try to reposition myself and keep each passing object in context of the larger whole.
This December, my roommates purchased a fake Christmas tree for our living room. As a rule of thumb, I hate artificial trees. I hate their perfect symmetry and the lack of earthy piney scent. I miss artfully appointing the tree to hide a large blemish or crawling on my belly to pour water into the base. But my opinion changed when I came home after work to see a stunningly beautiful tree, shinning and decorated, in my living room. The pre-lit branches gave off a soft glow and if I concentrated really hard, I could also smell the pine needles and open air.
In politics as in my own home, I’m trying to keep an open mind.
Months ago, while inspecting some withered herb plants indoors, my mother informed me of the importance of airflow. Air movement replicates the wind or a breeze, she said and the stem of the plant learns to resist and grow strong. Without such resistance, small stalks hang limp and the soil’s moisture becomes a breeding ground for unwanted mold and blight. Even the healthiest seedling cannot thrive in a stagnant environment.
We, the people of America, are simply a garden of seedlings. We cling to what we know, resist those who challenge us or shame our beliefs. There is no breeze of opposition. We fight to grow strong amidst stagnant thoughts and fear of the other.Our news sources act as mirrors, reflecting what is already in our own minds to be regurgitated for anyone who will listen. In this way, we will never achieve our full potential or reach the top of the canopy. In this way, we have already begun to rot.
I have STRONG beliefs and STEADFAST convictions. More times than I care to admit, I fight others to prove I’m right even if the reason becomes clouded or lost. While there is nothing wrong with holding tight to our beliefs, we must allow our ideas to be tested and tried. Those who are not challenged grow lazy. If we believe in power of free will, should we not exercise that power to choose and question every day?
Listen to all voices. Fight for good. Be true to others and patient with yourself.