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“Harry was Voldemort, and Voldemort was Harry”

I’ll be honest: my candidate was out of the running after the primaries, which may be one reason that I’ve been feeling a bit detached from the aftermath of the election. Not apathetic, but detached.

I did vote my conscience, and I did not “cast a protest vote” nor “throw my vote away.” You will read this sentence based on your own reality, which will give you your own interpretation of it. And that is okay—this is not meant to be a political post although the impetus for writing it certainly comes out of the election.

As a health coach, part of my work is to simply hold a safe space for clients to process what they are going through—to let them speak and view their emotions and actions with curiosity rather than judgment (my own and theirs).

In my life, I have people I love at both extremes of and all along the political spectrum. Since the election, I’ve had several clients, past and present, check in. I’ve watched family, friends, and colleagues on both sides process it as well.

In my detachment, I’ve been most struck by the mudslinging by both sides at each other before and after the election and by the equally vitriolic words the losing party has hurled at third party voters and women who supposedly betrayed their sex.

I’ve often heard guides and teachers speak about the idea that we often criticize in others what we most dislike about ourselves. The result? We divide our inner selves into “good” and “bad” thoughts/feeling/actions, and this dichotomy is then what we bring to the world: we divide it into us/them and self/other.

Embrace what you don’t like…and consider the possibility…that there is something within you…that wants to be embraced…so that it can then return to love.

Panache Desai

As someone who has worked in the nonprofit world—religious and secular—I have often thought about “the other” as being radically different from myself, whether in degree of privilege, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc.

But rather than feeling that the election divided us further, I feel as though I’ve been shown how much we are the same: relatively privileged, female, white, cisgender, married with 2.5 children people raised in the Christian tradition in this country can feel unrepresented/voiceless.

You may disagree with them, you may ridicule them for feeling as they do, you may even question my sanity or unfriend me for saying this (I hope you don’t because you are all my teachers!), but the fact is, you cannot deny that this is how they feel.

Yes, there is the question of degree, and that is a gray area, a spectrum and not a dichotomy: we are inherently the same because we are on this spectrum.

“How can you be so calm?” has been asked of me several times this week and not always in a kind fashion.

I am a chronic student—an avid reader of books and a passionate fan of podcasts—and I can geek out about anything from neurochemistry to spirituality. I often recommend resources that particularly resonate with me to people who struggle with the same issues that I do, and this week I am moved to share something I listened to the day before the election.

This podcast comes from The Good Life Project and features Panache Desai. Irrespective of where you stand politically, if you are feeling ungrounded by what you view as your candidate’s success or failure, I offer you On Teachers, Triggers, Presence and Grace. (If you don’t have time for the whole hour—although I hope you do!—you can start at the 53:00 minute mark.)

May it bring healing if you’re hurting and/or inspiration if you’re asking, “What’s next?”