This is one of the spectacular views I drive past every day in Gilmanton, New Hampshire, where I am working for the Obama campaign. It reminds me about the big view. Today was a day that I needed to take a big view.
While canvassing, I went to a house and knocked on the door. I heard a lot of barking and yelling and the door was yanked open by a purple faced woman who released a very excited boxer. WHAT!? she said. I said hello my name is Paula and I am with the Obama campaign how are you today. NO OBAMA NO OBAMA, she yelled and pulled the dog inside and slammed the door.
My insides did a sort of queasy stagger as I walked away toward the next house. I felt like I had had a toxic overload and couldn’t quite find my breath. My first impulse was to say to myself, it isn’t you and it isn’t personal. Then I wanted to cover myself with white light or take a hot bath. I realized that I was trying to run away from the experience. I was trying to push it away, which was actually just bringing it closer. So I just welcomed it. I welcomed all the wrath and the indignity and all the stories about her and myself and all the things that it could possibly mean and all my own feelings including wanting to erase her from the earth. I felt somewhat better.
Then I asked myself if I could just see through all of that, just see what was on the other side. And there was the brilliant sun illuminating the leaves, the sparkle of light on some flowers at the next house, and my own quiet breathing. And like that I dropped the whole thing.
I learned to do this when I was studying the Sedona Method. It is a way to release. It is a way to take a wider, bigger view, instead of shutting myself in a closet with all that reaction and resistance.
Politics seem to ignite some of the worst impulses in humans. It becomes personal, acrimonious, angry, irrational. It is because it is about dividing, not uniting. That is the close up view. One bigger view is that the political process is in fact a process of individuation that we are doing as a people, as a tribe, as a nation. We are growing, and our bones hurt. Unfortunately, whipped into the mix, the mess, is the necessity of sorting truth from lies, generous intention from craven greed. That is the confusing part of the growing pains we feel, and the part that splits us from each other, rather than helping us to find each other in friendship, in kindness.