So, let’s talk politics. (LOL! I can’t believe I even just said that!) Think of your preferred presidential candidate. What are three things you admire, respect, or honor about them? Now, think of that other candidate—the one you can’t stand. What are three things you really hate about them? Okay, now before we jump into a debate about it all, consider this…


Everyone truly is pretty multi-dimensional, with good and bad characteristics, things hidden from us, from themselves. So what we see or claim about them is necessarily only a part of what exists. What I will suggest is that what we see is really mostly determined by our own filters and focus. So when we go back to our lists about what we admire and hate, what we see is not necessarily the truth about the candidates, but the truth about ourselves—about our filters and our focus, about what is important to us, what we value. I’ll even take it a step further, and say that when what we see in others comes with a strong emotional charge, then it is reflecting something going on within us too. And usually the stronger the emotional charge, (the more we are triggered,) the less likely we are acknowledging that issue or characteristic going on within our own self—both good and bad.


If we want there to be more civility, more acceptance, more compassion, more healing in our political discussions, it might be helpful to start bringing the acceptance and compassion to ourselves first.


So, on the hero side, where can you claim the power, the grace, the wisdom in your own life that you are seeing in someone outside of yourself, such as a favored political candidate? How would that change your actions, your responsibility, your life if you could acknowledge those things in yourself? What is one step you can take to embody that gift? What act of service can you do to positively impact your life, your community, our world?


On the villain side, can you look at yourself with eyes of compassion to see where some of the negative characteristics you see in “the other” might be reflections of yourself? It might be difficult to accept. You may be saying, “I would never treat someone else that way!” And that may be true. So look deeper. Do you ever treat yourself that way? Is that the way that critical, negative voice in the back of your mind speaks to you? Hmmm. Can you hold space to accept that this might be your truth too? Can you find forgiveness and compassion for yourself? Let’s look even deeper. If you find some truth in this, ask yourself, “Why would I do this?” You are likely to find that this negative voice, attitude, or behavior is there to protect you or serve you in some way. Can you acknowledge the intent to meet some need—however unskillfully it may have shown up? Can you honor the need that is there in you? At this point, you may be able to look for a better way to serve yourself, to meet that need.


Now, armed with these insights into our self, into our shadow self, let’s step back into the political discussion—with more wisdom, more grace, and more compassion. Realize that you can claim your own power. Step into your greatness. Use your gifts to create a world you dream of—a world of peace, equality, well-being and justice for all. Don’t wait and rely on just the right leader to do it all for you. Even if your candidate doesn’t win, you can still create the change you are hoping for. And realize too that on the other side of the debate is someone who has a legitimate need or perspective they are trying to meet. If you can’t agree on their methods or perspective, look deeper to find a core issue you can honor. From there you can build a bridge of mutual respect so that you can consider working together to create a world that works for everyone.


As we bring love, compassion and healing to ourselves, we will anchor that energy in ourselves and the earth, and will be able to radiate it out to create loving, compassionate, healing change into the world through our thoughts, words, actions, and being. That’s how we can be the change we want to see in the world.