Sophie Says: All the Mornings After

By Sophie Silverstone

Post-election awakening.

Wednesday morning, November 9, 2016

Caught in the worry about the future of America and Planet Earth last night. But this morning I woke up. Like the kind of ‘WAKE UP AMERICA’ I’ve been feeling towards Trump supporters, non-voters and third party voters lately, but instead I felt it about myself. It was like waking up from a convincing dream that seemed so real, until you really wake up, and you think to yourself, “How did I think that was reality?”

I woke up to this deeper need inside me to to protect the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness for all, regardless of their race, class, sexual orientation, gender, country of origin, education or intelligence level.

Our champion is gone. Obama, the first black president, after all the good he fought for, all the hate that he met with calm dignity, will no longer be our champ.

The powerful woman figure, the one who withstood candidacy in the most brutal election season in U.S. history, is not going to become our next champion and first woman President.

We have to be our own champions now.

We rise to the occasion. We stand up to the bully.

I’m not talking about Trump. Trump is just the stand-in, an actor, a symbol for the greater essence of fear and hate when given power. The media made him seem big, but he is just a 70-year old orange man with a toupee. He’s a reality TV goon who knows how to play up drama, and has been typecast into the role of the bully, the misogynist boss. And the Donald’s been playing it well. The more we believe his role, the more power it feeds into our consciousness. I think he’s really just one reflection of a deeper thing that troubles us on a more profound level than the worries about what’s going to happen to the environment, our economy, our foreign policy, our healthcare, our education system, and most of all, our rights.

It’s the crippling fear. The belief that we are paralyzed by this dark side of humanity and that we are just going to have to hide away and fend for ourselves is what is really threatening us. The angry isolation, resorting to violence, unfriending people who don’t agree with you, the divisiveness—it all plays into the bully’s plan. It feeds into our fear.

We’ve seen what happens when we give energy and attention to this dark power. One reflection of that dark power is now our President.

I woke up to the fact that the more we vilify Trump, the more villainous he becomes. He is not the dark power that he symbolizes. If we can separate the two, maybe we’ll get somewhere in our day to day life. Feeling upset, fear and anger towards those we deem “wrong” does nothing for us.  Fear is a scar on part of the collective consciousness that perpetuates hatred. Pain buys into fear, which feeds anger. Whatever the pain is, it won’t be healed with hate. “Only love can do that,” said Martin Luther King Jr. It might take a long time.

I woke up to the fact I can’t wake up tomorrow the same way ever again. I will wake up with a deeper purpose to help, understand, and elevate others’ journeys and therefore elevate our collective journey. I can’t wake up tomorrow and mistake my ego, my issues, my problems for excuses to lose control and intentionally cause pain for someone else or myself. I can’t wake up tomorrow and not care about someone else who is in pain. We really aren’t so separate. We’re all different aspects of one consciousness. Our pain is their pain; their pain is ours.

There will be days when I don’t want to accept this. There will be days when I don’t want to change my routine in order to stand up for what’s right. There will be days when it is inconvenient to embrace someone I strongly disagree with. There will be days when being a woman will make me feel fearful of unconscious, hate-wielding, pain-bearing people in power.

But patient love is our shield and our sword, our secret weapon, our… well, opposite of a weapon. Just the way we word a magic solution to our problems, “a secret weapon,” implies we need a tool capable of causing pain, a tool that causes fear and intimidation. A tool that kills. Our society is overly prescribed to, and addicted to pain-killers. What about pain healers? We need tools capable of healing, not killing. I think love and joy are those tools.

We must forgive each other when we forget these tools and help each other to remember. Let others remind you, let others awaken you. It’s okay if you’ve fallen asleep, but wake back up again, and you’ll get better at it.

I realized this for myself. It was humbling.

I wanted to scream and cry on the  morning of November 9, 2016. I was overtaken by fear and anger. I couldn’t understand why “they” hadn’t woken up. I hated them for it. I wanted them to feel pain. I wanted to shake them, yell at them.

It’s ordinary to assume that the person telling someone else to “Wake up” is already awake. Wrong, as someone would say.

I guess I was the one who was still asleep.

Sophie Silverstone is CATALYST’s community development director, and the daughter of John deJong, whose column usually appears in this space.

This article was originally published on December 1, 2016.