Guest Editorial by Jeff Burger, co-founder, Sacred Feminine Awakening

Many of us are in pain—even distraught—in the wake of the 2016 US presidential election. Those who see the victor as a poster child for civilization’s decline feel like they’ve had the rug of reality pulled out from beneath their feet.

Those who voted for the “winner” have also been suffering. Like many on various sides of the debate, they feel the troubling disappointment of an ineffective system. Many also feel misunderstood. And many feel they chose with trepidation a highly flawed candidate who was still somehow a better way forward.

People who didn’t vote abstained largely out of frustration, unable to endorse any outcome as viable.

Even the bigots, zealots, xenophobes and misogynists have been in pain—evidenced because their fears seem so palpable that they are driven to act them out. Given the winning candidate’s overbearing ego, we could also surmise that he, too, is in pain at the hands of massive insecurity.

Regardless of whom we voted for, all of us cast a ballot for change.

Change for something better than the pain we’ve been experiencing from a dysfunctional construct. Many just wanted a change—any change—from the angst that accompanies unfulfilled lives and broken political, economic, social and judicial systems.

Indeed, this entire drawn-out election season as been excruciating to ALL of us. We have collectively reeled from the anguish of the division all around us. Friends. Co-workers. Families. Why don’t “they” get it? We also find it hard to reconcile that we, with all our good intentions, are also “they” to others. Regardless of how we voted, in the end, the popular vote was still close enough that we shake our heads in dismay, wondering how our society can be that polarized.

There has also even been agonizing division within ourselves as individuals.

Few people feel completely in alignment with any one candidate, party, or platform. We have felt the stressful reality of compromising our personal ideals at best or choosing the lesser of evils—or frustrated abstinence—at worst.

magnifier-1714172This political process has also put a magnifying glass on the ugliest of our human traits, permeating our psyches with the hate, lies, slander, posturing, greed, manipulation, and more. There has been no escape, no safe harbor. Our TV screens, radios, newspapers and social media feeds have been relentlessly bombarding us at every turn. Adding insult to injury, today’s sensationalist mediascape—replete with thinly veiled manipulation—makes it difficult to tell fact from fiction.

Even if we finally resolved to turn it all off, the electoral anguish has hijacked our conversations around the water cooler, dinner table and even in the bedroom. No matter how much we try to hide our ostrich heads in the sand, human nature makes it hard to avoid rubbernecking when we’re constantly catalyzed to look.

At times the severe dysfunction and emotional charge of this political season has even called into question our human evolutionary potential and the vision of ever being able to live together in peace. It called into question our very ability to survive our foibles as a species.

No one I personally know voted for hate. No one I know voted for division. Life is messy. The founding fathers of this nation fought long and hard amongst themselves before rendering the compromise that is the Constitution.

So where does all this turmoil leave us?

Pain is perhaps the greatest catalyst for spiritual growth—whether you choose to define “spiritual” in the divine sense or simply personal betterment.

Here’s a question: If you did not vote for the winner, do you want to spend the next four years feeling your blood pressure rise every time you hear his name or see his image? If you did vote for him, do you expect to love all the machinations of the new government du jour? The same questions would still apply had the election results been different.

clasped-hands-541849_640If we don’t address our painful emotions consciously, they control us. This does not mean suppressing them or getting therapy. It means embracing our feelings themselves with love. This timeless wisdom—as embodied in The Holding meditation—continues to be the simple yet effective balm for what ails us regardless of how many new ways people find to inflict suffering on others.

Ultimately, we find peace by holding everything and everyone in compassion. Our neighbors. Our planet. Yes, even the next president—although that doesn’t mean we necessarily have to stand by idly in the face of principals and actions with which we may disagree. Most importantly, we have to hold ourselves compassionately in love. The only path to peace on a local, national or global level is through personal peace on the part of the masses as a whole.

Life is a study in imperfection.We can either lament that as a hopeless scenario fraught with relentless turmoil, or rejoice in the very perfection of imperfection. Part of the purpose of being conscious as a human is to grow, and we need those challenges of imperfection as catalysts.

heart-608787_640This entire election cycle has been a huge motivation for each of us to become leaders of our own minds and hearts-and rise as beacons radiating that example with an infectious brightness that can’t be ignored and illuminates the shadows. It is only through the resulting ripple effect that the human race can evolve to the place of peace to which most of us aspire.

In the short term, the only ones truly on the “losing” side of this election are those who do not seize this opportunity for personal and societal growth. It is not too late to cast the vote that matters most—the vote for love every minute of every day.