“Look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now! History is happening!”
This line is from the smash Broadway sensation, Hamilton, about the life of one of the Founding Fathers of this country, Alexander Hamilton. In this scene, Hamilton’s wife is marveling at the incredible opportunity it is to be alive at such an incredibly exciting time as the founding of the new country of the United States.
While these past few months certainly have been filled with unprecedented chaos and difficulty in the US political arena, it is also a time ripe with historical impact. The founding of this nation brought bloodshed, war, fear, and uncertainty. Change never comes easily. Similarly, we are here at the precipice of an unprecedented election whichever way the vote turns out. Either our country is about to elect our first woman president – 92 years after women earned the right to vote, or we are about to elect a candidate with no political experience or track record whatsoever. Whatever your political leanings, toward the Democratic or Republican candidate, I hope you will step back and recognize that we are in the midst of making history!
Look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now.
People across the globe have been shocked, shaken and dismayed at the tenor of this political climate. Name-calling, accusations, slurs, and slams have become the norm on both sides of the political spectrum. When the debates demonstrate such rancor that I won’t allow my 11-year-old son to watch them, it is a clear sign that things in our nation have gone astray.
I have thought a lot about what is happening in our country – the racism, sexism and deep divide that has emerged. From the “ground level,” this seems like a horrible turn in our nation. From a higher perspective, consider that what is happening is that we are evolving as a society to a higher rather than lower level of relatedness and consciousness. I know that seems hard to fathom but bear with me.
Think about any time in your life that you grew to a new level of consciousness. Maybe you changed a habit that no longer served you, or you took on being more patient and loving with someone you have had difficulty. When you tried to make a large-scale change, you probably didn’t move with seamlessness and ease into the new, higher state of being. No, you likely struggled, had to confront your more painful thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. What if the same thing is happening with our country right now? What if what we are seeing is our nation moving to a higher state of consciousness and what is present now is what needs healing?
A lot of healing needs to occur in “the soul of America. ” We are the generations who have the privilege and opportunity to live through and create this epic time. The question is how we will create it. The more we bring fear and division in our conversations and our inner world, the more we are adding to the lower energies. The opportunity before us is rich, powerful and amazing. Look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now. We are making history and change is not always uneventful, smooth and organized.
The best way for us to respond individually is to borrow a practice from Gandhi. When faced with a social ill that was unlike what he envisioned for the world, Gandhi would silently say, “I am that,” and seek to remove that quality or characteristic from his consciousness and eradicate it from his relationships.
We can borrow from that practice as we move into this enormously exciting historical week. When you meet people whose views do not reflect your values, look to see where in your heart that you are building walls instead of bridges to another, where are you being less than accepting, less than loving, less than peaceful. Then with deep resolve, seek to remove from your character the things you dislike in “the other.” The famous Gandhi quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world” is no more pertinent than it is today, this week, this historic (and challenging) time.
Look around, look around, how lucky we are to be alive right now!