This post was orinally written in response to the 2016 American Presidential election.
My head hurts as I write this. My right temple is pulsating.
I awoke at 5 am to see the election results. I was quiet. Still. I felt like I was dropping slowly, as if without gravity, to the bottom of a deep well.
I cried uncontrollably for reasons so basic and universal that they lack words to describe them.
To witness unconsciousness and remain conscious ourselves is difficult.
To see crazy and not fight it with more crazy challenges our pride, our pain, and our hope.
We’re better than this.
The issue is not solely in the elected and the solution doesn’t lay exclusively with them, either.
It begins with us.
I felt scared this morning. I feel trepidatious this afternoon. I have a comedy class at 7 pm and all I want to do is roll up into a ball and be held by something more comforting than reality.
And what is reality?
What I see and feel on the surface is universal division.
The dominant belief that we’re different and that these differences need to be divisive. Then emphasized, magnified, and even fought for and in the name of.
That salvation from our pain is the result of “our” people — folks who maybe look, sound and complain similarly to us — coming out on top.
Despite the short-term comforts of such effort, divided still we will stand.
A house divided against itself cannot stand. That house, by the way, is made up of billions of human beings.
What pains me most is not who ran for office or who was elected as POTUS. It’s the division I see all around me. It’s feeling the hate, confusion, and sincere fear of millions of people within my body.
Why do we hold so tightly to our differences and the belief that someone f*cked us over?
More fiercely still, why do we cling to the notion that if we fight that someone, if we hate them, and create our own rigid identity structure in opposition to them, that we’ll be protected and maybe even win?
These wins are temporary and that which is born and made from division ends in division, which is the root of this strife we see.
We judge those who need help because we ourselves feel underserved. Our own pain is projected onto others as hate, ridicule, and anger.
I learned a long time ago it doesn’t make sense or make me happy to judge who deserves help and who doesn’t. Better to give equally in all directions.
When we monitor and fight for inches on moral high ground, arguing who deserves help and who doesn’t, it puts us in our lowest form. It goes in direct conflict with our good nature as spiritual beings.
Let us choose ourselves as leaders, first. Let us lead with good character, wisdom and kindness. @heylaurynbee (Click to Tweet!)
I don’t choose who I follow based on how much money and worldly power they have acquired.
I base my attention on the quality of one’s character. On honesty. On kindness. On creativity. On wisdom, which is different than intelligence.
I don’t swoon at the sight of legacies build at the expense of one’s health, our trees and oceans, our communities or self.
The ends do not justify the means.
Rather, I find inspiration from those who achieve worldly success in tandem with their spiritual nature. I trust people who listen to their inner voice as evidenced by how they move in the world.
You’re worth it. Ask for help. Be brave enough to feel good no matter the chaos around you.
I believe we chose this journey long before we’re born. Our opportunity is to see through the conflict in front of us and witness our true nature. To be in this world but not of it. To remember what is buried deep inside of us.
We come here with a purpose.
For some, your path will be to build new structures. For others, you will lead groups, organizations, and spiritual groups. For many more, you will be called to write, share, and detail your wisdom for others to learn from.
And for all of us, our path is to rise. To elevate. To become the most loving, authentic version of ourselves.
This self is beyond mind and beyond time.
I need not convince you of some story of how we got here. I simply hope to remind you that you’re here to lead your life in a way that honors your deepest self and all living things.
So take care of yourself.
Nourish your innermost parts.
And pray, in whatever form that takes for you, for love. For peace. For understanding. For harmony. For clarity. For that which brings us to our highest good.
And then listen.
Listen with open ears and a humble heart.
And be surprised by the eloquence of silence and the power of song that will rise up from inside of you.
We are magic.
All of us.
And we forget that and in the process do stupid things out of confusion, pain, and ignorance.
I don’t need to know you to love you.
…to care for your well being.
…to sense that you’re more powerful than you realize.
Go forward today with the belief that everything is happening for you.
That you have the power to make yourself feel better and to inspire others with even the tiniest of gestures.
That you matter, so, so much.
And that truly, we’re all in this together.
Lalita Ballesteros is a speaker, comedian, director, and the founder of Haus of Lala, a creative agency specializing in personal branding. She stands by the belief that your voice matters and that authentic self-expression is our most important work. In the past, Lalita’s disrupted the publishing industry with Seth Godin and The Domino Project (powered by Amazon) creating six best-sellers and raising over a quarter million in revenue in only four months. She also worked at the American Embassy in Rome, created a 6-figure Airbnb business, and oversaw ambassador efforts at Lyft. She speaks three languages and is a regular contributor for Positively Positive, a publication with over 2.5 million followers on Facebook. Lalita’s been seen on the stages of TEDx and Comedy Bary as well as in the pages of Fast Company, Etsy, Forbes, Yahoo Small Business, Mashable, and the best-selling book End Malaria. She currently lives in Toronto with her dog, Luna. Follow her writings and comedy here and #100daysofcomedy here.
Image courtesy of freestocks.org.