If I walk into a new boardroom, with strangers staring, words written on the whiteboard that are strange, I am searching the faces for a sign. I am scanning for some sign I’m safe here. Do they like me, am I welcome, am I in the right place?

I can be repelled by the offer of a coffee, because it’s not my habit. I am soothed and feel recognized when offered my favorite hot tea. I’m embraced  by each of their smiles. I’m wired to their shifting in discomfort. I sense the room’s atmosphere.  Maybe The whole group is soft and easy like I’ve been here before somehow. I can recognize the energy as familiar and if I have a gear I’m ready to be in, snap, nothing to it. I KNOW, I belong here.

What if I walk into that same board room, and I embody myself? I keep all my energy in myself, solid, whole. I don’t search for a sign of safety. I am safe in myself. I don’t look for comfort or seek a friendly face or a sign. I smile so much and am so comfortable in myself, the people around me who are comfortable smile in recognition. The nervous people are soothed. Anyone too nervous walks away, they can’t dampen my weather.

 I can observe, I like this room, I like the big windows, how enjoyable. Feels prickly? My how alert everyone is! 

I carry faith in myself. I hold solidly all my truth, broken and whole, in embracing acceptance. And then, when I walk in that new place, I accept them. I have faith in them. Belonging arises naturally. I already belong everywhere I go, I belong to myself. Now, in this new place, full of what they can’t offer or withhold, I am willing to allow them to belong to me.

The New Unity

I can walk down the street confidently, waving to all my neighbors equally, calm, smiling, saying hello to each.

I realized, the day of the inauguration, that as I walked and waved, I could see some neighbors were elated and bubbly. Some were subdued, quiet, unsmiling.

And I realized, I could see it, all around me. The blatant showing of which of us stood where, politically. This unmentionable topic, which keeps us raging on facebook and silent in our community.

I swallowed my eager, “Gosh isn’t today just the best day! Don’t you feel great? I am so optimistic!” I might offend. The other fifty percent is right there, in my neighborhood, and conversation over the lines is simply verboten.

Who talks politics? The people who are in a room with one type of person. We complain to our own kind. We share victories with our own kind. There isn’t space for more, yet.

We have to create that space. We are the leaders, at the grassroots level, who need to be willing to step into that uncertain place. To listen to our neighbors rant, have faith that there is more in the world than my view. I need to look thoughtful, and try to find some kind of tolerance. 

If we meet our neighbor from the opposite side of the aisle, and allow them to speak and hold our judgement for even ten minutes, a fascinating thing happens. 

All that nastiness online suddenly appears as what it is. Undisciplined disrespect. It is the rant of wild children. The most intellectual of it renders itself petty and childish.

I listen to the news and am suddenly aware of how it would offend my neighbor. Even powerful news media I have relied on for their impartiality, now discuss the facts of the days news and regress into emotional judgement, excluding fifty percent of the population.

How can we be united? 

We must allow that we can end the uncivil war.

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