Election Svadhyaya (Self-study)

Election Svadhyaya (Self-study)

“You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty.”  – The Bhagadvad Gita

“Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.” – Zen Proverb

Bigotry, bullying and hatred was empowered last night.

As I drank my gin and tonic during the election results, I realized this is just what disempowerment wants. To deaden my senses, to say, “Don’t really feel this, don’t listen to this feeling, cause if I really feel this I’ll be forced to change, to deal with it.”

To be revolutionary, we must be all in. Face the reality with clear eyes. We cannot act if we have treated ourselves with such disrespect that it parallels the disrespect of our now president-elect.

As a woman, as a creator, environmentalist, yoga teacher, as a believer of the good in people, this election was a traumatic blow to me. And for both myself and my fellow humans and loved ones who are LGBTQ, people of color, otherly-abled, immigrants, muslims, Native/Indigenous Americans, refugees, those struggling with mental illness, and any other group marginalized, it was a night of trauma. Last night it was reinforced to all of us that one can be bigoted, homophobic, racist, hate and sexually assault women openly, rape girls, be a bully, and still get elected to the highest office in the land.   This is our land.

This is so deeply painful.

And this leaves me, and all of us with a choice: will you –

Love yourself radically.

Yes, we must come back to “love,” but not through platitudes on social media. But truly, deeply connecting with ourselves and MAINTAINING that connection. Learning to trust our worth and our voice and our majesty. We are queens and kings, all of us.

I mean everyone (read: not just cis-gendered white men and women).

Let’s be clear: there is no finish to this fight. It was probably only a white privilege to think that it would be “over” after the election, as people of color, LGBTQ, and so many others have had to fight for their lives and right to live equally and freely the entire history of this country and before that.

How do we take care of ourselves in the face of such bigotry when we are not in control of what is out there?

We are in control of what is in here. In ourselves. We are in control of what we listen to, what we feed in ourselves (mentally and physically), and how we act.

It is said that the microcosm (within ourselves) IS the macrocosm (the world and beyond). How we treat ourselves is how we treat the world, and that is directly reflected in the world around us.


Bigotry, bullying and hatred was empowered last night. This is a call to all of us to deepen our own self-empowerment to meet this challenge with action.

Love only trumps hate when it is used as a verb, when it is active and constant and inclusive.

Love doesn’t trump hate when it is only used for certain people or used only when it’s convenient.


We must empower ourselves to love all the time, love ourselves deeper and harder, love our imperfections, love our bodies, love our minds, feed them what is nourishing. Train yourself to LISTEN to and for LOVE.

We will see this love’s reflection in the world around us. Not because our love’s impact on the world is the “fruit” of our labor that we are somehow entitled to. This is not a case of cause and effect.

In this ferocious radical love of yourself, you will find that you love the other (everything you do not perceive as yourself), and by recognizing this love, you and it change.

Our work, our labor, is to listen to the love that is there, for ourselves and for others, honor and respect that love, know that we are worthy of that love, and choose to act from that place.

Our world needs us. Like majorly needs us. All of us.  And what’s more, we need our world. To be there for us and sustain us as climate shifts, as currents change, as weather patterns change, as crop patterns change, as human migration changes due to these changes.

If we shut down, who is going to do the work that needs to be done?

This is a call to action. As there have been many calls to action before. Get together. Support one another. Talk, listen, reach out, get involved, listen, listen, listen. Heed the word and calls for aid of your fellow human. Listen, love, act.

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