Creating Space on Election Day

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(Brittany Hosea-Small/KQED)

It is election day.  The day we have all been looking forward to and dreading at the same time.  We have been looking forward to it because this has been one of the most contentious elections we have seen in a very long time.  We are dreading it because we don’t know where we are headed as a country, and at the moment, we feel that we are completely divided along party lines.  Organizations across the country have felt the stress because, let’s face it, organizations are run by humans.  We have been focusing so much on the issues and arguments of the election that we have failed to leave space for human beings in our conversations.

Tensions are going to be running high today, and probably over the next couple of weeks.  Leaders need to be ready to create space for everyone to deal with their emotions.  One of the first things leaders need to do is be mindful of their own reactions.  You will react in some kind of way, and that is okay.  Be accepting of the fact that the national discourse does have an impact on you.  Once you have identified how you are feeling, be open to taking a breath and moving forward in a way that accepts your feelings and focuses on creating space for the people around you to do so as well.

It is really hard when you think that you should feel a certain type of feeling about the election, and the people around you may not feel the same way.  The current rhetoric has us thinking that we are an us vs. them society.  I believe that if we are mindful of the way we are feeling, and open to accepting that other people are having experiences just as intense as ours, then we can have supportive organizations that will move forward in a positive way post-election.  Mindfulness creates space for us to recognize what is going on with ourselves, our organization, and our nation.  Be mindful of what you are experiencing, and be open to recognizing that others are going through something as well.  Focus on being mindful, listening, and understanding that today is a day where we are united in exercising our freedom to vote, our freedom of ideas, and our freedom to support one another as human beings. Don’t vote wth fear, vote with mindfulness, and remember we are all human beings deserving of respect and compassion.

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