Election 2016 Reflects Our Fear/Love Divide

Everyone today has some kind of stance on our upcoming presidential election—whether they’re Canadian or Russian or whether they are Americans who dislike all the candidates.

I too have a stance, though perhaps it’s somewhat different than those of others: I am curious to know how, depending on who is elected, our personal and collective spiritual growth will be affected.

Neither of the two frontrunners has a clear vision of what they’d like the country to look like, although the Republican candidate’s vision certainly feels more tangible as it plays into the fears of many people who believe they have been let down by dysfunctional governance—or lack of governance—and by a system that has eroded traditional livelihoods.

The other candidate feels as if she’s a kind of placeholder, a double or an understudy in a national drama and we’re just waiting for the lead actor to show up and take her place.

The Walking Wounds

But who wrote this script?

We did.

We’ve based it mostly on our reactions to what we hear, through various media and media personnel, who have their own interests, as well as on our utter lack of collective vision.

When I say collective vision, I mean an overarching idea of who we’d like to be and where that being might carry our doing.

I also empathize with our country: We are still so young and it can hard, while growing up, to see with crystal clarity what is needed, not only at the present, but into the future. We have lots of wounds—those we ourselves inflict, but also those of others who came before and which we re-enact.

Feelin’ Stuck-Stuck-Stuck

If I look carefully at the frontrunners, I see in them a similar sense of stuckness that I used to feel. I see it because it’s been part of my chosen modus operandi. They are stuck in different ways, but both are stuck. One repeatedly offers the same set of moves that play to fears; the other feels stuck in time—a space where women had to adopt, as much as possible, a male mindset and behave like men in order to get anywhere. (I distinguish between male and masculine. Each of us has masculine and feminine aspects whereas male/female are the outward appearance and expression of our gender.)

Some weeks ago, I was really upset with her on that count. Why can’t she take care of herself? I wondered. Why does she work herself into ill health? Why can’t she be a model for others? Then I realized that that behavior was helpful for her generation’s women. And I realized, too, that I have acted the same way far too often, feeling as if I had no choice but “do what you gotta do.” The recognition of my own choosing the same kinds of behavior as she does gave me greater compassion.

Likewise, I wonder how it is the other candidate has lived an apparent lifetime of wounding—wearing his wounds for all to see, acting on them, reacting to them, recreating them—and I’d like to take the running-scared parts of him and envelop those parts in my arms and say softly, You’re safe. You are safe.

That our people are so divided now feels symptomatic of many things: our own personal fragmentation as well as a distractedness for which many blame the media, thereby locating outside themselves the source of their pain, which is, in part, division from Self. At the root of all of it is fear, an abiding fear that stifles vision, that purports to keep us safe while reinforcing itself and allowing to “come true” all that is feared.

I can empathize with the doomsayers on both sides of the frontrunner divide. Some are taking up arms against possible unrest. But taking up arms is an action undertaken in fear. This period is a crescendo—and likely not the last to come—of the choices we’ve set in motion, the ones we are making now, and the ones we’ll make in the days, months and years ahead. We always have choice because we have free will: In every moment, we can choose fear or we can choose love. But the choice is ours.

Election as Inflection

This is election as inflection. Who we choose will symbolize where we stand with respect to our personal and collective evolution. One or the other leading candidates, depending on where we are on our growth curve, may offer a speedier path.

In some ways, we need more speed right now. In other ways, we don’t. If we are caught up in speed because we feel we’re in a race against everyone else to reach some given point—what point?—faster than others, lest there not be enough for us, then that is fear at work. If we are eager to grow spiritually, then perhaps we can use the speediness of the times we are living in to choose instead a measured pace as a way of life, one in which we take time daily to give thanks for all that is, including all we are—for being alive at this time, in this gorgeous Earth and to be able to do the real work, which is mending the separations and divisions that we feel.


Aspy Bay sunrise, Neil’s Harbour, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada, September 2016



I’ve wanted many times in my life to hit a pause button on our national tick-tock, and get everyone listening and then, once they’ve mastered that skill, talking. First, it would be critical to lead people in meditation, so they can hear with great clarity the small, yet ever-present, voice inside, the one that sees them as a being through which something larger, something generous, kind, and loving seeks to emerge. Their true Self, in other words, the unconflicted them who knows it is love and acts only in love.

It does matter who we choose on November 8. But it is just as important to begin to understand that whoever we choose will not solve our issues. It is impossible for any president to solve issues. At best, perhaps he or she can help create the environment where issues can be resolved.

When it comes down to it, it is up to us: elites all, by virtue of the fact that we’ve chosen to be here, in this marvelous place at this time, that we can choose to benefit the growth of our Spirit, that we can choose to let go of the past and previous, outmoded patterns that don’t serve us and allow ourselves to expand into uncharted territory and to go there in love.


A Time for Letting Go

Autumn is an especially good time to assess where we’ve been and where we are. Doing this sets the stage for winter, the go-inside time, a time for dreaming and breathing new visions that can come to fruition in the coming months or years.AutumnLeaves

The assessment process is akin to psychic closet-cleaning: Does this attitude still suit me? Would I look (and feel) better if I integrated this particular state of mind into my mental/emotional wardrobe? The fact is, sometimes we have to make room for the new by first getting rid of the old.

But just like cleaning out the closet, some psychic clothing is hard to get rid of. It’s like finding a toy from childhood in the box way over to the side on the back shelf. It is still there, taking up space. And while it may signify in ways, a better, less complicated time of life, it still begs the question: Why am I hanging on to this?

For me, mental/emotional downsizing has been an ongoing process. What amazes me most is that, based on the majority of the people I’ve met over the years, we all have a natural inclination toward growth. Growth can be quite uncomfortable—just ask any 10-year old with growing pains!

To a great extent, plants can help us to better align with our soul’s purpose here—both the general human purpose, which is to be about love for one another—as well as the specific purpose and purposes for which we exist. Whether we simply sit with plants and sketch them and note what feelings arise in us as we do, or whether we take them internally as medicine, they can help strip away some of the strictures (either self-imposed or the deep-seated kinds that are inherent in old family or ancestral patterns—sometimes they are one and the same!) and enable new pieces of ourselves to land on fertile soil and germinate and take root.

I’ve written about agrimony before and its potential for helping to free us from the drama triangle—neither persecutor, nor victim, nor rescuer be! But other plants—those that can help us to “process” our experiences and work through our body’s excretion pathways (liver, kidneys, bladder, lungs, intestines, lymph, and skin) can also be helpful, because experience, which represents all of our interfacing with the world around us, also gets processed through these paths of excretion.

Although using plants is seldom a one-for-one, this-for-that endeavor, if we check in with ourselves and know what we’ve been feeling the previous season or months, we may have a better handle on which plants to look to. For example, anger is the realm of the liver, so bile-stimulating plants (dandelion root, burdock root, yellow dock as well as the yellow bitters, such as Oregon grape and goldenseal)Goldenseal berrying may be helpful. On a physiologic level, these herbs help to promote digestive secretions, so actually can help us to better digest our food. Anger, which can throw us into sympathetic-dominant mode, makes it hard for us to digest our food, which is why it’s best not to eat when we’re angry. But given all the anger-causing potential of our culture, people can experience low-grade anger for long periods of time—and that can depress digestive function.

Many medicinals are diuretic, but typically spare minerals, unlike synthetic diuretics, which can deplete potassium and others. In Chinese medicine, the kidneys are where one’s essence is stored and are also the seat of fear. So, if you check in and have been feeling a lot of fear in recent months, certain plants may help you process that energy. Nettle leaf, dandelion leaf, plantain leaf—these are all mild herbs and taste pretty good, too. Nettle is specifically tonic and nutritive for the kidneys.

Many other plants provide both physiologic and energetic effects to those who take them. Of course, intention is everything and that’s why it’s nice to approach any use of plants with intention—whether the intention is to resolve a specific issue and heal or just to feel more secure in ourselves. Volumes can and have been written about plants as medicines and plants as energy workers. If you have questions about using plants in either of these ways, you can always e-mail me at artofearth at yahoo dot com.

And for people who are on medications that may prevent them from using alcohol extracts or teas, there are a whole host of flower essences they can use that work specifically on the energetic level and won’t interact with the pharmaceuticals.

This information is intended for educational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any particular condition. For help with specific conditions, consult a healthcare practitioner who is qualified to help you. If you want to use plant medicines as part of your healing process, consult an herbalist.