Post Election Reflections from Shalem Leaders
In light of the dismay and fear many are sensing this week, we wanted to share a few brief remarks from Shalem leaders in the wake of Tuesday’s election results.
In my wrestling with the election results, I sense we will certainly need to seek deep contemplative grounding to live faithfully through these next four years. I find inspiration from Constance Fitzgerald’s work on the Dark Night of the Soul, and her applications of it on the personal, relational, and societal levels. I trust that God is at work in this Dark Night, in ways we do not see. I am so glad to be working with you all at this moment when we are living in a divided nation and need to heal. Thank you for being who you are, and for your commitment to the contemplative path, which goes so much deeper than political divisions.
I believe that our contemplative practice offers us the ability to stay grounded and listening in the midst of turmoil, chaos and division. We know that the Divine is truly holding us and all humanity and creation with love. I also feel an invitation and challenge to be courageous and step more deeply into MY wise, compassionate and loving leadership. I intend to listen for what that may be, daily if possible. I want to be bold for Love!
Thank you all for sharing your pain, hope and sense of the value of our community together in the face of this election result. My sense of helplessness and dismay about the social/political future for years ahead of us now truly is a social dark night, and my need to trust that the Spirit will be at work in unknown redeeming ways, as it was in the helplessness and dismay of the Passion story, which led to both a moral/spiritual cleansing and redemptive resurrection of Love at the Center, and a consequent new community energized by that Love and its fresh possibilities of evolving the kindom of heaven on earth.
There are so many unleashed demons for the Spirit to tame in the years ahead—I hope I’ll be empowered to stay close to that Spirit and do my part in the taming/transfiguration of the demons as the call comes, including the taming of my own rage, mourning and forebodings in the face of what’s happened. I so want calm, confident trust and wise love to reign, inside and out. God’s strength and courage to us all.
I find that my one word prayer this morning is ‘resolve.’ I also find I am grateful for spiritual community, and will seek ways to strengthen and grow circles of compassion, trust, resolve, deep presence.
As I have prayerfully reflected on the results of Tuesday’s election, several questions have come to mind and become a daily examen for me to consider. Can I trust that God’s loving, liberating, new life is in process in our nation even when outcomes look so different than I had hoped? Will I be able to loosen my grip on my own perspective enough to notice what I have missed or ignored so that I can see with the depth and breadth of contemplative awareness? Will I be able to hold the new President in prayer for at least some of the time? Will I be steadfast in my prayer and action on behalf of those who may suffer as a result of this transition? Will I listen for and honor what is mine to do as a result of this potentially dramatic change in our nation and our world? I pray for God’s strength, wisdom, patience, peace, and love in the face of these challenges.
I am also encouraged by Hillary Clinton’s speech this morning, taking the high road of confidence in our country and affirmation of the value of pursuing what is right. She quoted scripture as a final word: let us not grow weary and let us not lose heart. I led a retreat on darkness this past weekend. The themes of trusting the darkness as a place of fecundity, rooted in faith and the new cosmology, and daring the dark resonate so well in these threshold times. I am grateful to be on the contemplative journey with all of you.
After despair last night, curiously I felt relief this morning. I remembered Parker Palmer’s definition of contemplation – “anything that punctures illusion.” And it seems we have been living in illusion for a long time. Now we can see more clearly what the work is and pray to embrace the possibilities of this moment. In some deep way, I feel energized and even more committed to the work we are doing together. Love and blessings to all of you as we continue to live into this new reality.
Needing a break? A personal retreat? Consider Shalem’s online retreat day, Holy Interruptions, a self-led retreat day with material cultivated by the late Ann Kulp, designed to open you to a deeper awareness of daily moments of sacredness. You may register here for the retreat day here, and you will have access to the material immediately.
And may this chant written by Gerald May and performed by Christy Berghoef be a gift to you today: