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Posted by Michael Finkelstein | December 12th, 2016

While the election is over, IT’S not over.

The election result is an actually a reflection of a deep wound that exists now; a rift, that might have been partially healed, that is pulling apart once again.

Just like a wound on your little finger, it’s quite sensitive; and it’s once again prone to infection and worse if it’s allowed to fester.

In this case, there is a lot more to it, because the wound is not a physical one, but a cultural moment of reckoning. As Rob Reiner put it, perhaps what we’re experiencing now is the last battle of the Civil War. Whichever side you’re on, you realize there is a great divide, the undercurrent for which has been conveniently hidden under layers of salve in the form of riches and rhetoric. You see, it’s easy to stick with the status quo when you’re “fine,” and it’s easy to throw stones at the elite who prevent you from getting there. Neither, though, thoroughly addresses the bilateral tendency to see the “other” as the reason for the discomfort or the self-righteous justifications that place violence ahead of peace. While there are differences, as we’ve heard from the wise ones, it’s the similarities that bind us. It’s what we have in common that can finally bind this wound, now that it has been unroofed.

And this is not merely an academic subject, one for the history books. It’s not simply a matter of politics. It’s deeply personal, because on an individual level, none of us can be healthy if we are not collectively whole. You see, the word “health” actually comes from the root haelen which means whole. In other words, there is no such thing as health without wholeness. And wholeness is inclusive of not just how our bodies are doing, but how are bodies, our minds, our families, our neighborhoods (local and global), and our relationships to each other and to the planet are doing. This is the essence of Slow Medicine as I have spoken about before. Until all beings are completely free of suffering, none of us are!

So we need to learn to listen now and see the other as part of that whole. We are at a perilous crossroads for sure, and the anxiety that I sense all around, on both sides, is this: it really matters now, because we have the means to self-destruct really fast. The forces that led to the election of the non-polished, apolitical, wolf in wolf’s clothing, (as elucidated by Charles Eisenstein in a recent essay), as controversial and unsavory a figure as the man himself is, may be providing us with the best opportunity we’ve had in decades to confront a harsh reality. It’s time to finish the unfinished business that remained despite the great strides achieved in the abolishment of slavery more than a hundred years ago and the civil and gender rights movements ongoing.

As the days we call holy come into view, we are reminded in very vivid terms that a seeping wound requires attention. The salve now required from my perspective is to fully consider “the other” view – the remnants of social inequality that include but also transcend race and gender and this new reality that has exposed a working middle class that has felt left out — to restore empathy for a shared humanity that exists on either end of the spectrum and throughout. The challenge is to accept differences while honoring the common bonds that place us on this planet at this time.

There is a lot of work to do. It begins in your heart and home. Love to all!

Mitakuye Oyasin,

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