It’s been a year of extremes. Extreme weather, fires, scandals, and ideological and political divides. A tumultuous year of unrest and worry. A year of outspokenness and unprecedented activism. And it was a year of incredulity with a surprising winner in the U.S. presidential race which thrust the world into a collective panic attack.
We need to have this conversation because, at it’s core, Hope Café honours and celebrates hope and humanity. Mental health professionals everywhere, including myself, witness firsthand the impact of the Trump effect on the well being of individuals and families. The fear is ever present and perpetuated by his unpredictability. We can’t just ignore the realities of a changing world. But how do we navigate our way through?
We are being called upon to extract the gifts from the rubble. Like miners of gold and jewels, the time has come to sift through what is not worthy and cherish what is. What is worthy of my time, energy and attention? This is the question we need to ask.
We have lost our complacency and found our voice. We have been pushed far beyond our comfort zone into ominous terrain and reminded that we can’t take anything for granted, including the reassurances that should come from living in a democracy. Good thing we’re tough. There’s a new wave coming and it’s mobilized by exasperation. This is a critical time and we get to live it and influence it.
“Me a rebel?” you may ask. Yes, absolutely. You a rebel.
And your rebellion may be far removed from the U.S. political scene. Maybe you start to speak up for the first time when members of your family say or do things that cross your value system. Don’t underestimate how much courage this takes for some, as it can destabilize the entire dynamic and threaten one’s acceptance in the family system. Or perhaps there is a lack of pay equity in your workplace so you decide to express your concerns and ask for what you want and know you deserve. Maybe you have concerns about a proposed ten story development in your neighbourhood so you sign your name to a petition, write letters, and attend a town hall meeting.
How do we tap into our peaceful rebel? We take anxieties and frustrations and channel them into some kind of action, any kind of action, no matter how small. Why do we need to do this? Because if we don’t the anxieties and frustrations fester and lead us to feel powerless when we are not powerless at all.
If you are fortunate enough to live in the free world this time is a reminder that we each have a voice and the right to express it, even at the risk of displeasing others. We can stand up for our own basic rights and the rights of others and we can do this quietly or we can do it loudly.
And we need to listen to the voices of others, too. No matter how difficult this may be. It broadens our understanding and expands our world view. Which makes us more informed as we launch our peaceful rebel into action.
Action can take the form of pen, words, or picket signs but it can also manifest itself as an internal process, too. For example, the discomfort that has emerged from U.S. politics has broadened our awareness, thinking, and conversations, too. Status quo is dead and tough as this may be, it’s made room for something better – more critical thinking and conscious living. We’ve had to examine our core values and ask if they fit with the choices we’re making, including with relationships in our lives. This means we are living life with intention. And living life with intention is the best life we can live.
Another benefit to all this turmoil is that the media industry has been turned on its head. The extensive coverage given to Trump over the years, both prior to and during his presidential run, paved the way for his victory to the Whitehouse. Some media players are scrambling now to save their credibility. They are upping their game, thereby delivering us, the consumer, sharpened journalism.
This is a critical time to take care of ourselves and each other. To savour the simple things in life that ground us and bring us joy. Make time for quiet self-reflection, nature, and meaningful connections with others. To play and have fun. Link arms, open hearts and put our heads together. Say no to hate and yes to love.
The past year or so has planted the seeds for millions of peaceful rebels in the world and now is the time to sow those seeds. Whether it’s a whisper or a roar, let’s see what happens when we unleash our inner rebel to create a better life for ourselves, our families, and the common good. These are exciting times. If we give love a voice, love will win.
Join the conversation at Hope Café by adding your comments below. Are you a peaceful rebel? We’d love to hear from you.
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Donna Sales is a Registered Psychologist and writer living in Calgary, Canada. She is the founder of Hope Café.
The website Hope Café: Brewing Optimism 24 hrs a Day builds hope, positivity and connection for individuals, families and communities across the world. It provides a ‘gathering place’ that is not only warm and inviting but stimulating and thought provoking, too.
We offer a wide range of ‘selections’ from our ‘drop down menus’ and encourage everyone to share their photos, stories, and acts of kindness with us. You can also visit the Inspiration Station for Donna’s posts, hang out at the Decaf Zone to de-stress or Caffeine Bar to get energized, and check out original recipes from the Hope Café kitchen. Visit often for fresh brews to keep you engaged and inspired.