stronger together

December 6th, 2016


The Clinton-Kaine sign is still in the front yard, worse for wear what with the rain and wind but I don’t yet feel inclined to toss it. It’s like a gall bladder scar, and here’s me, lifting my shirt to show it to the cameras.

In the four weeks that have passed since election night, I’ve heard from a lot of you. The basic sentiment is how in the #&%## world are we going to get through this. I don’t know how we’re going to get through this. I don’t know how to get through anything. The basic sentiment governing my life is not knowing how to get through.

Last week I sat a retreat, which helped. It helped because when you’re sitting in stillness for eight hours a day you don’t have time to creep back onto your carefully curated news sources to seize on the glimmer that affirms your fear or hope or rage. And avoiding that kind of misery is good for the moment. It’s good to be quiet right now as we recover from trauma. Until we’re back on our feet and storming the streets.

The first day home I woke with a headache and within an hour was throwing up my morning coffee, then yesterday’s, and then a lifetime of yesterdays, in spasms so violent that it occurred to me that I was finally achieving my yoga teacher’s instruction to inhale your navel to your spine.

By evening I was a shivering husk writhing in bed and wailing to my husband in the next room who tiptoed in from time to time to ask if he could do anything. It struck me then how completely helpful he was being, although there was nothing he could do to help. He was so totally kind and present to my pain, unafraid to walk into the door and stand beside my contaminated self.

I am afraid, I said. I don’t want to be alone.

And he stayed.

That’s how we’re going to get through this, friends—together. I’ve seen the writing on the wall.

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  1. I’m ever so thankful I found you Maezen. And the Dewdrop Sangha and everyone who I practice with. Thank you for your teaching.

    Comment by Nathan — December 6, 2016 @ 7:53 am

  2. Thank you for the comfort, the validation and the promise to be there in the march.Together is always better!!!

    Comment by daisy — December 6, 2016 @ 8:27 am

  3. Hello Maezen,

    I echo Nathan’s sentiment. After a Dharma friend pointed to your “Special Message” talk on the Rime Buddhist Center podcast and I’m VERY thankful to have your teachings available.

    I have had a number of conversations over the past weeks that have all gone in the direction you reference – most people seem to have let go of the possibility of a clear vision of what the future looks like, but nearly all reference the need to reach out, to build bridges, and to offer a warm hand an a friendly ear.

    Perhaps one way to look at it is that now is the time to focus on Sangha in the widest possible sense – as community of friends.

    May all beings be at peace. Thank you for sharing with us.


    Comment by Sekishi — December 6, 2016 @ 8:42 am

  4. Oh Maezen! I hope you are feeling better!
    You encourage me. ?

    Comment by Marcea — December 6, 2016 @ 10:58 am

  5. This comment is from someone who was very sad upon learning the election results….acceptance needs to be the first place to start healing. Do not stay stuck in denial, as it will create more suffering. The universe is constantly changing and we need to keep moving with it. It is going to be an interesting four years in front of us. Secondly, this is one heck of an opportunity to practice compassion therapy. Really. First, have compassion for yourself for hurting. Then, have compassion for others, starting with the poor dumb suckers who are desperate enough in their own circumstances (and there are millions of them!) to cast a vote on a con artist and demagogue. Have compassion for the voters who might not be desperate, but who did not have the mental discernment to separate the fake news from facts, who bought into the pack of lies. That is their mental universe and it does not have to be ours. Everything that goes up must come down. The worm will turn.

    Comment by LAUREN STEWART — December 6, 2016 @ 5:34 pm

  6. Well, that image of Johnson showing his scar is evidence that your sense of humor is intact! (Of course HE’S rolling over in his grave…).
    This, too shall pass.

    Comment by Patricia W — December 6, 2016 @ 6:39 pm

  7. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” MLK
    Thank you for your presence and voice.
    Hope you are on the mend, Maezen.

    Comment by Jane — December 6, 2016 @ 7:56 pm

  8. I am on the mend. Today I worked in the garden. Good for the body and heart.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — December 6, 2016 @ 8:19 pm

  9. Hi Karen, I think I had hoped -when I was younger- that the world would become a better place for my children. So the state of things in todays world frightens me most for them and for their future. But then, as much as it is their fate to be our children it is their fate to be a child in todays world, a child of these times. I do hope that -collectively, as people and as humans- we come to our senses and our hearts sooner rather than later.

    Comment by Simone — December 7, 2016 @ 1:56 am

  10. PS I would like to add that “children” to me is not literally limited to my children, because ofcourse -as they say- no man is an island (and it takes a village to raise a child).

    Comment by Simone — December 7, 2016 @ 2:03 am

  11. Do what we can, with what we have, where we are. We’re all in this together. We’re going to need each other more than ever now. Hope you are feeling better. Hands in soil or otherwise busy in the garden is the best tonic I know. Love to you Karen.

    Comment by Debby S Avery — December 7, 2016 @ 10:01 am

  12. I keep thinking that I’m old enough to die fairly soon and be gone from all this, but then I remember that next time may be worse (or better,who knows?) The thought of impermanence is all I have to hold on to some days. I’m glad you have mended some and feel better.

    Comment by buddhasteps — December 8, 2016 @ 8:55 pm

  13. Thinking of you, Maezen. Sick with worry, sad, angry, baffled. The news is worse every day.
    My husband and I have booked tickets to DC for the March. Scared to go, scared not to go. Love to all…Clare

    Comment by Clare — December 10, 2016 @ 10:53 pm

  14. Thank you for bringing some sanity to the scene 🙂

    Comment by Kristie Ryan — December 11, 2016 @ 9:51 am

  15. Oh, also! Will you be able to make the Women’s March in DC?

    Comment by Kristie Ryan — December 11, 2016 @ 9:53 am

  16. I am marching the Women’s March in San Francisco.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — December 11, 2016 @ 11:03 am

  17. Very cool. I probably need to find a local one. Thanks for the info!

    Comment by Kristie Ryan — December 11, 2016 @ 3:04 pm

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