Category Archives: Der Spiegel

Why this probably isn’t the end of the world as we know it.

If you are getting the news, hanging out on Facebook, or just having conversations about current events you’ve probably noticed that the tone has changed dramatically. Depending on one’s point of view, people seem to be elated, panicked or have gone into hiding as a result of the 2016 US elections. There is a lot of shouting going on.

Protests in the US went on for days after the election. Many of my friends on Facebook are predicting dire consequences of a Trump Presidency. Media from around the world has been alternately between blaming Clinton campaign strategy, the FBI director, third party candidates for this election result and engaging in hand-wringing or panic-based predictions.
As I’ve been in Berlin for a little while, I caught the cover of Der Spiegel, Germany’s weekly news magazine with the title: spiegel-trump

The End of the World as We Know it” from R.E.M.’s famous song.
(Transparency alert: I would never have voted for Donald Trump and have been an ardent Hillary support, but I’m Canadian and British, so it is irrelevant.)
BTW for a completely different explanation of the result,
check out my niece Jessica Rose’s piece posted on the Berkeley School of Law Blog.

I think we all need to chill out and accept the result of the US election. Why? Because it is just possible that this is not actually the end of the world as we know it.

These events have been going on right when I am in the middle of
putting myself through Byron Katie’s self-inquiry process.

And if there is one thing I am learning about from this psychological cleansing process,
it’s that whatever is happening,
IS the current reality
and that
we make ourselves miserable by thinking
about what should have happened instead
,
bemoaning the lamentable current state of affairs,
and whining about how we want it to be – but it isn’t.

These are hard lessons to learn. Many people really believe that this result shouldn’t have happened. Maybe they are right – but it’s irrelevant. It did happen.

Here are some of Byron Katie’s inquiry questions
that force us to face reality as it is,
instead of suffering because of our thoughts and beliefs about it.

So if you’ve been thinking as I did:

“This is a terrible outcome for planet earth in general and the good American people specifically,”

Byron Katie would ask: “How do you react when you have that thought?”
I feel worried, anxious, and stressed out about all the terrible things that could result from a Trump presidency – naturally.

Then she would ask: “Who would you be without this thought?”
I would be more relaxed and able to see all the positive events that are happening in the world to make it a better place, and not only the events that I believe are depressing.

I’d be able to remember great things that are happening such as:
– advances in our understandings of how people function and what they need to be fulfilled,
– people who have been isolated from the world, getting access to broad band internet, enabling them to connect, earn a living and more fully participate,
– women more fully taking leadership roles in key corporate and government positions,
– greater awareness of how our habits affect the environment and what we can do about it
– being able to keep in touch with people I love all over the world, whenever I want.

Once I got to this place – one of being able to see what else of a more positive nature is going on in the world – I suddenly realized that when I was participating in the growing awfulizing, I was completely denigrating the capacity of people to be creative, resilient and forward-thinking.

Now that I think about it, this planet has more potential than problems. Every time one of us makes a real connection with another, we improve something. When we communicate online to many, we have the possibility of making a positive difference.

As the late Canadian politician Jack Layton said in his last letter to Canadians:

“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear.
Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic.
And we’ll change the world.”

We can do this!