Thank you to all of you who have written to me over the past week since the election, asking how I’m doing and what I’m thinking about.
Of course, I had wanted to write something earlier, but couldn’t find the words.
I have lots of fleeting thoughts, ideas, positions – but grief has a way of taking the sticking power out of them, and maybe of taking away my trust in them, too.
What I do know is this: a long time ago I began doing this work because I saw again and again how the most ethical, kind, wise people on the planet were being kept from formal roles of power.
Without that power, they could not make the decisions that would lead our world forward.
At the same time, I saw how, at worst, those who did hold power were often the most wounded, reckless and greedy among us. At best, they were often just the most overconfident or those who best fit the stereotype of what a leader (read: patriarch) looked like.
The consequences of this are infinite, and tragic.
The profound misalignment – of who gets to lead versus who holds wisdom – is something we will all be dealing with now at a whole new level.
Over the years that come, yes, we can work to change the composition of who wields institutional power.
That means altering all kinds of things – from how people decide to pursue a formal position of power, to who votes, to the images – conscious and unconscious – that we all hold of what a leader looks like. We can each find our niches within this larger cause of changing who comes to hold formal power.
But, when we can’t change it, or perhaps more precisely, while we work at the long-game of changing it, we can relentlessly commit acts of goodness and love outside roles of institutional power.
This has certainly long been women’s way of bringing light into the world. It has long been the way that marginalized people have brought light into the world, and sustained their families and communities.
So rest assured, you know how to do this. It’s in your DNA.
We will not give up the fight to diversify who holds formal roles of power.
And even as we cope with heartbreaking retrenchment on that long path forward, remember that every cell in your body knows how to love and weave good deeds, to meet injustice with acts of service and everyday rebellion, right there with the people in front of you.
Let’s stay connected to love and to each other.
photo credit: Zoran Kokanovic
Join the discussion 44 Comments
It is not so much who is leading but that we as society are waking up to co-creating a New Earth. Many people do not read the alternet news articles, wiki leaks, past leaders we respected, physicists, for truths of our evolving. Although messy right now, each step leads us to our more harmonious future.The grand plan is unfurling & all will see bigger, better changes soon w/announcement of Republic of US (in action since 2015, signed by 209 nations @ 25th Paris Climate Change talks + our Congress + Obama) & announcement of Global Currency Change by Obama. Trump was a puppet to push us forward & will drop out soon enough. The Clinton negative truths are revealed in wikileaks; perspectives will change. All is well; be in the NOW, dream vision a just future for all & Earth.
Our shared DNA that you describe so well lies in our ability to be the fiercest protectors of what threatens us, our families, communities and the world. For many of us in midlife–around 40 plus–there is confusion. Have I ever and do I now have power? Yes you do. Recognition the power and potential of middlescence as a new life stage needs to be the wind beneath our wings right now. I’m offering the Middlescence Manifesto for free through my website because it is no needed right now. xo Barb
Thank you for helping find sense in all of this.
I appreciate your wisdom and especially your ability to put into words what so many women are feeling so deeply.
It is my DNA and my core where I feel this so intensely. I feel my voice stronger than ever post-election. I will keep listening and moving forward.
Thank you Tara.
This is strong comfort and a very good way of reinforcing the changes we want to see in our immediate sphere of influence and watching that ripple out. Last night I was realizing that my entire career (I’m 66) has been plagued with the struggles that Hillary faced in this election. It’s just exhausting. Having said that, I am ready to bring my 60’s revolutionary energy back into my life! Change is coming.
Tara, thank you. I can only imagine the weight you feel to speak, to comfort, to provide hope during this time, all the while when you yourself are suffering.
Three days after the election, my friend and I hosted a “Brave Girls and Their Mamas” art class. We made collages within the themes of hope and love, and being brave when we are afraid. Following that, I went to a women’s leadership in higher education conference. That was more painful, and yet like the collage class, we made beauty from the scraps that this election has left behind.
I vow to continue this work, and I am glad to know you do, too. We will overcome.
Love – ly and powerful. Thank you.
Beautiful words, Tara. I really appreciate the concept of “profound misalignment” to help make sense of why so many of us are feeling stuck and disempowered. Keep sharing your wisdom and light.
Tara, your essay some weeks ago about the voice that came to you in the night saying “Do what you can, and do not worry about what you can’t” is what inspired me to get out to register voters, and then canvass voters, even though both were well outside my comfort zone. We also donated all (read, more) than we could afford to donate, and then we slept at night. Thank you for that inspiration and that encouragement. Knowing that we did everything we could do is part of what helps us sleep at night now, in the wake of shock and grief.
Thank you also for your neutrality early, when it helped to not alienate some people, and then at the end, your willingness to speak for the side of compassion and justice. This is part of what we will need to do going forward: Be willing to speak in love, but also to defend equality, justice, and civility towards all, which the right certainly does not appear to be planning. We might even need to march at some point. It is correct to always try diplomacy first. Sometimes, however, “going high” means confrontation.
Best wishes in your continued efforts to inspire.
Tara – Thank you so much for addressing this issue. As a women working in education, I am dumbfounded that a few of my fellow female teachers voted different than I did. I am working on understanding and forgiving.
I agree that love and compassion is the key to keeping our planet going. And, looking to build a compassionate future.
Thank you for continuing to address this topic and give women a voice. I hope that this dialogue continues.
With love, peace and forgiveness
I love reading your blogs. I find them very inspiring. I love how you ended this particular one with, “remember that every cell in your body knows how to love and weave good deeds, to meet injustice with acts of service and everyday rebellion, right there with the people in front of you.
Let’s stay connected to love and to each other.”
I am sooo on board with this! I would love to stay connected!
Thanks so much, Tara. I’ve really been searching for words and wisdom that can make me feel better and recover from the shock and pain. Beautiful blog.
Hill is a liar and is corrupt; the Wikileaks emails show the ClintonFoundtion has been used for her personal enrichment; and that she does not have the temperament to be in the Oval Office (including her meltdown on election nite); there was a lot of denial in the press and with her supporters that still has its residue showing itself; over time more info will confirm the wisdom of the American electorate.
Thank you for these uplifting words of encouragement. Just what I am needing right now. Sending warm hugs of reassurance right back at you.
In every election there is a winner and a loser – for a better world we need to support the winner as we have been asked in past elections.
Negativity is not the path towards success but the path towards failure.
Move forward and find ways of working with the government we have to make things betters for all.
I have been looking for your words these past days as I knew you would share them when you were ready. Reading what you write feels like balm on cracked and burning lips. We have to be willing to stand strong, bring the light and not polarize further. I’m feeling oddly energized even in the midst of grief. My biggest fear is that I’ll (we’ll) hit walls and give up. I’m grateful I can tap into this community when I need to. Thank you Tara.
No one needs your hateful rhetoric. Please take the toxicity someplace else.
Thank you Tara. Been hoping to hear from you. Hugs and peace to all. Its all a part of something much much bigger and I’m grateful to your words and grace before during and after this election. Onward!
I have been watching and sharing Hillary’s struggles for 25 years – never pretty enough, never smiles enough, too serious…the list goes on and on. I was so hopeful that by winning the election she (and I) would get a break. I will never stop fighting to be the smartest person in the room and for that to mean something. I will use this event to fuel me to fight on.
Thank you <3
This decision to continue to love is the same decision I came to after Brexit.
This we can do.
It is always worthwhile.
If you have ever lied but still expect to be able to hold a job that you’re qualified for, if you have ever done anything wrong but expect that once you’ve apologized not to have it held over your head until the day you die, that is reasonable. Your view denies that to someone who has spent more than 30 years in public service (not self service), and is therefore not reasonable. My only consolation in this whole mess is that you, who voted for this monstrosity, will get exactly what you deserve. My sadness is that the rest of us have no choice and will get it also.
Thank you Tara for your clarity and kindness, I’ve been looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Thank you as well for showing us the tools we have available to help our voices be heard and to move forward with love, compassion and perseverance.
Thank you, Tara. It says a lot about you that you’ve found a way to not only share your sadness but to see it as a rallying point for further conversation, action and work for change.
Tara, thank you for this post and reminder that we all DO have ultimate power. The power to act out of love, kindness, respect, and make our voices heard. Now more than ever I’m committed to doing that.
Tara, You words and work are more important now than ever…thanks you for sharing !
Tara, Thank you for your calm and thoughtful words. You echo my own thoughts, that we must carry on spreading love, demonstrating inclusivity, and sharing wisdom….now more than ever. Thank you for standing up and speaking out.
yes to love each other, even the adversary. I will answer you with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German lutheran priest who died in NAZI captivity.
“By nature, optimism is not a view of the present situation but a living power, the power of hope where others are resigned, the power to hold one’s head high when everything seems to be going wrong, the power to bear setbacks, the power never leaves the future to the adversary but lays claim to it for oneself.”
Well said. Life is full of disappointments. It makes it all that much more when social media has been blasting it over & over. We must work to bring civility, respect for others and kind words back in to our vocabulary and actions. Let’s not let all the negativity get and keep us down. We are better than that.
Thanks Tara for reminding us of our power held in our DNA. This is our opportunity to come alive even more.
I was waiting to get a reflection from you.
It comforts me and inspires me.
Love you Tara. Thank you for this. It really helps.
Thank you for this Tara. I’ve also been looking for words the last week. It is easy to imagine many other different models for leadership, yet shocking to digest how hard that is to achieve. The vision is getting clearer, the work to be done all the more evident. In the words of Norman Fischer this past week, “Dark times bring out the heroic in us.” Courage, strength, love, good habits.
This post has been my favorite thus far since last week. Thank you for sharing these thoughts with the world. If we keep speaking words that steer toward compromise, peace, consolidated efforts and creating a better world – our country will CONTINUE to be great. Thank you most of all for you.
Loved your post. Like many women, I have experience a wide range of emotions regarding the election. In the end, I realized that my fear and disappointment need to be the fuel for my courage. It’s time for us to take action to create a better world so that women and girls will have more opportunities. In 2017 I will be opening my own business as well volunteering and supporting other women in either growing their own business or shattering a glass ceiling at their company.
beautiful, tara. thank you for this.
Beautifully said, Tara! Thank you for your thoughts. They are soothing to me. This has been a most painful election but I’m slowly coming to realization that whatever happens, we are always moving forward. It might FEEL like a step back, but in order to actually progress from here, we have to scoop up the groups that have been disenfranchised and are raging. We have to attend to them and understand why and meet their needs. Thank you so much for your ongoing wisdom.
I am driven to get women to focus on COLLABORATION instead of competition. We need to work together for common goals. We need each of us to see what a crucial role we play and to choose to NOT stand by the side with a strategy of hope, but to get our hands dirty in the ring and fight for what we want. If we stand together, we can do it! We can win! But we must stand together!
Thanks Tara for sharing your thoughts. I have not been able to see or hear any media since the outcome last week but I was looking forward to your post. Many thoughts and emotions come up; limited words.
Thank you for these tender, thoughtful words of consolation, conciliation, and inspiration. Thank you for acknowledging and looking into the mystery, the unknowable. That we may see it as such, the greatest test of faith.
Throughout North America–and as another writer suggests in her mention of Brexit, other Western democracies as well–there has been a terrible sense of disappointment and betrayal and frustration that has–regrettably–now been mobilized in a very destructive, cruelly cynical way.
My postwar generation believed in the myth of progress, that hard work and determination and ingenuity and high hopes would assure a bright and prosperous future–if not for ourselves, then for our children. We were SOLD on it. We could do anything if we set our minds to it. And how many TED Talks are still out there, expounding the same empty promises.
Now we are stumbling through the remains of a broken and dying planet, fantasizing that homespun wisdom and free-range chickens and stuffed animals for refugee children and laptops for Africa can still offer salvation. Donald Trump is only a shadow, an apparition composed of the most egregious, selfish and vengeful of these nostalgic illusions.
Our cherished past was made from dreams of a glorious future. Maybe we have to accept that there is no star to wish upon–if there ever were. That if we look twice at Mickey or Charlie Brown, we will see as Berger and Eco did that our innocents are also monsters.
And try as we may, we women cannot again break ourselves against the stones with “love.” There are limits to life, and the recognition of limits–Dr. Brene Brown’s “enough,” perhaps–may be our greatest gift to the future. None of us–women, men, Hillary, Donald–were born to be the rocking-horse winners, furiously pumping away as our Big House whispers, “Money, money!”
I admire your writing and your politics, Tara, thank you for your gentle rigour and elegant, powerful stance, it is truly appreciated in these most challenging times. The very best to you. Tanya
Wijze woorden > Wise words, thank you. Keep calm, we keep going.
Thank you for writing, and keeping the strength up for us all! Grief comes in many forms, under the best of circumstances, much less the situation we find now. Take time, and move forward one step at a time. We can work together for a better future!
The next years are going to be difficult, and I for one would love to keep hearing from you. We need one another, and yes, we are stronger together! Blessings and strength being sent to you, via this email!
Thank you, Tara- you have been a brave and much-needed voice during this whole election cycle. I just launched my website and the work was envisioned disconnected from the election process, but my goal to support women of diverse backgrounds in career success feels more important than ever now. As you said, “We will not give up the fight to diversify who holds formal roles of power.” I am with you. We may not have won this battle, but there are many more to be fought!
Well…I guess this is a reply from a “deplorable!” As I read the heartfelt comments of the majority here, I truly feel your pain of loss in something that reflects a smash of a value(s) that you hold dear. And, based on what info you have internalized and where you got it from, I can perfectly understand your feelings. My goodness, as I watch CNN, ABC, NBC, etc. I, too may be polarized by the results of the election..stunned that any caring person…especially a woman… would not voted for our women presidential candidate. However, I viewed ALL networks…including FOX News and One America Network. Those were the only places that had any meaningful and as balanced as possible points of view shared. So, If I may, I would love to present “another” point of view. Tara, you seemed to describe our female candidate as representing the most ethical, kind, wise people on the planet were being kept from formal roles of power. [Your quote] Well, I would like to share with you that that is NOT the description that many of us have of her. If you were exposed to any of the wikileak emails and viewed the documentaries, Hillary’s America, Clinton Cash…you would see that she and the Clinton Foundation were fraught with, if not crimes, massively poor decisions with hugely compromising optics and at worst, a fairly obvious “Pay to play” arrangement that filled their coffers and compromised our nation’s security, having done so as a public servant. The fact that we had 2 compromised candidates did not make our votes any easier. It seemed like a choice of “politically incorrect” versus “politically corrupt.” My values overrode his misogynist tones in order to clean out the deeply systematized corruption of both parties! Sometimes you need a strong “character” to take on the “clean the swamp” desires of most. Unfortunately, our female candidate presented her shrill…candidate bashing comments with an “entitled aire” and little motivational excitement, did not help me relate to her.
This brings me to a second point. In my humble opinion… a TRUE feminist will not support ANY women candidate…she will support the BEST women candidate. Clearly, the lack of trust most citizens had of her, at the very least hints at her lack of “idealness.”
This brings me to my last point… in my humble opinion…true feminism does not bully. Ironically…this was a key charge of the male candidate…However, in my personal experience, need to share with you ladies, I was routinely “bullied” by MY female peers. I was vociferously vocally chastised for my counter point of view. NO female ever sought to understand me…My concerns over national security, etc. Never in my life did I fear to hang out a lawn sign for being spit on if not outcasted…. THIS, in our America??? And initiated by fellow women?! and yet, the “other side” is one that is often labed as being “mean-spirited?!” So, forgive me as I layer in the sadness “the other side” feels now, with curiosity as to how NO ONE cared a lick about MY [all other side women] feelings…It felt to me like a lack of respect for me not to be heard without judgement.
So, I kindly invite all the readers to look within, before you cast judgments out. Where might we all be consciously or unconsciously mirroring the very things we blame/attribute to others?…
How committed are we all to seek to understand all other points of view? Clearly, none of us wanted the worst for our nation, right?
Thanks for allowing me to share…Meanwhile can we all, in the words of Oprah, “just breathe!”