Big Person Pants

Who in their right mind doesn’t have compassion for anyone who finds outrage to be the only expression they have at this time in response to the wreckage of Trump?

And yet, to me, the most harmful part of Trump is not Trump, but the negative feelings we have about him.  The many forms of unmanaged fear.

Getting rid of all things Trump is both important and beside the point.  There will always be the unwell.  Growing our resilience is imperative.

Anger, contempt, blame, judgment, condemnation, ridicule, cynicism, condescension, hatred, and indignation (to name the first ten that come to mind)––lead no one to happiness, except as a lesson in what needs to be freed to have the life we deserve.

Moreover, they are the opposite of the energy necessary to reorient our nation in a more life-affirming direction.  That is the excruciating task ahead for those of us who feel that kinship is essential to the vision of any healthy community.

The question facing us, I feel, is this: How do we cultivate a perspective that leans more toward what we are committed to create rather than what we are committed to combat?

Ironically, one place to start is with reframing our view of Trump.  To see him as more than just a soulless lunatic.  Without intending to, to be sure, Trump has been an awakener of so much that needs our loving attention.

What conversation would we be having today about racism and sexual assault without Trump, to mention just two arenas that have been illuminated constructively, if painfully, because of him?

Would the recent women’s marches throughout the nation and the world be as robust without the specter of Trump?  The power of those marches is just as much, if not more, about the ideals they cherish than the ideas they resist.  Every pussy hat in the world was knitted in part by Trump.

As the avatar Ramakrishna said, “The plot can’t thicken without troublemakers.”

On the world stage, Trump is certainly troublemaker supreme at the moment.  Equalled only by the extent to which we feel we are a victim of him––and refuse to consider that victims never recover.

Resenting Trump, or anything for that matter, is self-destructive.  It takes up the energy we need for developing the sacred skills upon which our health, and the the health of humankind, depends:

    • Managing fear.
    • Learning from our experience.
    • Gaining ever-deeper understanding of what we cannot live without.
    • Aligning commitments with action, and actions with commitments.

Which is to say, growing our ability to respond to anything with a cool mind and a warm heart.  It’s a never-ending practice.  I’ve heard it called putting on our big person pants, one day at a time.

[For more on this, there’s my post “The Future of Outrage” on my other website]


  1. Managing fear is way easier when we unhook ourselves from 24 hour news coverage to give ourselves the chance to take a breath. We are addicted to the feed, paralyzed by it’s stranglehold on us. We give mainstream media, and those who know how to use it, precarious power over us. Enough, already.

    What Steve said:

    ps: thanks SR!

  2. Steve,
    It has been said that all the behaviors we dislike; the hubris, arrogance, bullying, greed and full spectrum of violence are coping strategies etched into place very early in a child’s life by those who share and express these very qualities. Once firmly rooted the collection of coping strategies defend themselves against any threat rendering the collection absolute and unchangeable (from the outside). Emerging from this root culture with all its various forms blossom. Culture is built on these aberrant behaviors and incorporate them into its structures. Forgiveness, as you know, is releasing ourselves from the harm that we do to ourselves being or feeling harmed by others. We carry the actual harm forward, reincarnating it over and over again. Forgiveness releases us from this self-inflicted cycle while, at the same time, acknowledging, inner and outer, that the harm that was originally done was not OK. It takes a cool mind and warm heart to keep these clear and act on that clarity. Your post alludes to the wastage of precious energy and resources…. Resenting Trump, or anything for that matter, is self-destructive. It takes up the energy we need for developing the sacred skills upon which our health, and the health of humankind, depends. What makes this era so challenging is that this wastage of attention and energy is by design. The blaring sirens of propaganda are so loud and so pervasive few can escape. Trump is nothing more than a cheap carnival barker. The real show is being crafted behind the curtain that we walk by every day ranting to ourselves as we so often do.

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"I honor that we are killing the earth for the same reason I consider being an alcoholic a privilege: it is a doorway to the profound self-understanding required to make truly healthy choices."

The Essay: Honoring the Killing of the Earth