Now What?

Early morning on November 8 it was my job to write the name “Trump” on a small piece of paper, fold it in half, and pin it to a bulletin board. I was managing a silent Buddhist meditation retreat and some participants wanted to know the outcome of the election since there were still several days to go before the retreat ended.

I felt shaky as I wrote those unexpected five letters, amazed at the news I was delivering, concerned how it would land in the sensitive minds and hearts of those sitting the retreat.

The truth is we are all sensitive to the state of the world, and as we wake up to this new political reality many of us are reeling. The last time I experienced this kind of shock about the world was sitting in a dark movie theater watching the credits roll at the end of Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth. It felt like a boulder had landed in my lap. Until that night I had not understood the urgency of the environmental crisis we were in. Once I did it was impossible to pretend that climate change wasn’t my problem.

In these first weeks under the Trump administration, those who care about social justice, human rights, ethical governance, and the planet, know that we’re in a state of crisis. We are very awake. Some of us are showing up at protests, signing online petitions, calling our representatives. We’re meeting with one another. We’re asking what will happen to our communities and our world? We’re wondering what can – and should – we do? What will be effective action now?

Almost daily I hear about resources people have come across or methods they’ve come up with for responding. If you’re looking for some guidance, here are a few resources you may find helpful:

Wall-of-Us: “Four concrete acts of resistance delivered to your inbox each week.”

Indivisible: “A Practical guide for resisting the Trump agenda. Former congressional staffers reveal best practices for making Congress listen.”

In “A To-Do List for Lasting Change” Sarah Van Gelder Yes! Magazine editor, writes, “As the Trump regime rolls out, the need for building local power becomes startlingly clear.”

Affinity groups are powerful forums for taking action.  They can consist of anywhere from 3 to 30 or more people who get together to take action, learn, and support one another as they address an issue of common concern. Get together with some friends and talk about what you might do.

You may also find it helpful and motivating to keep a log of actions you take. I use a very simple spreadsheet that looks something like this:

Date   Action                                        Notes/Reflections

2/6    Posted “Now What” blog        Feels good to get the blog on the website.

I don’t track every single petition I sign, but I do find the log gives me a sense of memory, accountability and accomplishment over time. It’s another way to stay conscious and remember how good it feels to take action and that over time those many little steps we take add up.

PS: Minutes after posting this blog I was sent a link on this article in The Nation magazine: “Your Guide to the Sprawling New Anti-Trump Resistance Movement.” Take a look.