Who really is Donald Trump?

Is he really only about increasing his wealth at the expense of the country or does he really care about making working people’s lives better?

Is he really a racist, sexist, misogynist person who wants to build a wall and ban Muslims or is he really an inclusive person who wants to be the President of “all the people”?

Is he really a friend to Wall Street such that their highest levels of greed will be rewarded or will he use his “insider knowledge” to clean up our financial system?

Is his Presidency going to be the ruin of the United States or will he be the one to ensure that our country lives up to its highest ideals?

To be clear, I did not vote for him. I was shocked and saddened that he was elected. I could go on and on about why he was not the best person to lead our country. Many of his early appointments to his team are disappointing to me. That said, I have to come to grips with the fact that he is now going to be our President.

On the one hand, I want him to succeed in improving people’s lives, bring us together, clean up our financial system and move our country forward. On the other hand, I want to play a card out of the Republican rule book as they did 8 years ago with President Obama and block everything he does.

I am sitting in the midst of the paradox of Donald Trump. Do you feel it too?

Is there something for me to learn in this moment? Am I called to some new levels of personal growth and understanding by this challenge? How can I grow by navigating this dynamic tension I feel?

It was probably no coincidence that as I sat with this tension that the Rumi poem “The Guest House” came by my awareness courtesy of my email. Here is the poem:

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

So how will I choose to navigate this paradox of Donald Trump?

In the political arena, I will most likely support his actions and decisions that I believe will benefit our country and move us forward.  Whenever his actions serve to help working people, reign in Wall Street greed, are inclusive of the needs of all and cause no harm, I will most likely say “yes”.  However, if his actions further a racist agenda, further the income inequality we are experiencing or cause harm to the highest vision of a United States that works for everyone, not just a few, then I will strongly say “no” and stand up in opposition.

But beyond the political arena is the world of our personal growth and evolution.  How will I choose to navigate this dynamic tension of Trump to further who I am and how I show up in the world?

Can in the midst of my disappointment that a “President Trump” does not serve the best interest of our world can I be grateful for the gift it gives me to grow individually and all of us collectively?  Can this unexpected visitor to the guest house of my human experience be welcomed at some level?  As this guest violently sweeps my house empty of its furniture, can I still treat them honorably knowing that such actions are clearing the space for a new delight?   Is there a gift here for my spiritual growth if I am grateful and open to it?

The paradox of Donald Trump calls my attention to the immediate moment of the short turn where I set healthy boundaries in the world of form, where I take on the mantle of sacred activism to ensure the rights and needs of everyone regardless of race, sex, income level, religious background, sexual orientation are considered.  I am called to act in the world now for the needs of all.

The paradox of Donald Trump calls my attention to the eternal now and the place where we stand outside the world of form, where the greater “I am” takes on the duty of spiritual growth and evolution to ensure that this individual that I call “me” sees the bigger picture — that there is a longer timeframe and a broader existence to consider, a universe “beyond” the one of my daily experiences.  I am called to simply be in this greater world and in so being recognize my unity with it all.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Mark Gilbert

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