In the Face of Fear Is Love Possible?
Why it's challenging to build loving bridges in the aftermath of the election.
Posted November 14, 2016
A lot of people in the past few days are suggesting love. Love in the face of bigotry, discrimination, and terror of people who voted for someone who espouses hate.
I am 100% for love, and for love right now. Love is/has been my number one safety strategy as a trans person my entire life: to love someone quicker than they can hate or hurt me.
But while this is a phenomenal strategy of justice, liberation, and inclusion which I practice, let me be clear that is not without impact, consequence, and stress on my system. To love in the face of prejudice and discrimination is to also override our 100-million-year-old biological, protective fight, flight and freeze responses which are designed to keep every living being safe in the face of threat.
Chronic activation of the stress-response system is expensive to our health— subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones disrupt almost all body processes. To run. To fight. To freeze. These are full-bodied, wired reactions to threat or perceived threat, which hijack thinking and loving at light speed. All are 100% normal and appropriate, especially right now.
For most, opening our hearts requires a semblance of safety and absence of threat. So pardon me while I take moment to collect myself, to dig even deeper to find that semblance of relative safety within myself and with others who understand how terrifying and disturbing this week has been.
Right now groups of people who have been targeted by Trump, particularly Muslims and people of color, are (and have been) navigating a tsunami of physiological processes which are firing at top speed and will not be stopping anytime soon. So before you suggest love as the solution this week, take a pause and check yourself. I will get back to love, and likely love that is EVEN DEEPER and BOLDER, but right now I am over here, over threshold, and attempting to manage the very real collective threats towards my friends, communities, beloveds and myself.
Our protective and survival responses are wildly appropriate right now. Keep moving the energy through your body so it doesn't get stuck. Hold space for this within yourselves and with others. We are gonna need all of our power, creativity and willingness more than ever—so to the best of our ability feel/honor the fear and keep it moving.
Our power is so much greater than what we can even imagine. Getting to the depths where we can tap it takes quantum courage. I have always believed that deep human evolution in this time is about simultaneously building our capacity to process the triggers of inescapable fear and trauma in our bodies while being able to remain boldly connected in our hearts, to ourselves and each other. We are 100 million years of being wired to run, kill or be paralyzed with fear. So this is it, a collective grand test of a lifetime—and in this we will be messy and we will fight and we will run and we will freeze. Of course we will.
And maybe, we will love.
This article was written by Sage Hayes. Sage Hayes is a visionary healer, facilitator, community builder and believer in the possibilities of radical transformation in these times. Sage is a white, trans, adopted, self-employed healing arts practitioner who is dedicated to the relentless commitment of waking up to privilege, deep individual and collective healing and tapping the innate powers of justice and liberation. Sage offers somatic experiencing, yoga, biodynamic craniosacral, and many different transformative workshops including 'Creating Safer Spaces for Marginalized Populations'. Most recently Sage is building THE HIVE, a global directory for local holistic and mental health practitioners who are practicing and providing socially conscious and trauma-informed care, space and teaching. To find Sage, go to www.embodiedliberation.com, to get more information on the HIVE, go to www.thehivedirectory.net.