When I was a child and was having a bad day or tantrum, my mother would read a book about releasing the “little me” to welcome the “big me.” We would take a deep breath and blow out as hard as we could, releasing the bad mood or tantrum. Next, we would breath in deeply, inviting the good mood and more loving version of ourselves in. It worked every time.
Even as recently as election night, I had to practice this, as I sat nervously watching the returns. By the time I went to bed, there were some big wins but some big losses too. And still as I write this, we are waiting on more results. All the while, our democracy is hanging on by a thread, people are dying at the hands of racism, we have a public health crisis in mass shootings and wildfires ravage and kill.
So, besides waiting on the vote counting, now that the election is over, we can relax and get back to our lives as usual, right? Wrong. Now that the election is over, the work continues. And it continues on a deeply personal level. There is still a lot you can do, and your unique voice is what is needed. You can always choose to respond with love over fear and to be a leader over bystander. The very straight-forward pre-election activities — volunteer, fundraise and vote — now transform into much more complex decisions and actions that can be organized into four themes: awareness, intention, aligned action and integration. Within these four themes, there are two overarching questions: Will you act and speak from a place of love or fear? And will you be a leader or a bystander?
Choosing love doesn’t mean being a pushover. It means communicating and acting from a place of expansion, compassion and empathy instead of contraction, insults and hatred. And being a leader doesn’t have to mean being the spokesperson or hierarchical decision-maker. It’s about how we show up and do the work.
The following suggestions are organized within the four themes, which is the foundation of the Well Woman Transformation Framework™.
• Bring awareness and pay attention to where we are and what we’ve got to work with. Hold your newly elected officials accountable — they will be transitioning into their new offices in November and December. Make sure they hear from you as they are making their plans for appointments and hiring.
• Let your intuition guide you and set your intention. Reflect on how you can contribute to a more expansive response or action regarding the issues you care about. And hold the intention that every communication come from a place of love and leadership. Decide to communicate in the small, everyday conversations — they are the ones that will reflect your leadership ability the most.
• Take aligned action through what you say and do. Be visible, be heard and take up space. If you helped a candidate and she won, ask her to appoint you to a policy committee or task force. Look at a new or unlikely committee to join — bring your unique viewpoint to a topic you wouldn’t normally weigh in on. Using your voice by writing or speaking up and be physically present. How can you show up from a place of love and expansion rather than fear and contraction?
Find an organization that is leading the change you want to see on a particular topic and join them. Is it animal rights? Domestic violence and sexual harassment? The environment or issues related to small business? Serve as a volunteer, a committee or on the board. Join me at Galvanize New Mexico on Dec. 1 in Albuquerque — check out www.theunitedstateofwomen.org/galvanize.
Bring others along with you – is there an inauguration celebration you ‘ve been invited to? Or a planning committee? A legislative hearing? Ask other women to go with you. Expose them to that which you now have access. For more on the legislative process go to the League of Women Voters advocacy workshop Dec. 8 in Santa Fe — check out www.lwvnm.org.
Consider running for office yourself. Yes, you. Check out nm.emergeamerica.org.
• Integrate: How do you do all this you ask? I know it’s a lot. Think about integrating your voice and your presence in the topics you care about. You can create a committee at work, you can volunteer with your kids as a family activity — it doesn’t have to always be a separate, additional thing to do on the list. Think of integration and it will be smoother and more fun.
Work with other groups, create a shared agenda, and instead of an “all or nothing” approach, identify small, short-term goals that can be accomplished on your chosen issue. Where can you give and take in order to move forward instead of standing still?
The world needs your voice and your presence. Now is not the time to shrink or let your “little me” rule. It’s time to let your Big Me shine. For more on awareness, intention, action and integration check out www.wellwomanlife.com.
Giovanna Rossi is president of Collective Action Strategies and producer and host of The Well Woman Show on KUNM Radio.