Learning to Love the opponent, and appreciate and honor the differences we have
Seasons of Love, Seasons of Change
“Only an adventurer stripped of ego can be the one to survive the belly of the whale, or the knives and spikes of peril that await on the other side. As long as ego and the old version of self are intact, the longer the fires will last. In fact if ego is not released, one may be in a constant state of fire. Acknowledging self-annihilation and suffering as a part of the crossing is a must, only to still move forward undaunted. Of course all of this is done because the storyteller already understands the end of the story—the storyteller has hope that by witnessing all the evil the world offers they will be born anew with a sense of purpose.”
-Sophocles: Mending a Broken Heart,
Chapter 6, Crossing the Threshold – Redefining the Masculine
Available on Amazon and Audible
I recently saw the musical Rent in movie form for the first time. The entire musical is based in Manhattan’s Alphabet City in the late 1980s/early 90s. However, by the time the movie was being filmed in the early 2000’s, Alphabet City had become gentrified, and the producers chose the Tenderloin of San Francisco for most of the backdrop and outdoor settings.
The musical itself championed the fringe cultures at the time. During the musical’s 12-year run on Broadway (1994-2008) and around the country, as a white privileged male, I felt as though I was the pugilist’s fodder, as the excitement for the minority cultures voice was now being heard. I was also just out of high school, struggling to find my own voice in the world, and did not know what song to sing, so I sang none at the time.
Aside from the nostalgia of watching the SF I grew up with (I was in theater in my youth and during the movie filming I received a phone call from friends to join the cast as part of the background during scenes), the music and score of the production is incredible. One song in particular rings true today as ever: Seasons of Love.
There are so many seasons now it is hard to count. Currently on the docket is Fall Season, Pandemic Season, Fire Season, almost Flu Season, and now Election Season. To say the least, seasons of change are among us.
Regarding Election Season: I met Vice-Presidential Candidate Harris years ago during Newsom’s SF Mayoral run. She and I were flies on the wall at Newsom’s initial mayoral inauguration party. For me, seeing someone I met now run for the highest office’s in the land, is quite personal. And yet I pause…
Harris’ rise to her position in my mind was dysfunctional at best. Her popularity sky-rocketed as she attacked her now running mate during the initial debates. She questioned Biden’s senility, capability, and most of all his integrity. Her popularity soared until her sudden departure from the election and campaign trail, only to surprisingly(?) resurface as his running mate? I do not find comfort or hope in a dysfunctional family. But I personally find less comfort with Trump than his opposition.
However, as a member of my profession, I am privileged and honored to have people share their darkest desires, as they do not feel safe expressing elsewhere. And during these conversations it has been illuminated to me as to why Trump represents hope; and after all Obama won on a campaign of hope.
After listening intently to my clients saying that they know Trump is a screw-up, they know he is un-intelligent, they know he is a bigot, sexist, racist, criminal…and yet, “If he can be all those things, and be President, that means there is hope for me.”
People see Trump as a success, even after all his faults, and feel hope for themselves. Through most of my exchanges there is no sense of nationalism, making America Great again, or leaving things better for the next generation. The amplification goes no further than hope for oneself.
Trump is an archetype of an 8 on the enneagram. I could spend years describing this concept, but in a nutshell, an immature and young version of this archetype feeds off rejection and empowers the bully. We as a culture have empowered a bully, by mocking and rejecting him at every turn; we have othered him completely.
Yet, as the cast of Rent sang:
How do you measure the life of a woman or a man?
In truths that she learned
Or in times that he cried
In bridges he burned
Or the way that she died
Remember the love
(Share love, give love, spread love)
Measure in love
(Measure, measure your life in love)
Seasons of love
Love is indeed an answer, and the wiser folks among us have proclaimed attempts at learning how to love Trump… because love is ultimately what the bully always seeks.
Dolly Parton described her attempt at loving him saying on the popular WNYC podcast Dolly Parton’s America, “If you hate the President so much, why don’t we pray for him?” Even during a forgone presidential debate, candidate Marianne Williamson, when asked how to combat him, suggested love. Yes, maybe John, Paul, Ringo, and George still said it best…Love is all we need.