In the midst of early voting this week, I had a magical experience at the Polling Place. You just never know where little miracles are waiting for you! I arrived, eager to vote, only to hear that the internet had just crashed as I was walking up to register at the ballot-giver’s desk. The crash, it turned out, delayed voting for about half an hour. I was at the head of a forming line of other puzzled voters. As the minutes ticked by, some people were wondering if they should stay or go try to vote elsewhere. What an unexpected experience to have when voting!
In the midst of the confusion, I struck up a conversation with a very friendly volunteer, who came out from behind the desk. She, of course, was stopped in her efforts to register, and went on a forced little break .
The unexpected timing of this event seemed to invite a somewhat uncomfortable invitation to ponder if this crash was some kind of planned “sabotage.” With the horrific shootings at the Tree of Life Synagogue last week, we were, perhaps, initially a bit on edge. But that settled down as the technical glitch was identified and handled.
Soon, a palpable, unifying sense of togetherness kind of unfolded. Almost everyone was chipper in the face of this uncomfortable obstacle, except for a few disgruntled, would-be voters. But I don’t think anyone left to go vote elsewhere. It was kind of like we surrendered, together, to the helplessness of the moment and then found it quite pleasant, actually. At least I did!
The friendly volunteer on her “break” began to share some of her thoughts and observations about the political scene with me, while we were all waiting for the internet to resume. Her story was fascinating.
She was an older woman, and said she’d been a passionate political activist “back in the day” — in younger, more agile years. Oh, she was deeply involved. But now, she said, though she still volunteered politically, she was feeling somewhat cynical and bitter. She told me, with great frustration, that only about 1/3 of Americans voted in the last midterm election. Yes, this particular ward has really good turn-out, but she thought that over-all statistic should be much higher by now, after all the effort and work to change things. The trouble, she said, was in the lack of education of children about the government.
We wondered, together, why things have changed so much and why more people don’t vote. She expressed sympathy about the ones who were so busy with kids and had jobs which didn’t give time off to vote — like struggling single mothers working for minimum wage, as she pointed out. She was also compassionate about the ones who believe that the whole system is rigged, or say, “what’s the point?” They believe their vote doesn’t matter because their needs don’t seem to matter to the politicians. These are the disempowered ones and there’s terrible suffering because of this. But she was not sympathetic to the ones who really just don’t care enough to take the time to vote. She was angry about that.
Busy or not, rigged or not, I heartily agreed with her that we all should vote. We also agreed about how grave the situation in the world is now. It really is.
Then, from my mouth emerged a pep talk about not giving up. This is the time, I told her, to dig down and try harder. Keep persevering, amidst the obstacles and craziness. I said, and this is the time to pray.
There was a big silence for a second, when I said the “prayer” word. It really was apparent that The Universe had brought us together for this beautiful, deeply connected moment. We had heard each other’s heart-felt despair and agreed, this is, indeed, the time to pray. “Yes,” she said quietly, “I’m praying.” To me, our brief, but authentic connection was a prayer.
Oddly, at that moment, the internet suddenly came back on. A big buzz spread through the room. I looked behind me in the line, and there were perhaps 25 people in back of me, some patient, and some impatient, to do their early voting. I was so impressed by the turn-out at this time, mid-morning. Then I was handed a ballot and trotted over to vote.
But in the last few words of that exchange with the volunteer, I saw some new hope in her eyes. I feel hopeful, too, because I believe people are waking up to their togetherness and their importance….the importance of their voice, their ray of Light, their contribution.. As each person realizes how significant she or he is, and how much their energy affects the health and happiness of so many others, then the world may change as we each take responsibility for our creation.
As it’s always said, transformation starts in the heart and mind of each individual first. We each need to do our inner work to become judgment-free, bully-free, compassionate, respectful, wise, forgiving, and most especially, appreciative of others and our Divine, Infinite Self. It’s a powerful inside job, and it’s yours to do, and mine to do…for the benefit of us all. For we are One; One consciousness, one heart, one being on the most fundamental level. All this belief in separation is a really bad dream.
So, will you go vote? Can we effect change by voting? I think about it like this: every vote is an intention. Every vote is an energetic impulse into the collective consciousness. Why not make every effort you possibly can to do it? By the way, I think early voting is still available all this weekend!
Together we can evolve, so don’t give up. Identify the mental saboteur within, and keep aspiring to open your heart. This is the time. If you need some help, remember to meditate, pray, visualize, whatever suits you, and, by all means, reach out. My job is to help. We are each an emanation of Spirit. Spirit is in the house and at the polling place near you!