I’m not gonna lie: on some level, I looked forward to the debate last night with a special sort of villainous glee.

Was this the moment he would crumble and, bawling like an infant, dash off stage? Go completely nuts? Finally hit someone in the face? Part of me watched with a delicious, dark excitement. But another part of me, my heart, was saddened; none of this felt good and I kind of wanted to throw up.


Because I know that in my worst moments, when I’m believing my darkest thoughts, I am Donald Trump.

Maybe that sounded weird. Stick with me here for a sec:

  • Although I don’t overtly denigrate women, every time put myself down or believe that my worth is in any way tied to my looks (and I do that sometimes), I am Donald Trump.
  • Although I don’t want to ban Muslims or anyone else, every time I point a finger at someone else and believe my “problems” have something to do with them (and I do that sometimes), I’m Donald Trump.
  • Although I’m not a multi-zillionaire, every time I believe that without money in the bank I’m not respectable, acceptable or free (and I do that sometimes), I’m Donald Trump.
  • Although I haven’t threatened to hit anyone in the face, every time I choose from anger, from FEAR, from lack (and I do that sometimes), I’m Donald Trump.

When we forget that we all have the capacity for everything we despise in others, even if it’s in the form of the subtlest passing thought wrapped in the most believable disguise, we disconnect from the truth. If we’re real about it, we ALL know what it’s like to feel disconnection, to want to wall up our hearts and protect ourselves, to lash out in anger, in fear.

This is the truth in the fiction.

The fiction is that we are separate entities, that I am just this body, that I am not inherently Love, that you can hurt me. The truth in that fiction is that we DO forget who we are, we often believe the thoughts, that sometimes, we believe our own lies.

On a daily basis, subtle thoughts flash through my mind that I’m not enough this or that, that I’m unlovable, that I have to protect myself and erect walls. The thing is, I know the truth, and I don’t believe those thoughts (or any thoughts), at least for very long. Ego serves to keep us physically alive, but we overgeneralize its function, and Donald Trump often embodies that overgeneralization. His platform depends upon others’ absolute belief in their own fears and limitations.

The truth is that if I’m honest and disengage from the ego games, it’s not so hard to see myself in him. When I see myself, I can work with that. But the block to seeing myself is this: We love to maintain certain ideas about who we think we are, and if we allow ourselves to see ourselves in others, to see our own reflections, we then have to either reject or allow compassion for what we see. We can either harden or soften; accept the truth or resist it. If we accept the truth and allow compassion for ourselves, then we automatically begin to experience compassion for others. And when we feel compassion for others, we can no longer use them as a foil for our own self-fictions. Rejecting you is easier, but it is also rejecting myself, and this causes me pain. That pain can either wake me up, or I can go deeper into denial. To come from a place of understanding and respect is usually not the ego’s first choice—it takes the competition, the one-upmanship and the us-against-themness out of it: all of ego’s favorite self-image-maintenance tricks.

The truth is that where there is compassion, real change is possible.

Even if you hate me, have zero respect for me and throw me out the door, if I hold the knowing that I am capable of everything I resist in you and thus have compassion for you (and for myself), then I’m capable of seeing the truth … which is that any fear, anger or hate coming from you is simply a misunderstanding and that we are both only Love. When I see that the fiction is that you believe your thoughts, I can also see that tendency in myself, and I can sit down at a table with you, open-hearted, and talk—and that takes a lot more courage than yelling at you or complaining or gossiping to someone else. You may accept or reject yourself and thus me, but rather than coming back at you with more fear, hate, anger and shutting off my heart, I can instead soften, ACCESS my heart and move through any misperception into compassion and into love-inspired action. Heart-accessed, love-inspired action is what brings ourselves, each other and thus the world into higher conscious awareness and creates transformation on every level. Without heart-inspired action there are no bird-rescues, no Michael Jacksons and no Martin Luther Kings. Yikes.

Go deep. What did you REALLY want to see last night? Was it a brawl? A breakdown? A circus? Even “going high”, coming from a place of superiority, feels bad, doesn’t it? But “going high”, coming from a place of acceptance of ourselves, from compassion, is simply the holding out of a hand, a nod of understanding; the gift of me not believing even the lies you believe about yourself, and the reminder of who we both really are.

My favorite moment in the debate last night, by a million miles, was Donald’s final comment: his praise of Hillary’s character. Out of the blue, a strike of lightening, a moment of compassion, of truth, and, intended or not, a moment of Love and transformation. Are we surprised by this? Shocked or confused or even angry that Donald Trump uttered those words?? That he stepped away, if just for a moment, from playing the part in which we’d cast him? Whether his comments were strategically-minded or not, they were the best reminder: Even at our worst, in an instant, we can remember, we can be reminded of who we really are, and come back to Love. To gratitude. To compassion. To the knowing that there are no villains and that the “bad guy” is simply the part of us we don’t want to accept. If that can come through this Donald Trump, who’s so embroiled in the fiction of fear that it’s his political platform, then it can certainly come from you and me. LiveLove&BU.

Also, here’s a compassionate action: Vote!

By Christy Harden M.S., CCC, Author/Integrative Health Consultant

Photograph by Alex Baker photography

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