Watching the American elections unfold is a bit like going to the dentist. A harsh light gets shone on what’s rotten within us or needs healing, then, hopefully, the right tooth get extracted. From my vantage point across the ocean, this time round it seemed like the wrong tooth got extracted. But here’s a thought that might help make sense of this seeming tragedy. The current teeth are just placeholders for the future generation. What if we see ourselves at the beginning of the story instead of at the end of it? Perhaps what is really happening is the shedding of a great nation’s milk teeth?
When my son was a year and a half he cracked one of his front teeth. It looked perfectly normal for a number of years but then eventually it started to rot. A dentist in Switzerland insisted that it be kept as a placeholder for the teeth underneath but it looked terrible and was destroying his confidence. Fortunately I got a second opinion from a dentist I liked and respected while visiting family in SA. This dentist (who had even fixed elephant teeth!) said that both teeth now had abscesses under them and this could adversely affect the next generation of teeth. While they were placeholders for future teeth it was too risky to keep them and the teeth below would be far better off if these two were both removed even though the one looked healthy.
Or perhaps what I’m really looking at is simply a tricky little dentist’s mirror that I can’t yet look into?
How does this apply?
Always there are tiny mirrors involved, and, though we may not like what we see, eventually we have to look into our own deep interior and admit: the rot we would like to ignore or turn our eyes away from is actually our own. Can we catch a glimpse, perhaps even own a tiny portion, of our own collective shadow reflected back to us in this mirror called global politics? Perhaps its time for us to change more than mere window dressing?
Take a certain front tooth that’s currently rather troublesome right now. What an enormous service to humanity he is currently providing by wearing the collective shadow for such an extended period. What one resists persists. What is he trying to show us?
All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth?
How about a toolkit for owning your own shadow? Here’s a great one.
Are we trying to fix rather than own what’s in the mirror?
Take this crystal ball projection test
what do you see in your future?
1. we are going somewhere scary?
2. thought candy of the dentist within?
3. sudden shedding of an old persona?
4. a mad cow?
5. confusion? / no space for the future/ new ways
6. radical no story? / allowing space
7. an open widow?
8. a unique expression?
6 leads to 7 leads to 8?
How to explore owning what each of us sees? Or how to find the courage to open the window and stay present with whatever feelings arise?
Reclaiming and recycling what’s currently in the mirror.
Is one of these tried out dried out hopefully died out personas yours?
Finders keepers. You get the pleasure of turning straw into gold
What about positive mirrors?
Here’s a powerful article by Brian Johnson on this topic to also see the positive mirror
This article is also an inspired call for us all to take positive action.