Spiritual lessons from knocking on doors for the 2020 Elections in Maricopa County, Arizona
On the weekend before the 2020 U.S. elections, I had the opportunity to travel from my home in Los Angeles, California, to Phoenix, Arizona, located in the infamous Maricopa County we’ve been seeing on the news’ election maps.
The plan was to knock on doors to get out the vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for President/Vice-President, and Mark Kelly for U.S. Senate.
As a spiritual life coach and teacher, I made clear my intention for this trip: to use the election experience to practice what I call “high consciousness” in the midst of worldly activity.
Especially in what appears to be a highly divisive country where people angrily denounce others, I sought to create an experience of calm and detachment, while still being purposeful.
You see, I don’t approach spirituality as a way to escape the world. I invite ways to incorporate spirituality into my everyday living.
In other words, rather than meditating alone on the mountaintop (which is a great practice, by the way, to commune with nature), my ongoing practice is to bring this mountaintop consciousness to my life.
There’s a popular Zen Buddhist koan (a paradoxical riddle that provokes enlightenment) that illustrates this: “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”
When we reach enlightenment, the outside worldly conditions may not change or look any different. Change happens on the inside and the consciousness we bring to our activities.
Accompanying me on the trip to Phoenix were my fiancé Richard (a devout Catholic) and our dear friend Father Tom, who’s an Episcopal Priest.
Every morning in our car, right before we stepped out to knock on our first doors, we held our hands together and prayed.
We prayed for connection, understanding, safety and guidance.
And we prayed from a consciousness of Truth and knowing that all was well.
Even though we embody differing religious and spiritual traditions, Father Tom, in his prayers, invited us to each pray “in the language of our own heart.”
From there, we carried the energy of our prayers to our interactions with all these people we met at the doors.
Throughout the days we had such purpose, clarity and focus. We had specific households and names to reach, all with the intention that people voted and made their voice heard in these elections.
When we looked at the list of neighborhoods that needed work, I tapped into my intuition to guide us to choosing our neighborhood.
I felt like I was activating all the higher chakras.
Clarity and focus with the brow chakra. Energizing the throat chakra by engaging and talking with voters. Expressing the heart chakra as we connected with them (and the overwhelming response from these households was gratitude for our reaching out to them). We celebrated through the crown chakra as we marked off every name on our list.
I could tell that my consciousness was elevated when, on Election Day, we went to McDonald’s to get our morning coffee and I saw a woman dressed in full Trump regalia. She wore her MAGA hat, her Trump shirt and her mask emblazoned with the U.S. flag.
In the past, my reaction upon seeing a Trump supporter would’ve been one of caution and trepidation.
However, in this instance, my immediate response upon seeing her was one of joy, because I felt that all of us standing at McDonalds — me, Richard, Father Tom, and this woman — we all were putting democracy into action, where we each get to express ourselves freely.
After a full day of knocking on doors and talking to voters until darkness signaled the polls were closing soon, we finished reaching everyone on our voter lists and headed back to our AirBnB.
That’s when we turned on the tv to watch the election results.
And that’s where I had to really “up” my spiritual practice.
Spiritual practices tend to be easier when you’re sitting in the quiet, maybe playing some nice meditation music in the background, with little distraction.
During the day times of our knocking on doors, even though we did get tired physically, our interactions with voters for the most part were very positive, and so it was easier to stay energized and “high-minded” while we were doing our get-out-the-vote work in the Phoenix neighborhoods.
However, as we watched the election returns, I noticed our collective energies deflate. There was no clear winner and a sense of foreboding grew.
When times are challenging and when you face some kind of adversity, that’s when it can be easy to forget your spiritual practices or to engage with them in the midst of difficulty.
But that’s when it’s important to engage in those activities that bring you back to center.
Sitting in front of the tv, we switched channels back and forth to see the different news, but they all carried an overwhelming message of doom and gloom emanating from the screen.
At some point, internally, I reached a limit where I couldn’t handle any more.
Quantum activist Amit Goswami says, “We can’t avoid negative emotions like anger and associated attack words, but we can pay attention when negative emotions happen.”
I noticed my emotions of anxiety, fear and foreboding were elevating, so I knew I needed to change my environment.
So, I left Richard and Tom in the living room and went to the bedroom to lay down.
I quieted my mind, closed my eyes, and breathed in the darkness for about 20 minutes. Then, I took a long hot shower.
After the shower, I walked back to the living room and told them I was done watching the news for the night and ready to go to bed.
Like I said earlier, sometimes we need to do whatever we need to do to get us back to center, to feel grounded.
The next morning, the day after the elections, while drinking coffee, we started talking about the latest results and I noticed our stress levels rising again.
But then, Richard put out this question to all of us: “I know everything looks like it’s not going our way, but what do you feel?”
Richard wasn’t asking us about the feelings of our surface emotions that we were experiencing, but he was inviting us to answer through our intuition, what we felt in our gut.
His simple question quieted our thoughts and shifted the energy.
We all paused for a few seconds and a calm filled the space around the dining table.
Father Tom responded, “Deep inside, I feel we’re good.”
Richard replied the same way, “Yeah, deep inside, I feel we’re good.”
And then I gave my answer to his question, “Yeah, it’s all going to be okay.”
In that final conversation before we packed up to leave the AirBnB to get back on the road to Los Angeles, we each had turned to a place within, what both Father Tom and Richard called “deep inside.”
“Deep inside” is operating from that place of knowing, of turning away from the material world and tapping into an intuitive place of what felt true.
We weren’t discounting the material world and the hubbub of all the election activity, but we expanded our awareness to connect with the center of our own being.
In other words, “Being in the world, but not of it.” Chop wood, carry water.
No matter what might be happening in the world around us, “deep inside” is a place that lives within each of us that can’t be touched by the outside world.
Just like a storm passing over an ocean might make the waves seem unbearable, when you go deep under the surface, there’s a quiet calm and peace that exists.
“Deep inside” is the place from which I ultimately seek to live, move and have my being.
It might not always be easy to have this calm, peace and intuitive sense of knowing all the time, but that’s why spiritual practice is called a “practice.”
And the more we practice, the better we get at it, especially helpful in times when life seems most challenging.
Abundant Blessings and Namaste.
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A little about me…
My unique ability is helping people believe they can claim the driver’s seat of their lives. I do that by helping them figure out what’s really holding them back, get clear on their heart’s vision, and then fully supporting them in a safe and sacred space to bring that vision to reality.
I’m a spiritual life coach, and I also provide trainings and support for organizations and corporations on the topic of personal leadership. I’m also a newly published author of my book “The Creative Impulse: Answering the Highest Calling of Your Heart.”
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