The outcome of the recent election has caused me to think deeply about what together means.  Come together. Stand together. Stronger together. We are in this together. These are phrases I have heard and voiced countless times in the last few weeks. Words I have also heard plentifully in this span of time are: misogyny, racism, sexual violence, white supremacy, homophobia, fear, darkness, pride, elation, relief, reform, shame, triumph, celebration, and rage. I have heard and seen the phrases, “send them back to their country”, “protesters are whiners”, and “red states are deplorable” acting as shields and armor protecting the vulnerability we all feel as humans, especially during this charged time. I think of my extended family, immigrants from Mexico who are hard working and freedom revering U.S. citizens who have contributed for nearly 50 years to the good of this country they cherish.

Up until a few months ago, I was nestled in a state and community that, by and large, voted the same as I did in this 2016 Presidential Election. Now, I live in a place that voted, as a whole, quite the opposite. People I love and respect voted differently than me. I voted differently than people who care for and respect me. And my deepest hope and belief is that we continue to love and respect each other through these aftershocks, me and my people. I hold faith that we can and will stand together. Relationships in our country are ending and reconfiguring through the stress and tensions and pain of last Tuesday’s outcome. In times of trial and change, wounds and fundamental differences are often illuminated causing many versions of death and rebirth for people and systems bringing about much grief and uncertainty. As a therapist, during each first session and informed consent with clients, I talk about how growth and healing happen in unexpected ways and often issues feel amplified before they begin to resolve. I believe this is also applicable for change as a nation. We cannot change what we do not see and the beauty of it is that we are very much able to shift and heal what we are willing to acknowledge.

In the midst of all of the post-election reactions, I have seen the images of racist symbols and hateful words spray painted on homes and colleges in Montana, Oregon and other states across the country along with soaring reports of cultural intimidation. Memes glorifying the phrase, “Grab her by the _ _ _ _ _” abound and young women are having this shouted at them as they walk down neighborhood streets.  I have also read and heard from children who have been bullied and threatened in the aftermath or are simply afraid for themselves, their friends and their families because of the tone of the world right now. These parts of the post-election fallout, I cannot stand for. I ask my people not to stand for this either because it is happening and it is real.

In its definition, the word together means to go about something either jointly, simultaneously or in proximity of others. Standing together doesn’t mean holding identical mindsets or actions, it means finding what our intersections are and abiding by them either with or near those we relate to and care for. That’s the key – we as people, neurobiologically, need each other to survive and certainly to thrive. Connection – healthy and genuine connection to ourselves and others – is the key to the change we wish to see. This doesn’t mean always agreeing or buttoning up our emotions or opinions. It means sitting in the discomfort and the mess of disagreement and discord until the road, the next direction presents itself. It means letting your truth be heard as this helps us know our level of proximity to each other and to our own wholeness. Scary yet necessary. My hope and my plight is that we as individuals, families, communities, as a country and as a whole can find the intersections and inroads of our varied values and sit with this discomfort of uncertainty with grace and safety and productivity.

Big changes are in process and we are going to need each other as much as ever so, let us blaze these new roads together.


 From the depths, they rise


They cry out


White hot flames of loneliness

Agony to feel

From the depths, We rise

Disenfranchised, they speak

Deprived and afraid


Shoving it down

Ruby flames becoming


Disenfranchised, We speak

Yielding embers

To warm the hands and feet of their souls


Driving causes

Brake and accelerate


To warm the hands and feet of Our souls

Glowing fire evolves

Their connection, the link to the pack

The warm Animal


By the satisfaction of


Our connection, Our link to the pack

Spent efforts


In relationship to another

Returns flames from cinders


In the fight

In relationship to One Another

Blaze the way

Light the path, fiercely


Move with love

Pause with courage


Stand Together

~Angela Lehr