Watching this nightmare of an election from afar in Costa Rica has given me a new perspective. It is like a puppet show…but it is yet to be determined who exactly plays the role of the puppets, the audience, or the puppet master. It depends who you ask I guess. We all have a different answer to this question, a different opinion…yet none of us are wrong.
It has occurred to me many times recently: What if politics is just a big scam? A massive distraction, pulling us away from what truly is important in the world? What if it isn't real? What if it is only an illusion?
I grew up in a small, conservative farming community in Eastern Oregon. A tight-knit area where everybody knows your name. A simple, but hard life. A community of hard-working farmers, with dirt under their fingernails and weathered skin from years of working outside amongst the elements. It's a good life, a satisfying life. An ideal place to raise a family. I credit the simple life and the small town I was raised in as a major contributing factor to my character today.
But at 18, I knew I was ready to get out into the world and see more. The thought of moving to a place where no one knew me, was thrilling. I could walk down the street and not have every person I passed by know my life history. It felt like freedom. I was young and naïve and had no idea about anything in life. I was oblivious to politics, the world's largest reality show. Sometimes I wish I could return to that naïve bubble of not knowing, not caring, back to the peace of mind of oblivion.
When I began college at the University of Oregon it was like going from one extreme to another. Living in a large city, surrounded by a diverse, liberal crowd of people. Everyone looked different, everyone dressed different. Everyone was so accepting of each other, and our differences were celebrated. In this open-minded environment I began to pay attention to what was happening in the world around me. And I also credit this open environment as another major contributing factor to my character today.
And now here I stand, 17 years later, stuck in the middle. I have a farming community of family and friends on one side of the fence, fighting for what they feel is right. I have another group of loved ones on the other side, afraid for their future for reasons I understand. Somehow, I see both sides. I recognize everyone's right to feel the way they do, for their own reasons. And I respect and support their points of view, and their right to express them.
That is supposed to be what makes America so great. We should be able to celebrate each other's differences and accept people for who they are and acknowledge their right to feel that way, whether we agree with them or not.
We all have different paths up this mountain we call life. The only people doing it wrong are those of us running around at the bottom of the mountain, yelling at everyone else that they are choosing the wrong path. Allow people the freedom and space in life to be who they are and to carve their own path.
We all have different reasons for voting the way we do, or for not voting. I don't care who you voted for. If you're nice to me, I will be nice to you. If you're an asshole to me, I will still try to be nice to you, because you obviously need it the most. And because I'm not an asshole, even to assholes. (Don't push me though.)
What I do know is that money, status, wealth…these things do not make you who you are. It is the content of your character that matters. When we leave this Earth, and this life, we don't get to take our stuff with us, our houses, and cars, our diplomas and degrees, our trophies, our victories, our jewelry, our guns, or who we voted for. The only thing we get to take with us when we leave is the person we are, the good we did while here, and the way we made others feel.
What if I told you this truly is all that matters in life? Would you believe me? Or would you go back to yelling in all caps on your "facebook friend's" timeline about what an idiot they are and how they are the problem with the world? If those last hateful words, and the way they made someone feel, were all you could take with you when you leave, would you still say them?
Remember you can never un-say words. You can never take away how your words made someone feel. But you can apologize. Two of the hardest things to say in the human language are "I was wrong" and "I am sorry". Being able to recognize your wrongs, own them and apologize for them, says a lot more about your character than your lashing out in anger does. It's never too late to be the person you want to be.
I ask you to stop what you are doing right now. Turn off your thoughts, dial down your hate and turn up the love. Close your eyes, clear your head. Take deep breaths. Imagine you are moving to a tropical, deserted island. You will have all the fresh food, water, shelter, and basic items you need to survive. You can bring 5 things with you, any 5 items in the world that your heart desires. Any 5 things that will make the rest of your days, on this tropical island, happy ones.
Let us assume your loved ones can come and visit you as they please, but which 5 things would you want/need there with you every day. Stop and think about it. Picture your life there, what you would do every day, how you would spend your hours and pass the time?
It's hard isn't it? To put all material needs aside and dig down to the core of who you are. Your true values. Maybe the answers to these questions are much simpler than you can comprehend at the moment. But after some thought I hope you are able to answer. These 5 things are all you need in life to be happy. And happiness should be our only goal.
Here are my 5 items:
1) my husband
2) a dog or cat
2) a hammock
3) a laptop for writing (but no facebooking allowed)
4) my favorite book so I can read it over and over
And if I'm being honest it was difficult for me to come up with 5 things. I could be happy with 2 or 3. When you truly put life into perspective like this, you see what is important, what is meaningful, and what is complete B.S.
My heart is breaking for America. Not because of who won the election, but because of how viciously we are all turning on each other. No matter who was elected, they will not be responsible for making America great again. That is on you, and on me. And it begins with love and kindness. If you truly loved yourself, you could never hurt another. So let's get back to the core of life, the reason for it, the golden rule. Treat others as you want to be treated. Sprinkle drops of kindness wherever you go. Be the person your dog thinks you are.
I have seen way too much hate and judgement recently. But I also see sparkling glimmers of hope behind the smoke. There is a heavy, negative, suffocating energy lingering in the atmosphere right now and I hope we all have the decency and courage inside our souls to join hands, light some sage, and burn that toxic shit to the ground.
Peace. Gracias. Namaste. OneLove. Pura Vida.
Kari Pinkerton Silcox
It would be a tragedy to die, having never really lived. Which is why my husband Andy and I quit our jobs, sold our house and decided to chase our dreams. We moved to Costa Rica without a plan, and this is the story of our adventure.