The election is upon us, democracy itself feels like it’s hanging in the balance, and man, it’s stressing me out.
How about you?
While any reasonable person who keeps up with the news would determine that our anxiety is probably justified, it sure isn’t empowering.
And I’ve been doing concrete actions to get out the vote, but it hasn’t changed the way I’ve been feeling.
I realized that I needed to somehow reclaim my personal power and connect with other like-minded citizens in a positive uplifting way that was a little different from my usual activism. But how? But what?
The Power of the Collective Pivot
When we’re mired in the reality of our own or the world’s problems, we feel heavy. We experience everything as physical matter. But it’s important to remind ourselves that we’re not just matter. We’re also energy.
Energy gives life to matter. We need to ground our real world actions in our highest energy—and to do that, we must take the time to really honor our core values. So how do we normally do that?
Traditionally, that’s done with shared rituals. Participating in shared rituals based in our highest intentions renews and energizes us, which in turn, helps sustain us through challenges and conflicts.
Of course, this is the core of all religious or spiritual communion. But in a secular society, most people are not religious and experience no communal rituals in their daily lives. And, as a culture, we really don’t have shared rituals for honoring our secular beliefs or our civic bonds beyond perhaps, singing the national anthem at sporting events.
This, I decided, is a big yawning social chasm that must be filled, and I might as well start.
Which is why I’m doing a live-streaming event on election night eve called “Light a Candle for Democracy” where I’ll be leading a global candle lighting with people all over the world for the democratic principles we hold dear such as the rule of law, equality, and one person–one vote.
The Secular as Sacred
“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”
Even though civic values and ideals may not be spiritual in the usual sense, they matter just as much. In order for these secular ideals to truly serve us, we must stop taking them for granted and consciously treasure them in a way that is both concrete and symbolic. And a ritual does exactly that.
We give energy to what we believe in and, right now, the core values of this democracy need our energy. And what better time than the night before one of the most important elections in our history?
This event will be a collaboration of thousands of Americans who want to create a positive, uplifting experience that interrupts the fear and disempowered anger. By lighting candles in unison across the country, we can stand together and honor our shared political and cultural ideals with reverence: Democracy. The rule of law. One person—one vote. Equality. Diversity. Tolerance. Civility.
What it Means to Stand in Your Power
I’m not saying that we can all simply imagine the future we want and it will magically happen.
We don’t know what will happen on election day. And if the election is too close to call, we don’t know what will happen in the days and weeks afterward. The country may be in turmoil.
If so, we must each stand in our power to defend what is right. And to truly stand in our power, we must be grounded in our highest values.
“Light a Candle for Democracy” is one way to honor our democracy through ritual. To breathe into our civic ideals and treat our individual acts of voting as precious and critical. To stop and remind ourselves and our children what matters to us and why.
When we step out of our routines to stop and immerse ourselves in our highest ideals, these ideas can inform our actions as we move forward.
Sometimes we don’t notice a void until it’s filled, and my hope is that people who participate in “Light a Candle for Democracy” will experience first hand how a national, but not nationalistic, ritual around our shared civic values can nourish and restore the human spirit in a real way. This in turn, can give people the strength and patience to embrace the genuine role that each citizen has in the ongoing preservation of this democratic experiment.
Will you join me? It’s easy and simple to participate. Go to https://lightacandlefordemocracy.com to learn more.