It Begins With Saying “Hello” to Your Neighbor”
I must begin this piece with my personal confession. I voted not for a particular candidate, but rather to keep the right to vote alive. The outcome for me, was a bitter pill, and it took me a day,
then a week, then two to melt from the shock. I may never fully melt. I wallowed in
hopelessness before I pulled myself up by the bootstraps to come to terms with my feelings.
As I continue to thaw, I am deciding who I am going to be as a result of this election. I could be
frightened, angry, rebellious, or I could work with the election outcome from a new plate of
possibility. I choose the latter. I need to be determined about what my reactions and priorities
will be. My hopelessness quiets as I empower myself to make responsible choices.
I have decided to reconnect. I find myself saying “hello” to my neighbor, after living next door
to them for 10 years. I say “yes” to invitations, and offer “I love you” to my spouse, my dog,
and my plants for no reason at all. I have no idea, nor does anyone, about the future, but as I
follow my choice to reconnect, my life begins to feel sacred again. It is time.
This is the time to remember we are sacred beings, in a sacred life, living on a sacred planet.
This is the time to remember everything affects everything, affects everything. This is a time not
to give up, give out, or give in. This is a time to pick up our choice and hone it like a well-oiled
engine. To do this we need tools.
Below are a few tools to assist you as you continue in your own sacred journey.
Choose to reconnect. We have become disconnected from ourselves, from each other, and from
the natural world. How we arrived here is less relevant then what we intend to do about our
fragmented ways of being. Our judgments and prejudices disconnect us. If we begin to monitor
the thoughts within our chattering minds, we will find a good majority of them derive around
judgment and prejudice. Originally designed as innate survival tactics, we have creatively taken
these into the extreme realm of isolation and bigotry. That hurts.
Feel the feelings, move to education, move to action. Feelings disregarded go underground,
often into physical illness. What kept us healthy in the past is no longer enough. We must
recognize the mind/emotion/body connection and honor the complex nature of the beings that we
are. Recognizing our feelings on any particular matter is the first step towards healthy selfunderstanding. Educating ourselves, learning the truth, then taking action is proactive, transformational and ultimately helpful.
Give permission and screw up courage. Seek to understand reality. This requires we read
more than the headlines and think about more than what we are having for dinner tonight. This
is not to diminish the challenges and complexities of survival in daily life, however, the luxury of
operating within the parameters of illusion/delusion is what steered us into these waters in the
We can angst, if we wish, over the ills of the day. But then ask, “How do I choose to respond to
the needs of the hour?” Quiet yourself and listen. Grassroots initiatives stimulate and inspire
resurgence of progressive action into new economy and ways of life. Power is in our choice.
And, for the moment, we still have that. It begins by saying “hello” to our neighbors.
Melissa Pickett is a retired counselor, and spiritual teacher living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She
is the curator of a newly-forming non-profit organization called Reconnect-Today, a grass-roots
initiative whose mission is reconnection.