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Listen

I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that the world is a darker and more volatile place right now. 2016 seems to have brought simmering tensions and lurking fears into sharp focus, culminating in the drama that’s surrounded the American presidential election.

Underlying all of this is fear of course. And deep, deep pain. People don’t voluntarily vote for destruction and division unless their backs are against the wall and they feel like there is no other option.

And now we are left with a world in turmoil and more people hurting.

But now…

…well, we’ve woken up in a brave new world and we must start the work of healing where we are and with what we’ve got.

Two things strike me now, in the aftermath

Firstly, no one seemed to expect this result. Just as no one expected Brexit. But these tensions have been growing for years. Decades. Generations.

Secondly, throwing insults at anyone who doesn’t share your views will never convince them to change their views.

What can we do?

The way forward is through connection and listening.

We need to connect with people in our communities. Not just people who share our views and values, but the people who push our buttons – who, if we’re really honest with ourselves, make us cringe.

And we need to listen to what they have to say. Not listen in order to answer, but listen in order to understand.

Because we can only move forward when we have rediscovered some common ground. And we can only do that when we truly listen and hold space.

Go gently xx

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