Like many Americans, I've been deeply impacted by our current election.
Regardless of which candidate you vote for, there is no denying that there are a lot of BIG FEELINGS going on in the US election.
There is a lot of fear for what the results could mean for our country.
And it feels like there is a lot at stake.
For many reasons I won't go into because this is not meant to be a political post, I'm with Hillary Clinton. And I'm sickened, offended and deeply saddened by a lot of Donald Trump's behavior.
So I did an experiment. I decided to see if I could send loving kindness to Donald Trump.
First, I did some loving kindness to myself and then towards Hillary Clinton. That was relatively easy and natural.
Then, I started saying the phrases of loving kindness while picturing Donald Trump.
May you have a deep sense of happiness, wellbeing, and ease.
May you feel safe and protected.
May you be healthy and strong, and accept your limitations.
May you be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May you be held in loving kindness.
As I sent Donald Trump some love, something really powerful happened.
At first, I struggled.
I thought; "May you have a deep sense of happiness, wellbeing, and ease." And all I could do was picture his annoying hairstyle and squinty eyes. His angry demeanor.
As I thought; "May you feel safe and protected," I saw him lashing out at Hillary, interrupting her, saying she didn't have a Presidential "look." I saw the types of women he surrounds himself with, women whose main redeeming quality is their physical appearance rather than their experience.
I saw him as an aggressive attacker of women, not someone I would want to protect.
And then something happened.
As I continued to send loving kindness to Trump, saying; "May you be free from suffering and the causes of suffering," a lump formed in my throat.
I started crying. I felt a deep emotion I cannot even name. I felt a tingling in my throat.
Suddenly, I thought of all the women whose voices I want to hear.
I thought of all the women who have been silenced. By men, by other women, by themselves.
And I tapped into how deeply I want women, myself included, to be free, to be heard, to be empowered.
I also felt the ways in which I treat myself how Donald treats women. I judge and criticize myself, I focus on my physical appearance as if it's the main validation of my worth, I discount my expertise and experience, I interrupt myself.
I don't like Donald Trump because he represents a side of myself, and a side of society, that I have a very hard time loving.
But this aspect of myself and of the world needs to be loved.
This is one way to experience and heal the anger, the fear, the shame and the lack of control I've been feeling. By sending loving kindness to Trump, I was able to open and shift something in myself.
I had never experienced the benefits of that old expression "love your enemy" in a profound way until right now.
So I invite you to try on this loving kindness practice with a new lens.
Whoever you're most upset by in the world right now, whatever social injustice or macro issue is keeping you up at night, see if you can send loving kindness to that person or situation.
It's easy to send love to the victims of social injustice, but can you send it to the perpetrators? What does that bring up for you?
Send some love to your enemies with this free guided meditation...and notice how it opens wounds and heals you: Loving Kindness.
Vanessa Loder is an entrepreneur, speaker and writer whose mission is to support women in creating fulfilling lives aligned with their passions and values.
Here is a free Values Assessment tool to help you get clear on your values.
Vanessa received her MBA from Stanford University and is the Co-Founder of Mindfulness Based Achievement, the New MBA, which teaches high potential women leaders how to lean in without burning out. You can read more at Vanessa's blog or find her on twitter @vanessaloder.