• Franca Baroni

Discovering True Victory

No matter the result of this election, our country remains deeply divided and polarized. Victory – in our win/lose context – is fleeting and temporary. Who wins today becomes a loser tomorrow and who loses today is a winner tomorrow. This dynamic will continue to go on because this is how our political system is set up.

Along with this dynamic comes the hypnotic belief that when the “winner” is in charge the nation will change for the better. What is easily set aside is that almost half of the nation believes otherwise, and another good portion of the nation has long given up on both the winner and the looser. With winning often come inflated promises based on a house of cards as the skills that allow for a true lasting victory for the entire nation have never been learned, practiced or valued* on either sides of the political spectrum.

A logical consequence of the status quo is that in the long run little progress is ever made on the most pressing issues the country and our world face because most of the focus goes on winning next time. Although to every neutral observer the unproductivity of this dynamic is obvious, we continue to attach our expectations to this system merely out of habit and conscious & unconscious fantasies cultivated over time.

Research shows us that our brains are always looking for what is familiar, even if dysfunctional. Ninety percent of this familiar zone is in our unconscious. This explains why abused individuals often find themselves repeatedly in abusive relationships. Our attraction to what is familiar - even if dysfunctional and ineffective - happens in the collective brain of a nation too.

What has been unconsciously familiar to the brain of many nations whose identity emerged in a win/lose context are narcissistic mindsets and behaviors. Narcissism is a patriarchal wound of superiority and self-centeredness that thrives on win/lose and requires targets that have long lost their self-esteem and self-worth.

The United States is no different. Our country - which emerged from a massacre of native tribes and on the legacy of slavery - played a big role in “teaching” democracy to other nations while conducting countless military and other types of interventions labeled as humanitarian to foster their own political and corporate interests. Underneath the surface, our country – alongside many other countries- has long operated in fundamentally narcissistic ways with the resulting twisted understanding of power. Most notables examples are: the Judiciary, Congress and Executive have long been mingled despite the constitutional separation of their powers; and the delegation of power by We The People to politicians has led us to thinking of ourselves as winners and losers. No matter the slogans on the surface, these unconscious understandings run the entire political show, left and right. It comes to no surprise that every four to eight years, each side is left feeling in the hands of an abusive “leader” and the needs of citizens and our land are increasingly unmet.

Narcissism is destructive towards others and ultimately self-destructive. The gift of these times is that the unconscious narcissistic wound is in our front and backyard. The mingling of politics and law and the polarization of We The People are more obvious than ever.

How do we break our addiction for the dysfunctional familiar? How do we integrate our collective narcissistic wound and break out of our win/lose political system?

What breaks our attraction to the dysfunctional familiar political dynamics is our physiological heart.

Research has shown that our unconscious familiar circuits in the brain are interrupted by coherent signals stemming from the heart. Our heart signals become coherent when we feel renewing emotions such as kindness, courage, compassion, acceptance regardless of what our belief system is. There is no way to think our way into a new habit of behavior.

When our heart signals become coherent, not only we start to break the old familiar circuit, but we assist our entire body to move into a synchronized state. In this state of physiological synchronization - also called coherence - all systems in our body work together in harmony with little energy wasted.

The same principles apply to our collective body. If as citizens, we learn to enter a state of coherence through the activation of our nation's public heart , we support the synchronization of all systems of our collective body into a more productive whole. Moving into coherence as a nation does not require that we have the same beliefs. It only asks us to cultivate renewing emotions. The more we cultivate renewing emotions the more our sense of win/lose becomes futile allowing us to access solutions that none of our brains could have recognized in the old familiar circuit.

The eternal wait for our political savior ends when we finally accept that our nation is a mirror of each and every one of us.

True victory is the humble recognition of EVERY citizen that not only the best qualities of our nation belong to everyone but also the collective unconscious behavior reflected in our politicians and their supporters.

True victory for our nation is owning together the costs of our unconscious collective narcissistic wound and breaking the illusion that the “winner” can bring forth soul restoration for the nation. As long as we declare ourselves “better than”, consciously and unconsciously blame, demonize, point fingers and refuse to see the underlying needs of those who think differently, these collective wounds will continue to haunt us and with that our illusions and delusions about who got it right.

True victory is accepting the call to grow up and no longer look for a father and mother to hold our hand.

Learning to move into a state of coherence as citizens opens the door to genuine national reconciliation. Learning that leading from the heart is not a buzz word but an actual physiological state that we can enter at will is key for a breakthrough. With the complex challenges ahead, there is no longer time to waste our precious energy in the dysfunctional games of our brains.

Our hearts know how to lead our nation into genuine leadership and to become a productive contributor to the world. Today, let’s celebrate that these times give us the opportunity to wake up to what has been hidden and to offer compassion and forgiveness to our own humanity. Let’s celebrate the many wonderful qualities of our citizenry and nation, in particular our power to choose again, each moment.

* Effective Tips for Politicians & Citizens:

1. Cultivate renewing emotions with Self and others;

2. Have the courage to be vulnerable & challenge our own familiar dysfunctional habits;

3. Speak on our own behalf and experience only;

4. Speak less & listen with all our senses;

5. Assume we do not know anything;

6. Stop assuming we are representing people’s voices;

7. Practice feeling into and listening to our own genuine needs, the needs of others & the needs of our nation & the world;

8. Gather our wisdom & insight for action from the public heart;

9. Remember that what impacts us, others and our world are mostly the quality of our emotions (words represent less than 7% of what others sense);

10. Question our motivations frequently to determine alignment with our core values.

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