Lots of us, especially women, hear the word “politics” and shut down. Oh no! I can hear you say. I’m not “political.” In the past few years there have been many unhappy family dinners and lots of people have ended relationships altogether over political ideologies.

There are those who believe that we are hopelessly polarized. I am not one of those people. I was fortunate to work as an Organizing Fellow on Health Care Reform with the Obama Administration. I learned, mindfully, to listen to everyone. I listened patiently. I listened to heartbreaking stories about Americans from all walks of life who shared their experiences about our broken health care system with me.

I heard from wealthy Republicans who had lost everything to medical debt. I heard from working class Democrats who didn’t want to lose their Cadillac health insurance plans provided through their trade unions. You name a health care story I heard it. I learned that there were no easy answers and that it was going to take decades to work out our problems and build an equitable system.

I’m an Independent, so it’s easy for me to listen to everyone. Well, not really…:) But, because I’m not caught up in the polarization of the left and the right I don’t find myself having to settle for zero sum options all the time. When it comes to mindfulness, it’s very important to have options.

We have so many things going on in the world which demand our attention. What is it which demands your attention? Is it climate? Is it wildlife? Is it healthcare? Is it food security? Any one of these things, or all of them, could be issues for which you would like to seek political solutions.

Here’s my suggestion…:) Be mindful…:) Leave the shouting to someone else. You can listen. Be patient. Smile. Understand that it takes a long time to make meaningful change. You can be political and be calm, in the moment. Take a deep breath, take a seat, have a cup of tea and have a chat.

Take your time. Find people like you. Take the long view and the high road.

This is how it starts. I’ll write some more soon…:)