It’s gotta be better than poking myself in the eye for the next four years
I’ve decided that, for the next four years, I am going to use Donald Trump as a radical spiritual teacher.
This follows a practice I began in my life a few years ago of ceasing to view difficult relationships as just difficult relationships, but rather as the greatest spiritual teachers I could have.
To be sure, Donald Trump is a pain in the ass. Which means that he is the perfect person to help mold me – and so many of us – into a badass beacon of light during the next four years.
I’ve heard many people say recently, “when they go low, we go high.”
I love this.
But when I’m talking to myself (which is far too often), I say it a bit differently, like this:
When Donald Trump and his cronies go dark….I go dark, too, but only as a way of getting to even more light.
It’s 9:02 am and almost time for my morning nap, so let me get right down to how this works. Here are the basic steps:
1. Watch new President do something that is hard to stomach or incites rage or sadness or any number of other difficult feelings.
2. Instead of taking immediate action, such as yelling at son for picking his nose or ranting at people I don’t know on Facebook (“I don’t know you Judy, but Bob does, so I’m going to try and keep this respectful, but how you can believe such a pile of garbage must be some indication of exactly what kind of human being you are.”), sit butt down and BE WITH THESE DIFFICULT FEELINGS WITHOUT DISTRACTION. Recognize that emotions are simply energy that need direction in order to flow. Take whatever action is necessary – cry, punch a pillow, scream, fall asleep – until they have left my body.
3. Write down nasty thoughts I am having about Donald. (e.g., he is horrible, he hates and judges other people, he needs to tan under his eyes as well if he’s going to really commit, etc.)
4. For each thought I have about him, ask, where does this also live in me? Commit to one step I can take to heal that part of me and bring more peace and compassion to the world.
5. Eat some chocolate or hug a cat (permitting she’ll allow).
The idea here is not that I am absolving Donald Trump – or anyone else I do this exercise with – of his responsibilities. Nor am I making his actions ok. (Please note that somewhere in here, very often, when I feel called to, I will make some phone calls or a donation and do my civic duty.)
BUT. After I’ve done these things and I’m simply at the point of emotions going around and around in my head and body, I need a little direction out of the hell hole. Otherwise, based on my past experience of so many years, feelings of rage and sadness and depression will consume me and end up making my own little piece of the world darker and less bearable for those around me.
And that doesn’t help anyone.
In the likely event that none of this is making any sense, here’s an example.
The other day, I watched as Donald and a bunch of other old, white men signed an executive order that essentially restricts reproductive health care for low-income women all over the globe. It was hard to watch these men, none of whom have a uterus or come from the countries in question – do this.
I was enraged. Pissed off at their self-righteousness. So incredibly angry at their lack of ability to empathize, ask women in low-income countries what they need, and LISTEN.
I was feeling helpless.
An hour later, a dear friend called to tell me about a new career direction she is taking into mental health counseling.
Fifteen minutes into the conversation, I realized I had been doing almost all of the talking, congratulating her but then quickly launching into a near-dissertation about how she should proceed, what challenges she would face, why this was a great move for her, etc., blah, blah.
I hung up the phone a bit uneasy.
And then it hit me.
A bit of this new President lives in all of us, you guys.
The point here is not that we compare or justify the scale – obviously I am not signing orders that will affect millions of women around the world.
But I do have interactions every day in which I can question exactly how much I am trying to understand people and listen deeply to their experiences, instead of trying to control the conversation and interject with ideas that I know better.
I am an incredibly supportive and empathic listener in much of my life.
But at times, I fail miserably.
Usually during these times, it is when my ego is acting like a five-year-old.
As I was talking to my friend, my ego took the reins out of some fear that my friend would push past me and suddenly build a coaching practice that is larger and “better” than mine.
This is not a fun feeling to admit to myself or anyone else.
But the other day, I put on my big-girl pants, sat with my feelings, asked them what they had to teach me, and then called my friend and apologized.
As I hung up the phone this time, I felt better – and lighter.
It’s going to be a long four years, you guys. And so the most radical thing I can think to do is to use this new President – who has turned everything upside down and in a few short days, taken a knife to many things I care about – as a life-changing, kick ass HEALING TOOL.
I am determined that Donald Trump will help me bring more light into the world if it’s the last thing I do.
I’m sharing this not because I think I know best. I don’t. I only know what works for me.
But I welcome conversations to share ideas and experiences about how to navigate everything that life is throwing at us these days.
So, I’d love to know: what is it that gives you even a bit of light and the idea that perhaps positive change is afoot these days?
Share in the comment section – you never know what might help someone else. <3