It’s the night before Election Day... I cant sleep.
When Trump was elected in 2016 it was like a gut punch, and I didn’t know how we would survive this. I see now I was unaware in not seeing the full scope of the issue. But now here we are on the cusp of what we have been hoping would be and end... well kind of... at least a big chunk of it.
If there is one thing I’ve learned over the last 4 years is that this toxicity is far bigger than Trump. People sometimes think these far right militias, white supremacist, and other hateful people are new. They aren’t, they’ve just become more public and more bold. If we win, they aren’t going anywhere and they sure aren’t going quietly. If we win this is by no means the end at all.
So here we are... we don’t really know what the election results will be, or what fall out may come.
Am I safe? Will we be ok? These are the questions at our most basic human survival level. To be clear- many of us feel this way (and have felt this for some time). If you don’t, congratulations, please vote with us in mind.
In the swirl of this uncertainty how do we stay somewhat ok-ish? I am not an expert but here’s a few thoughts and a few practices that are helping me.
First off, remember this may not even get decided on election night. With large turn out and absentee ballots it may take time to have a clear winner. For the moment- we can go do what we CAN do: keep ensuring voters get their votes in, and that every vote is counted. Fight suppression and push for a just election. For me, if there is something I can do, it helps me feel some level of control in uncertain times.
As I wait on election day, and as I try to stay grounded in the next few days, I’ll be sticking to very basic practices:
A simple body scan when feeling anxious can be helpful. Throughout the day, just pause and take a mental scan of your body.
Notice where you are tense and holding tension. Imagine breathing in to those right places and letting the tension ease and relax on the out breath. If you are a person whose spiritual tradition this makes sense for- you can imagine this as a sort of prayer or way of interacting with the Divine. Imagine breathing in the Divine- the love of God, The Light of Christ, whatever metaphor makes sense for you. Allowing that presence to fill you with calm, and breathing out, allowing tension to release.
As you move through your body, easing places of tension, take a moment to drop your shoulders down away from your ears. I know it sounds simple but we tend to tense and draw our body in and up. Relax your tongue, yes, even there you'll notice it is often tensed up in your mouth, your jaw clenched shut, relax that too. Relax your brow and forehead... easing all the little places we hold tension.
As you move through your body, slowly breathing in and out, releasing tension you can notice again how you body has shifted.
You can continue this breath practice until you are ready to resume what you were doing. I typically end by letting my breath return to natural, slowly moving my hands and feet and gently easing back into an awareness of the world around me, slowly opening my eyes and taking a few stretches.
Know that you can return to this breath and this practice whenever you need to pause and get calm.
Lean On Each Other: A Practice of Giving and Receiving Love
While this isn't a formal "sit down" practice, it is one that can be an intention we live into each day. I recently took a Psychological First Aid course where I learned that the number one predictor of resilience for a person in the wake of tragedy is connection to others and having support. While this course focused on natural disasters and other similar traumas, I believe that its logical to suggest that this is true in any time of difficulty. We do better when we aren't alone.
As a practice, We may make it a point to offer ourselves intentionally to others in this time. For some, you may not really have much to give and that's ok. Allow yourself to receive love and support. For those who are less effected by everything happening right now- reach out to those who need it. For many of us we are somewhere in between.
One day at a Time
Finally, I am learning that this ordeal is going to go on for some time; all I can do is face things one day at a time. I have a few friends who have long-term sobriety that have taught me a great deal about this. One told me that this is the only way they can do it- it would seem to big to think about "forever" and sobriety, but they can think about today and sobriety.
As a fairly anxious person, i tend to think of all the "what if's" and try to prepare for every possible thing that could happen. What I've found is that this isn't sustainable.
Of course, be smart, prepare what you can both for yourself and for your community. But we have to take these challenges as they come to us. On election day, its voting and voter protection. In the next few days its demanding every vote is counted and a fair election is complete. I don't know what the next day or the next day or the next day will be. I am preparing for what smart, more experienced organizers are suggesting may happen, especially in light of the recent SCOTUS appointment. However, right now, in this moment I am attending to the challenges that are before me.
A friend of mine taught me the phrase "right now its like this" as a sort of mantra when I was going through a particularly difficult time. Its one that I often have written on an index card on my meditation alter. Its a reminder to me that things will ebb and flow, rise and fall.
Right now, its like this. I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but I will face it when it comes.
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About This Blog
I will write from my own experience and place in life. My goal is to share what I’ve found to be helpful in my life. It may or may not be something that works for you. I aim to share, not to “should” on you. I invite you to explore and reflect with me.