Nevertheless, I am very excited for today to have arrived. Finally, we will be able to leave all the vitriol, hostility and contentiousness of this current election cycle behind us.
I think that may be wishful thinking on my part.
We cannot un-experience the lead up to the election, just like we cannot un-see the squirrel darting out into the road to be struck by an unsuspecting driver, its body being thrown violently around the wheel.
I am having this awareness (better late than never) that what is required of us in this current election cycle is radical self-care.
In the cacophony of the shouting, the accusations, the incitement and the contempt, I believe radical self-care may be the only mitigating factor in preserving our well-being.
I spent this past weekend at a two-day experiential workshop that focused on mindfulness. My weekend was nearly devoid of any form of media. I did not listen to any news reports or read any articles pertaining to the presidential race.
Instead, I connected with others in community, I explored what it means to be part of a social field, I played with the connection between mind and body. While not in the workshop, I visited with a good friend who offered me her guest room on Saturday night, I fit in a long walk along a reservoir, and I even managed (like most everyone else in the U.S.) an extra hour of sleep.
And I felt so much better!
I did not feel drained after being away for two days. I felt eager and excited to engage with my family when I arrived home Sunday night. I noticed myself being aware of my body as it moved through space; I felt more patient, and I was not quick to react when triggered. Instead, I found myself acknowledging discomfort and showing compassion.
On days when I spend a fair amount of time scrolling through political posts, reading articles about the election or the potential fallout from it, I end up feeling battered, with no coping skills and with no will to imagine a brighter future.
If I am going to be part of imagining a brighter future for us, I need to practice radical self-care. For me, this includes time set aside for mindfulness practices, time spent in nature, healthy boundaries around my consumption of media and showing up with consciousness and presence in relationships. And the best part is – THESE ARE ALL CHOICES I HAVE CONTROL OVER.
How can you take care of yourself in the midst of contentiousness and discord?
This is not a call for us to disengage from the democratic process, to become complacent or to turn out backs on people who are marginalized or on causes that need our voice.
I do believe that when we care for ourselves - our bodies, our minds and our spirits, we will have more to offer a world that desperately needs compassion and healing.
Whatever the outcome of this election, we are in this together – and in this moment, I am holding on to the hope that we can build a more compassionate, more cohesive and more empowered world community.
How can you choose to show yourself radical self-care today of all days?