November 9th To-Do List: When Bad Things Happen

This election got under my skin and I didn’t handle it well.

So, I’m going to write a to-do list for myself for today and the days to follow.

My to-do list:

  1. Meditate – Focusing on breath (something I have control over) is calming in stressful times. A little loving-kindness meditation couldn’t hurt today either. (Whether or not you believe in any sort of supernatural power behind this practice, it is healthy for the meditator to focus attention through that lens.)dsc08930
  2. Find a green space – Green spaces are healing. Research on stress demonstrates profound benefits of nature time. Most importantly, green spaces remind me of the interconnectedness of all species, and my role on earth.
  3. Accept impermanence – Everything changes. Accepting that fact is the path to peace.
  4. Acknowledge the complexity in politics – With some help, I came to understand that we only see a tiny fraction of the actual, established political operating system. Keeping perspective here means that I don’t really understand all of the forces at play. I can’t predict the future, or use historical events to assume an inevitable outcome.
  5. Don’t let Trump win twice – Donald Trump won the election last night, but he also beat me. He got into my head, and he made me afraid. That was his plan all along (although I THINK he wanted people to be afraid of other races and religions and not of him, I’m not entirely sure at this point). Fear is the path to the dark side.
  6. Remember that the medium is the message – Social networking and constant media coverage now shapes our relationships with the big issues. I must be careful about how I am being manipulated.
  7. Be mindful of the children – Children hear everything, and they internalize our fear. While I think they should be appropriately informed about issues, they often don’t have the capability to process what is going on. We can be matter-of-fact without getting all apocalyptic.
  8. Have compassion – The right and the left wings both belong to the same bird. Every person who voted had a reason for what they did. It appears the public felt a need for change and that this was their only option. Try to account for the forces that led them to this unfortunate conclusion.
  9. Focus on positive actions – When it comes to a number of issues, the path ahead appears to be somewhat steeper, so it is time to dig in for the climb.
  10. Be grateful – I am incredibly privileged to live in the time and place that I do. I do not want to forget that. As a Canadian, I am grateful to have a leader right now that shares many of my values, but human rights violations around the world hurt all of humanity, regardless of borders.

Last night was a very long, sleepless, panic-stricken one, but, the sun rose, the cats walked across my face, the kids bickered at the breakfast table, and the newspaper, shockingly, had multiple other stories that didn’t focus on US politics.  Breathe in. Breathe out.

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