Just like everything else that hasn’t killed you, this election can make you stronger.
For women across the political spectrum, this season has been one big, triggering tornado of stress, rage, and fear.
If you align with a specific presidential candidate, you probably think that a win by (one of) the other(s) would send the country – and by extension, the world – into the proverbial shitter. If you’re aligned with none of the candidates, you may be holding your breath to see not whether or not the world is in trouble, but how much trouble it’s in.
Forget your partisan preferences – your top priority as a woman, a human, is to stay alive. When something threatens your life – say, when you feel like the world is at risk of falling apart – you live life in constant fear. Maybe you feel shaky, or have a hard time taking a full breath. Maybe you fly from neutral to cut-a-bitch faster than usual.
If you’re like most of us, fear puts you in survival mode. You barely hesitate to do – and ingest – whatever it takes to make it through each day. Mindful choices? Now? Are you kidding?!
As the discomfort builds, we reach for more powerful distractions in larger amounts. Wine & Facebook, beer & Tinder, and opiates & Netflix are just a few of the coping cocktails (#copingcocktails) trending this season. These coping cocktails bring a brief flash of relief, followed by a long tail of pain. The next morning we feel dehydrated and weak, and even more fractured and disconnected.
Our efforts to feel nothing bring still more suffering.
And what a blessing that is! (Hear me out…)
Darkness helps us appreciate and move toward light. Suffering helps us appreciate and move toward comfort. If you’re overdoing it with screens, food, drinks, and/or drugs this election season, the discomfort you’re in can inspire you to take the steps you need to take to feel better than you have ever felt in your entire life.
Here’s your mission, should you choose to accept it:
Take 30 seconds right now to pay attention your discomfort without getting distracted by WHY you’re feeling the way you’re feeling. 1 Repeat your mindfulness mission every chance you get until November 9th (that’s the day AFTER the election, in case you’re not paying attention).
Study any feelings of weakness, exhaustion, achiness, or feeling bloated. Being aware of these feelings,without fixating on the stories you tell yourself about them, can help you make choices that result in strength, increases in energy, and comfort.
Study how it feels to be afraid, or like a victim. Being aware of how your body experiences fear without getting trapped in the stories in your head can help you make empowering choices as a woman, as a consumer, as a citizen. 2
Study how it feels to be powerless. Being aware of the pain of powerlessness can help you focus on and make caring choices around those things you do have control of, like how you choose to show up for yourself moving forward.
Imagine looking back at this moment with gratitude. All the stress and pain you’re feeling can be a blessing if you let it. Take the chance to become more mindful, and this election season can be the bottom you push off of to rise up into the most pleasurable, energized, and connected time of your life.
When the election is over, we’ll have more clarity around who we are as a nation and how we want to show up in the world. Let’s pay attention to what hitting this collective bottom feels like so we can push off of it into the most connected, empowered period in our history.
All good things,
- “I’m lazy.” “What’s the point – we’re all gonna die.” “I’m broken.” “They’re all bonkers and we’re all screwed so what’s the use?” “I’m too far gone, anyway.” “I’m too fat/too old/too stuck/too broke…” “Mercury’s in retrograde somewhere in the universe.” “I eat/drink/smoke too much because everything is meaningless, especially me.” ↩
- Of the nation and of the world. ↩