I’m noticing that many people right now are experiencing stomach distress. They believe they have the flu or some virus. I believe that their distress is unprocessed emotions related to the current political climate in the United States, which isn’t very “united” right now.
Many people were very surprised by the results of the election, and held out hopes that something unusual would happen to change it. They waited until after the Electoral College voted to admit that their fears had been realized. Now they are protesting everything that they are learning about. People who were politically inactive before are now glued to whatever news they can get.
What you focus on expands. What you think about, you are. If all you focus on is bad, that is all you will see. Anger and fear leads to more of the same.
Life is all about choice. You have a choice as to what you read or do or think, but first you must become aware. You must become mindful of what is going on at the deepest level.
The stomach processes some of our most basic emotions – fear, anger, grief. We feel things “at a gut level”. We are “gutted” when something terrible happens. Our stomach not just processes food, but feelings. Our entire body is a sensory organ, and each unique organ receives and processes external stimuli in unique ways. We accept that we see with our eyes and hear with our ears, but few people are yet able to understand that we have many other senses that are registered throughout the amazing gift of our corporeal forms.
When we are unable or unwilling to accept the reality of the messages that our bodies are sending us, we start to think that the messages ARE us. We are able to understand that what we see through our eyes is simply a vision. It is an observed phenomenon. If we see a bird in flight, it does not mean that we are a bird. Likewise, it is important to separate the sensations we experience through our other body parts from our selves, our being. We do not have to be angry when we feel anger. It is just a feeling, a sensation.
The purpose of being awakened isn’t to feel joyful all the time. The purpose is to feel – everything – in a mindful and detached way. You are not the feeling – you are feeling the feeling, just like you are seeing the birds fly above you.
It helps to be rooted in a faith that there is a guiding force that is over all things. Having faith that the political leaders are not the true leaders is healthy and healing.
You must take care of your body in order to take care of your spirit. There is nothing new here – diet and exercise count now more than ever. Make healthy food choices. Stress eating, eating “comfort food”, will bring your body and spirit down. Get regular exercise. Just going for a short walk every day is excellent. More is better. Don’t overdo it, though, because that becomes a distraction. It is important to be present.
Learn to be OK with sitting still in silence. The need to constantly be busy is an addictive behavior the same as smoking cigarettes or drinking. Substance abuse isn’t just about drugs, but anything and everything. Doing anything mindlessly can be harmful to your body and spirit.
Having to check social media, read a book, or do chores can all be distractions. Balance is what is necessary here. It is good to read a book – but if you feel anxiety if you are without one, then it is time to sit with that feeling and listen to it. It is a sign that you feel a need to escape. Use your feelings, regardless of what they are, to learn. Do not run from “bad” feelings – they are trying to teach you that something is out of balance in your life.
Instead of protesting – of saying what you are against, spend your energy on building up. What are you for? What will bring healing to your community? Who is hurting? Who is marginalized? Go help them. Go be a force for good. Do what you can with what you have. Your little efforts count. Join with others to do more. Don’t wait for the government to help – those times are over. Be the change you wish to see. Teach an immigrant child how to read and write. Learn a foreign language. Build a home for a homeless person. Teach a class on money management. Learn nonviolent conflict resolution.
Focus on what you can do, instead of what you can’t. Spend more time on figuring out how you can do something instead of coming up with excuses for why you can’t. Don’t blame others for your own choices.