It’s hard to even know how to begin this post. It feels like so much has happened in a little less than two weeks.
Since the USA election the world has been turned upside down and inside out and it’s scary and disorienting for me and a lot of people that are part of my many circles. My first reaction was shock and bewildered overwhelm, impotent anger and heart breaking grief. And though I’ve made it through that first round of wild emotion, I’m still trying to find my footing in the midst of this upheaval.
What I have been doing since the election is what I always do. Which is to sit in circles of women and be present for whatever shows up. And as you can imagine a LOT has been showing up.
I have also been appreciating the profound power of this creative work and how it is more essential than ever as we move ever more deeply into these highly volatile and uncertain times.
I know a lot of you are in the same boat, so I thought I would share with you a few things that are helping me to stay a tad more grounded as I try and find my way.
1.) Feeling ALL your feelings
It’s important to remember that for many of us the outcome of this election brought with it a HUGE sense of loss. In many ways it feels like a death.
The death of safety. The death of justice. The death of our values. The death of our vision of a sane and compassionate future.
And death is always accompanied by grief. So it’s important to name and acknowledge that grief. To make space for that grief. To take time to simply be with that grief and to feel it. And also to remember that grief takes many forms. Sometimes it can look like sadness and tears. But it can also show up as anger and rage. Overwhelming tiredness. Denial. Irritation and frustration. Fear. And of course depression and hopelessness. AND… you will also be feeling all of these things at different times. And sometimes at the SAME time.
So my recommendation to you is to take as much time as you need to heal. Don’t rush your feelings. Everyone is going to work through their grief and anger and despair and confusion at their own pace.
Grief is not linear. It’s like riding a wild wave. Sometimes it will be more intense. Sometimes less so. The practice, as always, is to stay as present as possible with compassion and kindness to ourselves in the face of whatever arises.
It’s also useful to remember that death always makes us feel powerless and out of control. Which is one of the most intolerable feelings of all. And in the face of those intolerable feelings there is going to be an intense desire to feel BACK in control again by DOING something.
There will be time to take action. I promise you that. But sitting WITH the grief and powerlessness and fear will allow you to get back in touch with the core of your being. Your deep wisdom and truth.
It’s essential right now to take time to be still. To take time to simply be. To take time to listen deeply to what your heart and soul want from you going forward.
It’s also imperative to remember that taking action from that place of being grounded in yourself will be MUCH more powerful and effective than doing something solely as a way to get away from feeling the discomfort of your intense emotions.
It’s also REALLY vital to let it go for awhile.
Make space and time to NOT think about what’s happening in the larger world. Getting obsessed about anything never really works in the long run. It will just lead to burnout. Your life is still your life. So do something fun. Love your people. Play with your dog. Plant some flowers. Hang out in nature. Connect with whatever it is that brings you happiness and joy. It’s times like these that are the reason the Goddess Of Compassion Via Tuning Out invented Net Flicks.
2.) Cultivate Community
One of the things I’ve been seeing over and over again in the circles I have been facilitating is how important it is for people to feel connected to each other. To have a place where they can speak what’s true for them and to be seen and heard and held by a community of like minded and like hearted souls. To cry and rage and feel afraid and know that they are not alone.
And even though the folks who come to work with me share a lot of the same core values … they are non-judgmental, open-hearted and inclusive, spiritual seekers and goddess lovers challenging the patriarchy, deeply devoted to equality and justice for all, who care for the earth and all her creatures, who treat kindness and compassion as their religion… I feel very blessed to have many diverse perspectives in my groups.
Young women, old women, fat women, thin women, mothers and grandmothers, women who chose to not have children, introverts and extroverts, women of color, LGBTQ women, women who are front line political activists, women who are focusing on tending to family, women who work in the corporate world, women who provide healthcare, women who have their own businesses, women artists and therapists and writers and healers are all welcome in this community.
And I see how incredibly healing and life giving it is for EVERY ONE of these women to feel like they have a place where they can be who they are, be respected and valued for their voice and unique experience and feel simply listened to and heard with love. To know that it’s OK to be different and to be themselves and that there is a place in the circle for them no matter what.
The women who I work with are also strong and powerful, talented and intelligent, brave and wise. And we need that strength and courage from each other more than ever right now.
But we also need places where we don’t always have to be so strong and can safely fall apart. And that’s another thing being provided by these sacred circles of support. Women are finding permission and assistance to lay down their burdens and anxieties in the laps and hearts of their compadres. To take turns not only being the giver but also allowing themselves the precious gift of receiving love and attention while collapsing into their exhaustion and fear and grief.
It seems counterintuitive, but surrendering to our own personal underworld, bolstered by loving support, allows us to rise again feeling even MORE empowered and on fire with purpose and determination.
3.) Beef up your self care practices.
The intensity of these times is both exhausting and potentially exhilarating.
And is going to require our brilliant genius, our most profound wisdom, our fiercest courage, our love of truth and our willingness to be brave and bold and uncompromising in protecting and fighting for what we hold most dear.
Whether that is the natural world and a livable climate, racial justice, civil rights, healthcare equality, immigration and prison reform or democracy itself, we are going to be called on to step up and bring all of our gifts out of hiding and remake and rebuild the world based on our deepest heart visions.
But as we engage in this good and holy work, we also need to remember to take care of US in the process.
It’s all too easy to lose ourselves in times like these. To fall prey to fear and confusion. To allow ourselves to be distracted by all KINDS of things designed to keep us off balance.
And to counteract those forces of chaos we need to recommit … again… to our spiritual, creative and healing practices.
In the realm of spirit: Do what you know works to keep you centered and grounded and connected to your soul. Meditate twice as much as ever. Pray. Talk to your angels. Howl at the moon. Lie on the earth. Fill your home with altars in service of the vision of what you want the world to become. Spend time every day in silence simply listening for your inner wisdom to guide you.
In the realm of the body: Take care of your body by getting enough rest. Eat your veggies. Keep your blood moving and your lungs pumping. Get a massage or two or three. Soak in epsom salt baths to relax you to your bones and release any toxins you might have picked up along the way.
In the realm of your creative being: And finally, turn all of your despair and anxiety, passionate longing and righteous anger, profound grief and most treasured hope into art. Release your creative voice. Write poetry. Paint it out. Dance it through. Sing at the top of your lungs. Allow yourself to express it ALL, holding nothing back.
The most healing act of all is to BE the artist that you are and were always meant to be. To do that in community with others. And to remember that love, as always, is the most powerful force in the Universe.