I’m not naive enough to think this election isn’t gravely important for many obvious reasons, but this year I vowed early on to keep politics out of my social media.That, with a few other practices, have kept me from going bug-fuck insane.
Even so, I found myself being drawn into the bipartisan division of us humans, feeling a separateness from the humans on the “other side,” and making character judgments based solely on political affiliations.
Boy was I in for a lesson.
My Aunt recently died, and I was headed downstate to stay with my cousin and her family.
To say my cousin’s and her husband’s political views are different than mine would be an understatement, and it had me little worried.
Here’s what happened.
I watched my cousin’s husband gently care for his family, quietly keeping the household on track behind the scenes, making us coffee and breakfast, uncomplaining while his wife directed the two-day production that is a Catholic Italian wake and funeral. My cousin was a rock, grieving her mother while acting as social director, event planner, and hostess for the whole shebang. She graciously provided a place for me to stay, while also providing sustenance for the multitudes of grieving friends and relatives. If you’ve ever been to an Italian Catholic wake and funeral, you know of what I speak.
It was humbling.
I saw two beautiful human beings moving through the heartbreak of those two days with a strength and grace that touched my heart. Their political affiliation was such a non-issue it could have been the difference between our opinion on crunchy or creamy peanut butter.
That brings me to our tips for surviving the election.
#1. We Are People, Not Political Parties. (See above.)
While our political system benefits by keeping us in the illusion of separation, especially in what has to be one of the most controversial elections in our history, our political affiliation has nothing to do with who we are as humans.
Politics don’t exist where love, peace, and compassion has it’s home.
#2. Don’t Give In To Fear.
As a species, we’re in new territory. We now have a global economy, global terrorism, unprecedented population increases, an explosion of technological and scientific advances, instant connection to global information, and a propensity for global violence unmatched in our history.
It feels like we’re at a tipping point, like things are either going to get better, or get WAY worse, and every issue seems important to our survival.
The worse thing about it all is that WE DON’T KNOW WHAT’S COMING.
Our political parties benefit from that fear. Promising safety is a powerful aphrodisiac.
I’m not immune to the fear, but when I’m connected to my inner spirit, with awareness of universal energy flowing through me and around me, in touch with my essential wiser self, I know the future of our species isn’t dependent on who wins this election.
When I can I hold the uncertainty of life within my spirit, there’s a sense of a bigger, more complete and wondrous picture.
Life is complex and creative, striving toward growth, the real force that will keep us headed toward something better.
#3. Find Your Peace.
The political process is a game of what if, projecting worse case scenarios into the future.
Stay mindful of whatever it is that brings you peace, of the present moment, of love, abundance, your higher power, higher self, Universe, God.
Shifting our own energy to the frequency of peace benefits the entire world. Our energy ripples out from us and affects the world in ways we can’t imagine, and there’s research that supports this.
Healing our own suffering brings healing to the world, and the most radical activism we can practice is the ability to maintain our own peace.
#4. Make Hope a Practice.
Hope is the antidote to fear.
My hope is that the amazing potential of our species, the vast amount of goodness within human beings, will move us forward in our evolution.
There is an awakening happening, no doubt about it, and the tipping point of that awakening may change our future for the better.
Don’t underestimate spiritual activism, the power of prayer, meditation, and positivity.
#5. Be the change.
Mainstream media is designed to prey on our emotions, not appeal to our intellect.
Refuse to contribute to the collective storytelling of fear. The level of anxiety is high in our country right now.
Be aware of current events, but be a force for positivity.
There’s evidence that humans are inherently good, focus on that. Feed your mind and soul with positive news. Stay grateful.
Limit the time you’ll spend each day on political news. I don’t know about you, but I know who I’m voting for, and there isn’t a debate, campaign ad, or breaking news that will change that now.
These practices don’t take away our compassion or prevent us from never acting in the name of justice and social equality, but while we’re being primed for the worst that could happen, is there room for a little faith that somehow we’ll be OK?
“All of us have to become Buddhas in order for our planet to have a chance. Fortunately, we have the power to wake up, to touch enlightenment from moment to moment, in our very own ordinary and, yes, busy lives.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh