Seven years ago Donald Trump was in the White House. In full disclosure, I was never a supporter. I could never get past the Billy Bush bus interview and the cavalier manner in which Trump described how he approached and treated women. Having worked in the field of human sexuality and sexual assault for years, the video sickened me. Seven years later, he was found guilty of sexual assault and his victim was awarded a $5 million settlement for the crime. He displayed no remorse. Instead he denied ever having met the woman and proceeded to defame her. She sued him for defamation and was awarded $83 million in damages. He remains the likely Republican candidate for the 2024 presidential election. The campaign is ramping up. His base of supporters is solid. His opposition has become much more vocal than they were in the 2016 campaign. Media outlets have taken their stands. Social media is exploding with rhetoric and talking points and false statements and strong opinions which typically evolves into useless attacks, name calling and lots of questions.
What is going on? How can we be so divided? How did we get here? What is the purpose of this? Where will this all end up? How can I deal with what is happening right now?
Today I'm noticing how these questions are not just about our country's current political state. They apply to some aspects of my life.
Occasionally, I engage and comment on a social media post. I'm curious about where people get thier information and how they can still support a man who, in my opinion, doesn't have the leadership qualities that I see as valuable. But some do. I end up frustrated. I get all wound up. I end up feeling awful. And then I feel the need to escape the reality of the divide. Not a great cycle to engage in.
The curious thing is, I've been here before. And it had nothing to do with an election. It had to do with a personal situation in my life that kept repeating and repeating ... until I figured how to unplug. The truth is, I played a major role in keeping the cycle going. Once I unplugged, everything shifted. Hmmmm ...
This blog is not to start yet another divisive conversation that ends in frustration and name calling. It's meant to provide some tools to deal with the conflict and negativity that is happening in our country, no matter where you land and no matter what other cycles you find yourself in. Here's what I came up with seven years ago. It still applies, perhaps even more, today ...
After several weeks of disturbing social media threads full of fear and hate and judgment, along with some powerful feelings about what's been happening in the White House over the past week and several conversations with clients, colleagues and friends about how to cope with the stress many of us are feeling from the constant barrage of negativity and fear, I had to stop, unplug, get quiet and spend some time reflecting on my own feelings and find a way to find some balance and make peace with all that's going on.
Here's what I've come up with ...
I am holding out for the bright spot in all that is going on in our country. I see and feel glimmers of hope in the midst of the fear and angst. I am witnessing a surge of empowerment beyond anything I can recall in my lifetime.
People are engaging in conversations that, up until now, have been avoided, discouraged and even suppressed for fear of judgment. Those conversations are resulting in connections that were never before explored and forming support systems that have never been in place. The old adage, “Silence is golden,” is being blown apart and people are standing up and speaking out about the issues that are important to them. Profound growth and expanded awareness is happening.
People are seeking counsel, standing up and taking bold actions on behalf of their beliefs and in support of basic human rights and the premise of the constitution ... that all men are created equal.
The struggle is real. The challenge to maintain balance and peace of mind through all of this is, indeed, a challenge many of us are struggling with. For me, it’s necessary to strive for that balance so I stay emotionally healthy myself and am able to continue to support others in my work. If I succumb to fear, I am ineffective. And if I allow myself to become surrounded by the fear that others project, I shrink and become disempowered.
I've been reflecting back to my pharmacy practice days, in search for a prescription or a cure for those of us struggling to stay strong and healthy through what seems like it may be a long and difficult journey.
The truth is, there is no pill. No quick fix. Nothing outside of us. The truth is that we already have what we need. It is within each of us. We just have to activate it and consciously decide to access it. And if we can't get there ourselves, we have to reach out for help. Our future depends on how we choose to move forward.
Here is my prescription:
Eat well. Get your rest. Meditate. Turn off the noise. Get quiet.
Choose your sources wisely. Limit your screen time. Pay attention to when you allow the media in. Avoid early morning and right before you go to bed. We need our subconscious brain time to rejuvenate.
Take care of each other. Find joy in the simple things. Ask for help when you get overwhelmed.
Speak your mind when you feel inspired to do so. Avoid engaging when such engagement will only drain you. And when you do engage, be thoughtful, respectful and intentional.
Focus on those connections that inspire you. Remember that it is possible and most important to send love into the world, even if you don't agree with what’s happening.
Be kind. Give and get some hugs. Let the tears flow as necessary. And visualize a unified world surrounded by light and healing energy.
What if Trump (or whatever the situation is) is actually a gift. What if this is exactly what we need to move us forward to a better place in unity and love. Together we are better. And energetically, science has proven that united we are a powerful force and that love vibrates way higher than fear.
What if this is the beginning of a whole new era? One where complacency has no place and empowered individuals stand up for themselves and together in unity … with hope for our collective future … fully embracing the fact that love trumps hate and that love always wins.