Sometimes, in the realm of the political, insanity seems to pour freely, brim over the top, spew from all quarters in all directions.Then how do you hold to the spiritual, to love, to trusting that your vote for goodness, tolerance, and peace actually counts, that enough people are out there stirring up that brand of consciousness that we could override fear and actually turn the tables?
How do you maintain and cultivate sanity in times like these—by which I mean, NOW?
Tell the truth as best you understand it.
Talk. Speak what matters. Write, blog, tweet what matters. This week, I read about Donald Trump tweeting these words: “26,000 unreported sexual assaults in the military—only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?” Don Omar tweeted his simple, searing response: “For men not to rape women. Maybe that.”
Discuss. Invite intelligent people to talk with you and in groups.
Talk and keep talking. Say smart things, notice the smart things other people say. Where idiocy seems to sometimes reign, keep voting for intelligent, thoughtful discourse.
Admit what you don't know.
Intelligence does not and cannot require absolute knowing. Acknowledge the gray areas. Concede that news sources, studies, and facts may be unreliable at best. That doesn't mean no clarity is possible anywhere. Expand the discussion and locate the nuances, even when no clear answers or solutions result. Fascist, fundamentalist, and any flavor of us-them rhetoric tends to be black-and-white.
Cultivate a consciousness of good news amidst the craziness.
Consider and discuss how huge it is, actually, that someone as radical-left as Bernie got as far as he did, and how, culturally, we progress as a whole society when a prominent radical is taken seriously at the national level of politics. (This is what's happening with Trump, too, on the other polarity, and that may be why Bernie's being phased out of the presidential running could portend the same for the Orange Blob.) Consider and discuss how far Hilary's gotten, a point no woman reached until 2016. And acknowledge that it makes sense she's the witch of the hour, but we can't simply allow the press and certain interest groups to cast such a shadow on her that the malevolence-meets-incompetence force that is Trump would be considered a better candidate while she's actually truly qualified for the job.)
Act. Do small things. Do large things.
Brainstorm with others about what can be done. Join groups doing things. Register people to vote and drive them to the polls when November rolls around. Volunteer with Moveon.org or some other organization you like that organizes such things.
I once heard someone ask Byron Katie if loving what is means you shouldn't get involved when something bad seems to be happening. Her response was that love takes action, and that the clearer you are (her inquiry process is about questioning thoughts that keep you from peace, hence from your clarity), the more action you're likely to take. I've found this to be true, as I used to be frozen with depression and horror over the state of the world, and I now don't believe it should be otherwise—this is what is, what we've got as far as we've gotten to so far—but I understand something else is possible, and wherever I can vote (with speech, actions, and literal voting) for what looks like closer-to-love to me, I'm casting my vote.
Read good reads.
Get your news from sources that aren't overly conventional or depressing, that encourage thought, that flip things around. I especially appreciate DailyKos.com, which compiles daily digests of good leftist stuff that goes beyond all-bad-news to include incisive thinking, humor (um, not necessarily love-based, but it's so good to laugh—and laughter's a good antidote to fear), and some reports of brilliant activism and people of all walks of life leading the way to change.
Don't get news at bedtime.
Just don't. Bad idea. Go to sleep thinking good thoughts, using sleep as the great reset button that it is. Tell yourself, and dare to believe it, Tomorrow all things new, all things possible.
Face your fear but don't focus on it, don't expand it, and don't make it the point of departure for or endpoint of your discussions; don't make fear the motivation for your actions.
Don't focus your discussions on what's scary and predict terrible outcomes. When fear grabs you, breathe into it, and stay with it awhile instead of shoving it down. But don't just run off at the mouth about how valid it is to be in full-blown terror. (You'll find plenty who'll agree with you, and that will be no comfort.) Vote for what you want before election time by aiming discussion (and thought) toward what's possible, what could work, what could foster and maintain our good relations with other countries, what could benefit more of the people who inhabit this nation across a very real spectrum of diversity.
Spend time visualizing positive occurrences and outcomes for the nation and the world. New-Age bullshit? Nope. You're going to be less clear, less active, less inspired to speak and act if you're drenched in fear and negativity and cultivate a bleak vision for how it'll all come out. Even if you're not sure it's valid, just experiment with soothing yourself and imagining the best of happenings and outcomes. If it makes you feel better on any level, it's a worthy experiment.
Remember when you didn't think the nation was ready for a Black president? Remember when it seemed impossible to keep Obama in office for two terms? We've basically had a decade of something seriously radical for our country, and it was a long time coming. Did you get jaded and forget that? Did you get too focused on very real problems we still have and lose sight of the wonder? For the first decade in history, Black children have a very high ceiling for what they can aspire to, a very different sense of what's possible for them personally and as a people. Not only have they had Black role models in the highest place, but so have my white kids—and I'm in awe of this fact, and so appreciative of this reality. So what else is possible? Dare to imagine into that, and vote for it, not only at official voting time in the fall, but through your thoughts, language, choices, and actions, small and large.
Love & blessings, Jaya