Navigating Through Mayhem
How do we navigate a time period in which cruelty has become commonplace, and we are sensitive to everything around us, including other people’s feelings as well as our own?
Many of us are grieving the loss of the kind of world/country/life we thought we could have. Not that we already had it, but we had hope that someday we would. That we would have leaders that cared about us, all of us, people of color, every gender, age, sexuality, religion, all living creatures, and especially our planet.
You are not alone. Many caring people feel as you do. Those who pay attention to racism, sexism, prejudice, politics, natural disasters, climate change warnings, and other current events, have been facing enormous personal and collective grief, which includes, fear, dread, sorrow, anger, frustration, feelings of hopelessness, and the grim specter of the end of human doings.
Many of us are not at our best under stress, and this is a time of extreme stress. It is many times worse if we are sensitive. If our hearts are open and we feel the collective pain on the planet, right now it may be debilitating. Maybe we are going through the motions of living while wondering why we should care about regular, everyday tasks when humanity may not make it past the next 50 years. Maybe we have been so angry, sad, and fearful that we can barely sleep. And this takes a toll on our bodies. We may be experiencing strange aches and pains, and reacting to things that normally don’t bother us. Even when we turn off the news, and try to pretend things aren’t going badly, our bodies may let us know how we really feel about current events. Being around those who support and encourage us, who deeply value connection rather than separation, may be vital during this time.
One older fellow said that this time period reminds him of right before WWII.
We can take deep breaths, eat well, listen to music, avoid constantly watching the news, spend time in nature, exercise, commiserate with friends, donate to causes, march, and protest. Some of us who are living in survival mode may be barely managing. We do the best we can with the resources and energy available. We can go on walks or dance with the intention of clearing our minds and bodies. We can give ourselves permission to not feel everyone else’s feelings all at once. We can ground ourselves in the activities we love most, with the people we adore. We can focus on being present in the moment with mindfulness and meditation practices, and we can deal with the stress that we feel physically.
Tinctures and herbs to support the adrenals may be necessary, as may extra vitamins. Athletes who run marathons know how to train for long endurance races. This is one long endurance test. There are times of joy interspersed with mayhem. We need to pace ourselves. Take naps if we need them. Rest when we can. We may need more hugs, and extra physical contact with safe people.
What happens to us when we are not being heard, not being cared about, and we see injustice openly, flagrantly being celebrated? Do not give up! We must take as many mental health breaks as necessary. We may need to scream once in a while. And we need to think about what we can do besides voting.
And we can ask ourselves, what are we willing to do? If marches and protests are too physically demanding, we can find other ways to help, including providing information, writing letters, making phone calls, donating money, and supporting those out there who are directly putting their lives on the line.
Knowing boundaries around what we are willing and unwilling to do can help prepare us for difficult situations. And if we are sensitive, knowing who we can trust in emergencies is even more important. If we are subject to discrimination, like people of color, who do we trust to be our advocates? Where do we feel most safe and with whom?
In times of great uncertainty, being prepared for emergencies may help alleviate immediate survival concerns. That frees us up to focus on more long-term concerns, and assist others who are more vulnerable. But pay attention to your body. And breathe! Remember to breathe deeply. Appreciate the beauty around you, and the people who do care.