Here are some tips for voting day mindfulness: (including letting Donald Trump be your guide)
- Pause. Pay attention in the moment on purpose and without judgment.
- Notice and acknowledge what you are feeling. Is it disgust, frustration, fear, overwhelm, hope, hurt, mistrust, dread, anger, dismay, feeling triggered, disillusionment, betrayal? …You might say “Breathing in, I know I am angry; breathing out I know I am angry. Breathing in, I notice I am still angry…”
- Hold those uncomfortable feelings as if precious, and simply bring the attention of awareness to them. Just connect them to your breathing.
- Notice if you feel tension anywhere in your body. Intentionally soften your hands; your jaw, your neck – wherever you might be carrying that tension.
- Have compassion for that part of yourself that’s experiencing difficult feelings.
- Have compassion for others who are experiencing similar uncomfortable feelings.
- Have some gratitude for living in a country where you get to exercise your voice with vote – especially when it’s in the middle of such troubled times.
- Mark your vote with mindful attention.
- Let Donald Trump be your guide to acting mindfully…
I guess I should explain what I mean by that… If you don’t like what Mr. Trump stands for, vote against him on your ballot. But I urge you to really vote against what he stands for by removing traces of his behavior from inside yourself as well. He is a prime example of mindlessness. If he just thought about anything with thoughtful attention, it seems he would behave so differently on so many accounts.
Sometimes, however, I find that the people I work with, and much of our society, treat themselves and their own emotional lives in ways that are similar to how Donald Trump treats the world:
He hates to see or acknowledge vulnerability. He denies reality so he only sees what he wants to see. He is so judgmental and condemning. He doesn’t really appreciate differences. He treats others with bigotry. He regularly engages in magical thinking that doesn’t tolerate doubt, conflict, struggle. He is mean-spirited and even abusive. He practices intolerance at every turn. He refuses to “go there” to the uncomfortable places within himself. He quickly blames others whenever he feels shame. He is aggressive in his way of casting out whatever is undesirable. He clings to the idea of always winning; always has to see himself as coming out on top, or in the other extreme of being victimized. He wants to banish anything that might be seen as weakness. He acts as if he can never allow himself to feel fear, pain, suffering, or to have insecurities.
All of these qualities are the opposite of mindfulness. I encourage you to take a careful and kind look at your own practices toward your own vulnerable feelings that may be similar to Trump’s practices of mindlessness.
In doing so, you can practice mindfulness:
Acknowledge and allow for your own (and that of others’) vulnerability. Accept this vulnerability as a part of your reality as a human being. Let go of your judgment and condemnation about feelings and emotions you wish you didn’t have. Recognize and celebrate differences and diversity. Express compassion rather than prejudice toward others and toward yourself. Gently turn toward depth, complexity of emotions and relationships, discomfort – rather than always trying to get away from the uncomfortable. Be kind and accepting to your own self, your feelings and emotions, your ways. Move away from being tyrannical with yourself. Practice tolerance; say yes, even to what you don’t like. Set out a welcome mat for all of your feelings – not just the preferred or acceptable ones. Visit with those dark painful parts of yourself without always trying to build a wall or run away from them. Don’t hate yourself so much that you can’t help but be cruel to others. Don’t hide the parts of yourself you don’t like with a cloak of shame. Include the undesirable parts of yourself in your own kind attention. Realize that a true winner is someone who can acknowledge his or her losses and vulnerabilities without blaming others. Allow yourself to feel your fears, doubts, pains and insecurities, and know that none of your feelings, thoughts, worries is all of who you are, nor defines you.
…Let Donald Trump be your guide toward discovering more mindfulness among your inner life and the external world. Exercise your vote with the gift of mindfulness.
For more tools on how to bring mindfulness into your life, check out my HOT MESS TO COOL OASIS course starting soon.
…And a message of hope:
If there is light in the soul,
there will be beauty in the person.
If there is beauty in the person,
there will be harmony in the house.
If there is harmony in the house,
there will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation,
there will be peace in the world.