Since the U.S. election I’ve been cycling through grief, fear, overwhelm, and moments of clear action. I spiral into a news wormhole or challenging discussion, and my body clenches tighter and tighter. Yet I’ve also had a few powerful moments of clarity. Those moments come from a recognition that I need to come back to center and take a stand for what I believe in. I’ve stopped, breathed, felt my body (especially my heart), and asked myself what it is that deeply matters to me.
We all have gifts to give, and nothing is too small. Now more than ever, everything counts, and every seemingly tiny thing we do joins with a larger collective.
Next time you find yourself in fear or overwhelm around the state of the world:
- Pause. Breathe into your heart; feel the tenderness and whatever emotion is there. Allow it to be there. And:
- Ask yourself: What is this fear or overwhelm showing me? What is underneath this emotion? What matters deeply to me?
- Find a word or sentence for what matters—for example, racial justice, solidarity, family, connection, safety, freedom, the earth, beauty, etc.
- Take that word or phrase and ask yourself: What is one thing I could do to serve that which matters deeply to me? Make it simple and concrete and take immediate action: for example, call a senator asking him or her to support a specific action, make plans to visit a friend who has been having a hard time, or donate money to an organization you trust.
By taking these actions now, we are retraining ourselves. There is so much in the collective consciousness that can pull us into fear and separation. While fear and separation aren’t bad or wrong, we can choose to do our best to give our energy to love, justice, and action rather than being paralyzed by fear.
So far I’ve done this on a few different occasions, with different outcomes: I’ve organized a local water protection meeting, I reached out to a new writer for Invoke, and I donated money to Standing Rock. It’s not a lot. But it’s a start, and by feeding that which matters to me, it can grow and lead to more. I can start to see the fear spiral happening, and rather than give it my energy, I can give my energy to what I love.
Illustration by Elena Ray