2016 ended up being a rough year, at least the latter part of it did, and many of us feel as though we’ve woken up in some altered universe that Hollywood would be hard pressed to dream up. But hey, it’s 2017 so Happy New Year! And holy sh*t!
If you’re like me you’re still trying to get your balance post November 8, which seems nearly impossible to do since every day brings one more crazy thing for us to deal with. Not to mention so many of our beloved icons having left this mortal coil in 2016 has not helped. I feel like we’re trying to get over a massive case of sea sickness while riding a precarious craft relentlessly tossed by a seemingly endless storm. The environment is not working in our favor.
All the same, as the celebrated song from Stephen Sondheim’s Follies says, “I’m still here,” which is to say we are all still here minus those we have lost. And since we are here and it’s not likely we’ll be going anywhere extraterrestrially any time soon, we do need to figure out what we’re going to about all of this.
To recover from the individual and collective trauma we’ve all experienced we need a lot of gentleness and a big dose of self-care. And we need to take care of each other. Then we need to become as strong, balanced and clear headed as we are able.
I started a new monthly group in December to help in this healing and balancing effort that I call Staying Sane—In an Age of Uncertainly. At our first monthly gathering there was an array of emotions expressed from deep concern and fear to, if not optimism, at least a small degree of hopefulness. One of the many benefits of this type of group is that it provides a setting for people to not only express themselves but to hear others who share their point of view. It’s surprising how helpful it can be to have someone you don’t know agree with you. It’s also good to hear how other people interpret what’s going on.
I began the meeting with a brief meditation, one, because it’s a nice way to get everyone “into the room” and two, because I believe that unless we are all engaged in a regular meditative practice of some kind we’re not going to get through the white rapids that we are quickly forming in front of us. If you’d like to learn to meditate, let me know. I’d be happy to teach you. Meditation is natural and easy to do once you understand how it works.
Meditation helps calm us down and if we ever needed calming down it’s now. It not only calms our mind, it also calms our body. You might be surprised at how much tension you carry in your body even on a relatively good day, let alone when you’re stressed out and worried. Meditation helps us breathe and release.
Meditating on a regular basis isn’t going to change everything, but it will help more than you might imagine. Our work doesn’t end there, but it’s an excellent place to start.
We’re in for a fight and we need to be in better shape than our adversaries. To their self-focus and narcissism we must remain open and inclusive. To their lies we must speak the truth. To their greed we must be more sharing and generous than ever before. To their hypocrisy we must remain honest. To their hatred we must insist on love. All this while we tend to everything else in our lives, take care of ourselves and hold each other tight.