For many of us, the election last week was hard, to put it mildly. I went through periods of grief, heartbreak, rage, disbelief and fear, among others. These emotions are still percolating in me in varying degrees. What I am most aware of as I sit down to type is an underlying feeling of uncertainty.
What do we do when things happen in the world that feel scary, unbelievable or challenging in some way? We can feel devastated or defeated. We may feel powerless, angry or scared.
For me, today, it is hard to know what to do. I cannot say what will happen in the coming months or how our country may change as a result of this election. I think it has already begun to change - or perhaps I am seeing things more clearly than I had before. Still, I do not know what the future will be.
What I do know is that I want to be part of the group of people who are committed to coming together and standing with those who are most vulnerable among us. I know I want to include my heart in any actions I may take. I know I want to be available to those who are hurting.
Given all that, what do I do? The title of this blog gives it away. I can practice taking care of myself. I can listen to what I need so that I may be more in myself and present regardless of what happens. Some days I simply need comfort wherever I can find it. This can be the healing salve that allows me to go on in the face of uncertainty and fear.
Below I share some of the things that bring me comfort and joy. Even when things are hard, we need to remember there is love and goodness, too. And, sometimes, the most comforting thing can be to allow ourselves to feel our pain with another who knows how to feel their pain.
Here are some of my comforts. I invite you to consider what comforts you, as well.
I will start with the trees, the moon and the stars. The other night I was driving home and saw the Orion constellation rising on the horizon. He was flat on his back, parallel to the ground. I wanted to say, hello dear friend. Nice to see you again. Winter must be on its way.
I find comfort in connecting to the parts of the world and the universe that seem beyond time. Giant, old trees. Big rocks in the middle of a river, shaped by time and water. The brilliant full moon, which continues to wax and wane, again and again. All these things give me pause and remind me of the grandness of life. Then, in some paradoxical way, I feel less small.
Music is next. Music can speak to me and express something in me I did not even know was there. Some songs cut through all my exterior boundaries and land squarely in my heart. I am grateful for that. I can cry and sing and move and, somehow, feel renewed.
I had the experience last week of singing with a group of women, singing so loud I was almost shouting, tears streaming down my face, and I felt alive. I felt powerful in my pain and glad to be surrounded by others who shared my grief and rage and understood.
Lastly I will include two seemingly opposites. I find comfort in community and in solitude. I need both. I need to hold and be held. I need to connect with others and know I am not alone. I also need times to sit in silence by myself, to reflect and take stock, and to feel into my inner quiet places.
I offer all of this as possibilities of nourishment as we journey into whatever is next. May we find our way together. May we go in peace.