A week later and I admit that I am still stretching along with many of you. Based on the unfolding events I would imagine we will be stretching for a long time. In full disclosure, I have been on an emotional roller coaster ride with all the obligatory highs and lows, more lows frankly than highs. I’ve noticed despite all the skills and training I’ve had I have yet to land emotionally for long enough to feel solid ground beneath my feet, and that is disturbing to say the least. Disturbing seems to be the word I would associate with many things that have come out of the results of the election last week.
What is most disturbing is the language and tone of many of the conversations I’ve seen and heard. As an empath, I have found the discourse agonizingly painful to witness which adds to my personal challenge internalizing what has happened and how to keep myself from falling into the depths of despair and anger. I have pledged to be of service in the world and yet most days since last Wednesday I feel utterly paralyzed and barely able to function in any normal way. I’ve given myself permission to notice the intricacies of my reaction and to honor these feelings as they arise. Admittedly I didn’t expect that a week later I would still be in the throes, but here I am and I am continuing to honor them as best I can.
What is also disturbing is a message that has been offered by well-meaning people that we should simply “get over it and move on”, and other platitudes that in my humble opinion can do more harm than good. While I agree that we must move forward and get on with the work at hand (and there is much) we cannot simply bypass our feelings and emotions by spouting platitudes and going numb to pain. We need each other. We need our friends and confidants. We need our communities. We need time to heal and regroup in a way that honors each person’s process and allows space. I have the great gift of family, friends and community all of whom have come together in support of one another. Some are in better shape than I am, some in worse. In every case, we are offering each other help and support with our eyes on the future and the work ahead. We cannot bypass our feelings, our sadness, our grief, or sense of loss and fear, any more than we could or should bypass the feelings that arise when we lose a loved one. It is simply not healthy and in fact can and does do great harm. Our present situation is an unfamiliar one and we need to acknowledge that the strategies we have employed in our ordinary existence may need stretching to meet the present reality.
All of that said, as I look to my own erratic emotions, I continue to give myself permission to work it all through by allowing all my feelings their space. I have turned off the news and taken a break from social media. I have taken some “cave time” to huddle in the safety of my home; I’ve eaten some good food and sought out kind people who will listen and hold me. And I’ve offered the same to others. While I’m surprised that I am still struggling to find my center, I’ve chosen to be kind to myself. I’m in constant communication with the God of my understanding, praying and communing, asking for guidance and affirming that I am willing to serve the greater good. I am doing what I can do at a time when I have not the first clue what is going to be needed.
Luckily I am embarking on a new and exciting project that taps directly into my creativity and takes much of my attention. It’s a project that is grounded in service to others and that gives me a powerful sense of purpose and direction. My life’s work is grounded in service to others, and it is that work that will be the vehicle for me to climb out of the stupor I keep dancing with this last week. I’m stretching – I’m stretching hard. I’m thinking of all the other people who are stretching with me and hoping that if you need me you will call me. We need each other.
Today a wise and trusted person suggested that once the dust settles and all of the emotions are allowed to move through, there will be our strength and Power. I am taking that to heart and it gives me hope. It reminds me that we are powerful beyond our wildest dreams.
STRETCH: Be gentle with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Reach out for help. Reach out and help others. We are all in this together. Be kind.