This level of outrage is unsustainable.
Perhaps like you, I am feeling utterly outraged far too often these days.
According to Deepak Chopra:
“In any situation of maximum stress, a person’s coping skills are severely tested. Stress is maximized whenever three elements are present: repetition, unpredictability, and loss of control. Repetition is supplied by Trump’s constant presence on all media. Unpredictability is at an all-time high, thanks to his policy flip-flops and neck-wrenching mood swings. Loss of control has been mandated by the right wing’s take-no-prisoners, make-no-compromises stance.”
Merely reading the news—the “fake media,” as Trump calls it—feels overwhelmingly exhausting and emotionally draining. Thus, I turn away from the media (social or otherwise) for a bit. Taking a digital detox each Sunday has become one of my strategies for sanity. It’s sometimes tough to find the balance between burying my head in the sand and reading obsessively about my home country’s politics.
Lately, people have started comparing the USA to Nicaragua and other “banana republics.” I live in Guatemala and the government here is plenty corrupt (thanks in large part to the CIA’s intervention in the mid-1950s, the effects of which still echo in Guatemalan society today), yet my day-to-day life is good and gratifying. I am thankful to be able to turn away from the news and play with my little girl, take a walk in nature (a.k.a. our neighborhood), and meditate over a cup of warm hibiscus tea.
Still, the outrageous outrage returns every other day or so with more news of further shenanigans, overt corruption, and intentional deception from our greedy, lying, reality-star-in-chief.
Pussy. Politics. Patriarchy. Power. Paradigm.
These P-words are punctuating my frustration with the system and society as it is. It was hard enough for me to believe that anyone would actually vote for Trump, and it’s harder still to fathom that large swaths of American citizens and Republican party leaders still support his atrociousness.
According to the liberal media, impeachment is imminent—after the mid-term elections in 2018 when Democrats will surely take back the majority of the House and Senate. Can we really wait that long? Eighteen more months when it’s only been four months so far of nonstop absurdity, harmful policy making, and blatant disrespect for the Constitution? Please, no!
According to the right-wing conservative media—well, to be honest, I cannot bring myself to read right-wing articles. However, I did voluntarily peruse @realdonaldtrump‘s Twitter feed recently for the first (and last) time. It was highly disturbing and depressing not only to see how the president is wasting time on social media, but also how many people are “liking” and retweeting his inane—if not insane—words.
How can we persist in our resistance?
For me, in addition to being more mindful about both the quantity and quality of media I am putting into my mind each day, the answer is threefold: poetry, practice, and participation—three more positive P-words:
1. Poetry. Trump and his ilk are anti-art, literature, education, morality, Planned Parenthood, and PBS, among many other things liberals treasure. So the acts of reading (and writing) poetry and literature, and consuming or creating art in any form, is a subtle form of transgression and a way to keep lifting ourselves up when our spirits stumble and fall.
Here’s an excerpt from “The Sun” by one of my literary saviors, Mary Oliver:
“Do you think there is anywhere, in any language,
a word billowing enough
for the pleasure
that fills you,
as the sun
as it warms you
as you stand there,
or have you too
turned from this world—
or have you too
2. Practice. By which I mean yoga, meditation, breathing, biking, dancing, writing, knitting, or whatever spiritual practice looks like for you. Without practice, which is the embodiment of our daily intentions to cultivate and spread peace, love, awareness, compassion, and balance—to stand up for humanity and earth and life—nothing else will function.
I’ve noticed, since acquiring my first smartphone several months ago, a tendency to check email, Facebook, and news media first thing in the morning far too often. Instead, I vow to take some time to simply breathe and practice upon waking up each day. The rest can wait. It will all be there later. The compulsive need to check is a mindless habit and an illusion.
3. Participation. I’ll leave you with this superb, practical, and powerful video from the inspirational, intellectual badass, Naomi Klein.
May it, and the ideas in this article, be of benefit.
Author: Michelle Margaret Fajkus
Image: Samantha Sophia/Unsplash
Editor: Leah Sugerman