I admit it, I was stunned when I checked in on the election results late in the returns and realized Trump was going to win. My stomach clenched, I had trouble sleeping, I spent much of the day in a state of dazed denial.
There are a number of aspects of this I’ll be working through and I’m sure I’ll post along the way. But today for me was just a process of pulling back from the clenching and upset and getting my center back.
After thoroughly loving Elizabeth Lesser’s latest book, Marrow, I’m now reading and loving her earlier book, Broken Open. In one of those moments the Universe synchronizes so well, I picked it up to read for a while after climbing into bed last night and I opened to a section in which she talked about a day when she was terribly upset about environmental issues. The upset led to learning she can see an issue, be upset by it, and choose to die to it. Perfect.
I can be upset by this and choose to die to it. Put in those terms it doesn’t resonate for me quite the way I gather it does for her, but it was a starting place — and I try always to take note when the Universe plops an answer right into my lap. So I fell uneasily asleep telling myself I was dying to this issue. To me it means letting it go, accepting “what is” and moving on to a new space where my heart has expanded and includes more in its love.
I absolutely believe if I’m seeing problems “out there” or “in them” that throw me into fear or anger or any strong reaction, I know I’m looking at something in me. And if it’s in me I can heal it. But today I knew before I could get to the healing I needed to just settle down and find a way back to calm and some ability to be compassionate.
I decided it’s time for the lovingkindness chant. But first I rode my exercise bike. I knew I needed to work off some of the extra angst and exercise always help take tension down a few notches. I also like the bike for the regular motion and rhythm because it helps to bring me back to circulating stuck energy and regular breaths.
Quieted down enough after my ride to feel I could sit and focus, I moved on to the chant–the version I use is from Jack Kornfield’s Path With Heart. First 10 minutes for myself:
- I am filled with lovingkindness
- I am well
- I am peaceful and at ease
- I am happy
Like many practices, if something in me stands in the way of the energy of the chant, it tends to rise up. Sometimes it might be incidents that unfold over a few days or weeks, bringing me face to face with whatever needs healing, but this time I immediately felt the disbelief and discontent pushing back against the chant. After a few minutes I wept and chanted, chanted and wept. And then the peace moved in and my heart started warming as I continued repeating those words I love.
Next up I chanted 10 minutes for Trump. I began it as an affirmation, the way I said it for myself. Something in me instantly began to fight and I started crying again. I realized I needed to chant it to the more prayerful form in which it is usually spoken:
- May Trump be filled with lovingkindness
- May he be well
- May he be peaceful and at ease
- May he be happy
The change shifted it for me — I could say it as a prayer for him but I couldn’t say it as if it already were true. With the shift I settled in and moved deeper. I could feel my heart expand and I realized saying the chant for someone, while it may or may not also help that person, is something to do for your own peace, to clear your own heart.
I finished with 10 minutes of chanting for America.
- May America be filled with lovingkindness
- May she be well
- May she be peaceful and at ease
- May she be happy
I’m still a little dazed and uneasy but I’m also in a more peaceful place. Back in 2002, in the lead up to the Iraq war, it took a little over a week of daily chanting for Bush before I broke through into a place of feeling the oneness. I figure it will take time again.
So I plan to chant every day. Because the only person whose peacefulness I can control or change is me. Peace begins with me. It also begins with you.
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with each of us.