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saneI think it’s safe to say that the emotional pitch around our country these days is at an all-time high. From the recent shootings to the election, people are super-reactive, and acting out of that survival-strategy fear place.

Basically, nothing good ever comes out of that. More fear, more reactivity, more justification for the fear and reactivity — there really isn’t an end to it once you’re on that spiral. The fear energy keeps feeding itself, it looks for and finds justification for itself, and so finds justification for it being the basis for action.

Here’s a thing about the election — regardless of who you support, the possibility of the other one winning sends pretty much everyone on the potential “losing side” into paroxysms of real hysteria. The world will end. Civilization and democracy will end. Civil discourse will — well, it’s already mostly ended. Once the fear has been activated to such a degree, the mind shuts off, no new information can penetrate, it’s all about survival, and it really feels like it’s the other guy that is threatening you.

A bunch of bad stuff happens because of that.

The people who have the hardest time with the level of fear that is permeating our world right now are the people who are already teetering unsuccessfully on the edge. Those are the people who are shooting police and nightclubs full of people, and mowing crowds down with their trucks. These were not stable people the day before they did they things.

For the rest of us walking neurotics, the effects are maybe not so violent, but they do impact our relationships, and our quality of life.

The question is — how can we stay relatively sane when we’re breathing the toxic air of deep emotional terror?

The answer is relatively simple, but it might be the hardest thing you ever do.

The answer is, basically, to accept the fact that fear is in you, and deal with it. Deal with the fear that you are feeling, about the possibility that violence could happen to someone you love. Deal with your fear about feeling out of control. Deal with your issue of feeling victimized — “They are doing this bad thing to me/us/my country…and they must be stopped and even punished.” Deal with your issue around power vs powerlessness, and the primal urge when feeling threatened to want to have power over the thing that feels threatening, or to ally yourself with the one that you think could do it for you.

It’s the only way out. Deal with your own shit. You won’t want to, it’s so easy to jump into the incredibly strong current of fear from either side.

But if you don’t, you just dig yourself into your own sense of powerlessness even more deeply. You’ll get more reactive, because you’re disconnected from your own power, your own inner guidance, and the best part of yourself. You’ll have skewed your lenses and the filters through which you view life. You’ll feel less supported, more victimized, you’ll spew more hate that is bred from all that fear.

Regardless of who wins the election, this does not make for a happy life.

So really — look at all this as an opportunity to clean out your own emotional closet. Be ruthless about owning what’s yours in there. Because if you are feeling it — it’s yours. It might have started years before you even remember, but the ongoing trigger lives inside you and can be dealt only by you recognizing it, claiming it, facing it, and dealing with it.

Then you are free. Then no one has the power to jerk you around — emotionally, psychologically, financially, or culturally. You get to be sane, you get to be happy, regardless of the shit storm happening around you. You get to stay attending responsibly to creating the life you want to have, regardless of the incredibly crazy stuff coming out of someone else’s mouth, or the immoral (to you) decisions someone else makes.

You get to focus instead on the good you see around you, because there is plenty of that too. You can be a source of that goodness. You can be part of the light that people are looking for. You do it, because you’ve got it inside, and everyone else that is scared shitless needs to be reminded that they have it too.

Minimize your exposure to the fear energy. Stop watching the news so much. Stop reading the FaceBook posts that trigger the apoplexy. Be attentive and responsible to your own energy. Know what that feeling is in your body and when you are feeling it, and remove yourself as much as possible from whatever is triggering it for you until you get good at breathing through it and letting it go by you.

Let go of trying to convince the other side of their wrong-ness. If they are in that fear place, they can’t hear you. Your trying to make their position wrong with all your evidence will just trigger their defensiveness (and a counter with a list of their own evidence), and no new information or connection will be possible. In fact, everyone leaves feeling worse, so just give it up.

Focus instead on bringing your best gifts to the world. We need them, whatever they are. We need all of them. So do what makes you happy, do what brings your pleasure and joy, no matter how quirky. Do what makes you feel most like you, feeling good. This is what we need. Thanks for being you, in the world, right now.


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