To those who do not want to talk politics, that is not what this post is about. It is about normal everyday life anxiety compounded by extreme situation our country, and world, is in. And how to take teeny steps to combat it.
Just becasue I'm hanging out with the sensitive donkeys who are experts at slowing down the pace of life, doesn't mean I'm not human with a full set of raging anxiety right now. I'm blessed to be outside, not locked up, and to be able to do chores around my farm and animals. And I still have an income as does Martyn. We are healthy and trying to stay that way [please, wear the mask, or stay in].
The last time I felt this feeling, my father was in home hospice back in 2008. I would get a tightnss in my chest, and fluttering. Of course I thought I was having heart issues, which I wasn't. I began to realize a few weeks ago that the anxiety was building in me. So I began to confront it. I was waking up each morning and realizing my body was sort of lightly vibrating. I get plenty of sleep but this was sort of like the feeling of being anxious about the first day of school.
I cut back on my morning coffee to two full cups. Cut back a tish on the wine at night. That sort of helped, but I realized I was letting stuff live in my head too much. I needed to tweek my daily encounters.
Like many Americans, I have been finding my anxiety levels are ebbing and flowing. There is so much going on in our country, with the pandemic, that comes with so many depressing things to deal with-separation from family, illness, fear, death, lack of income...on and on. And of course there is the chaos in the country right now, and our divisive political world. I've tried really diligently to understand other people's reasons for supporting one person over another. As someone who has lived in Yamhill County out west, a very red area, I got to know a lot of people that had very different views than I did. But it was different then. It was not as divisive, or fear driven. But I learned to understand why many people did not like certain political views, or candidates, or parties. It was very renegade there, and it is similar in many ways to Maine, even though where we live in Mid Coast it is very blue.
I always read the news in the morning. I go to the Times first and read it more thoroughly, then see what other papers are reporting, including even Fox News-just to keep track of that other perspective that feeds many Americans. But I started to not read anything that had not happened. In other words, if an article headline was, "What will happen if a candidate refuses to leave office"...I don't read it. I did months ago. But now, I realize reading 'what if's' is not healthy, and until it happens, there is no reason to have it compound my head and heart. This is of course a Buddhist teaching, but it is also very donkey. Be more donkey.
I only read polls on Five Thirty Eight, that are averaged and ranked. I never read an article about one breaking poll [whether they are good or bad for my candidate].
Find something you like to do with your hands and do it daily.
I look for one tiny morsal of common ground when I feel my hair on my neck bristling. I heard a Trump supporter, an earnest sounding man in the midwest, state that he was really, really scared what would happen to the country if Biden wins. I mean, he was genuinely scared, and cared about his country. And I thought, okay, we have something in common-I know what that fear feels like because I too have it, it's just that I feel that about his candidate winning.
We have to find common ground when this is over. And it will start in our communities if it has not already.
And speaking of communities, the signs are going up all around. More than 4 years ago. We never put them up-this year especially I fear someone might throw something into the animal pastures...it's that crazy out there. I know of people that are voting for Trump here. With one in particular, I was really surprised, and yes, I was disappointed to see the sign go up in their yard. I thought about asking to just have a fireside chat together, because I was trying to understand. But I decided hat is very pompous of me. She has her reasons. I don't know what they are, and at this stage I don't need or want to know. Maine NPR has been doing a wonderful segment every week or so where three Americans come on, and without being labeled as liberal or right, or this or that, they talk. And at the end of the show, they say who they are voting for. And it wasn't always obvious. But they were discussions, and it helped show them as people with their own brains and thoughts and opinions.
Anyway, the anxiety. Limit the news more. Don't worry about something if it hasn't happened yet. And take time to be freaked out, but when you feel it, breath in. And out. Move your head side to side. Free dance in your chair. And don't look at single polls.
We will vote on Tuesday at our small town hall, there are 600 residents in our village and I like the feeling of voting in person. I am a bundle of nerves and fear and excitement. But I'm also focusing on what i'm doing here at the farm, with the animals and people. I'm sure many of the elders I visit are on another side than I am, and I could not even think of not wantitng to share Harry and love and empathy with them.
Seek the common ground.
I also suggest watching the movie "The Trouble With Angels".
And of course, if you can find a nearby donkey, just follow their lead.
Buckle up, America.