Trump. Brexit. Loss. Anxiety. Death.
Wondering. Waiting. Watching.
All words that right now are floating around in my mind, weaving in and out of each other.
This morning as I awoke to the news that Donald Trump will be America’s next president, I was strongly reminded of Brexit. I recalled a post I had done then, which is equally as applicable now. I’ve re-arranged it and added some more words for this situation.
If you’re feeling shaken, concerned, and are wondering what on earth your future or indeed the future of the world is going to be in these next years as Trump changes policies, alters course and makes his mark, then read on.
Uncertainty, doubt, confusion, anxiety, guilt, anger, tears – you may already be very familiar with these emotions.
They all belong to grief.
In one way or another, the citizens of America, and many other countries, will be in mourning right now.
Because it was such a close vote in the end, all those who voted will be affected, regardless of whether they think they ‘won’ or ‘lost’.
That’s because an ending has happened, and when any kind of ending comes, whether you realize it or not, a letting go also has to happen. And that involves a mourning of some kind as the old dies away and makes way for the new.
Just as in the death of a person.
And as you will know if you’ve ever suffered a major ending of any kind in your life, let alone the death of a loved one, the resulting emotions can be very turbulent, with uncertainty and unknowing a common thread through them all.
At times like this, the mind goes into overdrive, trying to sort out how to cope.
Trying to find a clear path forward, and bring things back to a sense of order, a sense of familiarity.
But the qualities of grief are the exact opposite of that.
Grief includes not knowing, wondering, and anxiety when a major change happens.
You’re not supposed to be able to make decisions easily, be organized or able to think clearly.
It helps if you realize this, because then you can catch yourself being self-judgmental or self-critical (which often shows up as judging and criticizing of others, as in mutterings such as ‘the idiot, why did he do that?’ or ‘it’s not fair, I didn’t want that!’ or ‘why didn’t I …. (or why did I….)’.
When you notice yourself thinking these kinds of thoughts, what may appear on the surface as an opportunity for you to be right and others wrong, is in fact an opportunity to go deeper and understand what is really happening.
And what’s really happening is a natural human reaction to loss.
It occurs with all major losses.
But the way that individual humans react to these losses is very variable, and can make the difference between experiencing pain and anxiety, and prolonging suffering.
Here’s 3 non-actions you can take to help you move through anxiety and grief more easily, and therefore help you come to terms with this world situation:
Watch out for statements that keep you separate from others.
Especially watch out for the tendency to affirm separation and keep you right and the other wrong (e.g. blaming someone for dying in the first place, wishing you could have voted differently, justifying your actions). Breathe and go deeper to find the underlying opening your heart is showing you.
2. Withstand the emotion-based demands from your mind which likes to control and feel certain.
The ability to withstand these usually urgent messages, which nearly always dictate that you take action quickly, are messages that are coming from fear. Fear-based actions will always eventually create trouble. They have that inherent in them. Instead, just wait and see what happens.
3. Be willing to experience the sea of uncertainty and unknowing.
Become familiar with how this ocean feels. Let yourself be tossed about, or even just bob around, in these waters until clarity shows itself. This is not an easy task, because of points 1 and 2. But if you can do that, you may find yourself surprised at what can then arise to the surface.
Wise leaders of all countries will have prepared in advance for the possible election of either candidate – but particularly so for Trump, as he is symbolic of a departure from the ‘known’ way of doing things.
This may have been difficult, as by default someone who comes into office without experience and without precedents will be stirring up the status quo and doing things differently.
However, wise preparation, slowing down and waiting are all instrumental for optimum next steps, for those in positions of responsibility, as well as the general public of that country.
If you’ve been recently bereaved, then any advance planning that person did before they died will also help you.
That’s what happened for me when my husband died, and I was incredibly grateful he had taken the time to do at least some death prep – it helped me hugely to know I was carrying out his wishes.
For example, most people instinctively know that, at the minimum, a will is a good idea.
But most also do nothing about it (79% of people in the UK and the USA have been quoted as saying it’s a great idea to be well-prepared for their own death, and only 21% have anything written down, whether in the form of a will or other documents).
If you’re one of these, then my workbook, Before I Go: Practical Questions To Ask and Answer Before You Die, is a great first place to start with your preparations. Get your copy here now: http://giftedbygrief.com/the-list/
Remember, just as painting a room is much more effective when excellent preparation has been done, wise moves forward are also most effective and successful when based on quality preparation.
While America and the world come to terms with the results of this election, you can take care of your own world by preparing for your own end of life, and leave your family much better looked after than most.