Aside from “office politics,” the topic of politics rarely shows up in the therapy room.
We talk about sex, gender identity, and rape. We discuss money, scarcity, and fear. We even tackle religion, faith and spirituality. But politics? Not so much.
Until this year.
This year, especially over the past few months and weeks, I have experienced a steady increase in my clients’ need to talk about politics in their therapy sessions. And not just adults, but children too.
Recently a child client spent a full 30 minutes of his 50 minute session discussing and drawing out his confusion about the current presidential election on the playroom whiteboard. He had been learning about politics and the election in school. He had been absorbing conflicting messages from his teachers, his parents, and his step-parents. At age 11, he is aware of of our political system and the election process for the first time. He is confused and baffled. He can’t understand why candidates lie. He wonders why they skirt direct questions in debates. He can’t wrap his head around the mixed messages coming at him from all angles.
Guess what? Neither can I, and I know many of you are struggling too.
Many of my clients are Highly Sensitive People or HSP’s as they are fondly referred to (it’s a set of traits, not a diagnosis – check it out at http://hsperson.com/). As a HSP myself, I get how the collective energies can impact us more than most. We are highly attuned to our surroundings and to the emotions of others. We are empaths. We feel more deeply and are affected by our environment at a cellular level. It can be exhausting!
The collective energy in the United States at present is filled with uncertainty, with fear, with defensiveness, and with divisiveness.
People are tense and ready to jump down each other’s throats over the slightest misunderstanding. We are all terrified and it’s showing up in our relationships, in our sleep, and in our bodies. We are tense and we are angry. We are scared and we are numb. We are so tired. Tired of the arguments, of the hatred, of the battles, of the media, of the lies.
Most of all we feel powerless. The machine that is politics has become so powerful and so huge that we cannot stop it, we can’t even slow it down.
So what do you do during these last chaotic days of election 2016?
Focus on healing yourself and nurturing your relationships. Weave fun and play into your life so that you remain healthy and loving and strong.
Emphasize gratitude and love. Change the things you can.
Check in with your children. Help them know that you understand and will help guide their nascent awareness of the political process. Let them know their feelings are understandable and share that you feel confused too so they do not feel so alone.
Take steps to get involved in the issues that are important to you and consciously help shape your future.
Have faith that if you do these things you will survive the next four years and beyond.
Live toward the day after it’s all over
In 10 days this election will be over and we will go back to discussing what’s really important. In 10 days we will be able to work towards acceptance and start to collectively heal. Look forward to November 9 as a hopeful day when the healing begins.
Meanwhile, I will be limiting my exposure to all media, abstaining from reading and/or commenting on political posts on Facebook, and holding strong boundaries with people who trigger me with their rigid beliefs and aggressive political dogma.
I will be spending lots of time outdoors, playing with my pets, practicing self-care, and focusing on sharing love and joy in my little corner of the universe. I hope you can find ways to nurture and nourish your mind, body, and soul during this challenging time.
As human beings, we are wired for connection. Let’s find ways to connect to each other instead of looking for ways to disconnect.
Peace be with you xxx