Like many of you, I’ve been feeling pretty shaken up in the aftermath of the presidential election. And like many of you, I’ve taken a bit of time to tunnel inward. I’ve been taking a break from posting—not just here, but all the socials. And I’ve also been taking a break from reading, particularly the news and Facebook, which seem to raise my stress and anxiety levels like nothing else. (When did the news turn into an endless cycle of impending doom?)
I’ve been thinking a lot in the last several days about what it looks like to make a forward path in uncertain times. What do you do when you realize the future might not be exactly what you predicted? When you are facing a change and you’re not sure what’s on the other side of it, but your instincts smell fear and your mind bends toward despair?
But even as the questions formed themselves I thought, oh, of course. Hello, uncertainty and fear. We’ve met before.
Sure, this was a political upset of historic proportions. Yes, I am still feeling aftershocks of grief and disbelief. But all of us have faced sudden transitions that weren’t what we would have chosen. We’ve faced changes that were, until we got past them, completely unprecedented in scale.
So what do we do when the game changes and the fog of fear and uncertainty blinds us?
I keep sensing the same three words as my answer:
Nurture the unshakable.
In the wake of disappointment, grief, loss or transition, it’s natural to feel like the gravity switch has been flipped, and suddenly everything we thought we knew is floating through the air, anchored to nothing.
It’s an uncomfortable feeling, to say the least. And while this feeling is true, it’s not the whole truth.
Alongside the floating remnants of what once was, there are unshakeable things. Things that, no matter who is in power, will remain true. Because we will make them so. We will support them and nourish them and lend our power to the causes and the truths that are so worthy of carrying forward, that we can move beyond our fear to create a future that can’t not include them.
Some of them are collective: Love. Hope. Faith in the goodness of humanity. Determination to stand up for one another.
Others are personal. I’ve been examining my own life for that which is unshakable, and the results have been eye-opening…and incredibly soothing. It’s amazing how much distance we can get from these unshakeable truths and blessings, simply because of our human tendency to forget. To focus elsewhere. To dwell on the negative.
What a nice surprise it is, amid a shitty couple of weeks, to remember I have a marriage that is filled with love and trust, even as it evolves over time. I have incredibly cozy home that is filled with objects that make me feel supported and comforted and loved. The amount and quality of food we have in our house actually astounds me. There’s this little furry creature that snuggles in my lap every. single. morning. when I sit down at my computer to work, and another one that looks like a bear and believes there’s no such thing as enough love and affection. I have friends and family to grace my life with joy and community. And I’ve invested the majority of my adulthood in—and am now reaping the benefits of—developing a career I love that will support and fulfill me.
None of these blessings stopped being true after the election. I only forgot they were there for a bit, while I was caught up in being afraid for the future and disappointed with the present.
So I’m going to leave these thoughts here for you to ponder as well. Are you choosing to nurture fear, speculation and the never-ending cycle of impending doom? Or are you nurturing what is unshakable in your life?
What have you found that can break through the current uncertainty and remind you that you are okay?