It doesn’t matter who I voted for. The whole election maelstrom caused me to admit that I have some reactions that are not ok. Reactions like anger, insecurity, helplessness, PTSD, and fear.
Stop right there and read that list backward to understand my reaction to the election experience. Everything building to anger started with fear. The fear triggered my PTSD from the past abuse at the hands of those in powerful positions. Instantly, I flashed back to the familiar feelings of helplessness and despair. That made me feel insecure as the specific memories flooded my thoughts. And this all-too-familiar downward spiral ended in my feeling uncomfortably angry.
I used to be comfortable with anger and quick to anger. I used to hurt others with my raging insecurities and helplessness. No more. I will not accept that slippery descent into indecency and hateful behavior.
I know better. Not only does my head know better but my heart has experienced better. The very churning of my gut and lack of ability to feel any deep peace are the stereo alarms of my body and heart.
I have to act. I do. I know a solution that works for me and countless others and it’s time to admit where the real issue lies. It’s an inside job. Truly. It begins inside. Admitting this is never easy and it’s kind of scary. But it works. It does or I wouldn’t go through the somewhat painful job of introspection. The job, the inside job, is necessary.
Today, I pulled up the Not-So-Scary 15 Minute Solution of Step 10.
It took less than 5 minutes to isolate my part in the problem. (Yes, my part!) If the solution to my serenity and sanity rest entirely on me and my work, then there is hope. If it rests on my ability to influence my world or my life, then I have no rational reason to hope. My hope comes from aligning my heart and spirit with the Great Spirit that gives grace upon grace to ALL.
It’s not a hope based on political powers or authority figures at any level.
A post-election message that hit my inbox sums it up:
“Only a contemplative mind can hold our fear, confusion, vulnerability, and anger and guide us toward love. Let’s use this milestone moment to begin again with confidence and true inner freedom and to move out into the world with compassion.
May God grant us both courage and peace!” ~ Fr Richard Rohr
His reference to a contemplative mind is meaningful to me because centering prayer and contemplation are my daily practice. When my gut and my heart could not submit to that daily intention, I knew something was wrong. I knew the inner work needed to be started so that I could return to my own inner freedom.
This same life is possible even for those who have no addiction to substance. All of us tend to have an addiction to our own way of thinking. (If nothing else comes from this milestone moment, surely we can see that to be true.) There is a lot of resulting ugly behavior. Addiction is like that. It’s ugly.
This is why I pulled up the worksheet on Step 10. Tips for using the worksheet will be in the next post. I’ve used this process for almost 10 years. For me, it works. I’m privileged to have this tool because I’ve faced my addictions and I’ve done the Steps to discover a life that is virtually free from fear. This freedom allows movement toward others that is no longer angry, but instead is compassionate.