I am in Fundamental Political Shock. Shocked, surprised and sad are just the beginning. Hurt, deceived, angry, and stupid are also some of the feelings. I want to hug my children and explain to them…explain what? Today we are just surviving.
The first and last thing I want my kids to learn from today is that when we are on our Anger Mountain* lets start by focusing on being gentle. To ourselves.
The healing and recalibration process begins by starting with our feelings.
But its hard. On one hand it’s personal. This was not an affront or attack on our physical body but on our ideas. But our ideas are just that ideas. They are not who we are: we are our spirits, our hearts, our souls. So let’s extend a physical hand and actually share our convictions, dreams, hopes. Lets accept our vulnerability and be open to the differences percolating out there. Lets not come up a cognition-driven explanation to satisfy our egos need to understand. The reality is that people all over the world and our country are really different from us. That is what we supposedly celebrate. So let’s walk with them. Let’s just be present with them and not try to talk through the differences or even celebrate our similarities-first lets just be. And find a way to be OK with not doing–pro or against their ideas.
But I also feel stupid because I bought the lie. I guzzled it up and proselytized it: Media made us believe that it was about a binary option; that this was: bad vs. good, intelligent vs. stupid, morally elite vs. financially elite. This was never those things and we all drank the media’s kool-aid.
The lesson for our kids is that it is ok to be and not do. We will do tomorrow. Today we will just be in our feelings. Feel our feelings. Accept our humanity. Adults don’t always have all the answers and we can teach our kids that we do not always use our brains to solve problems. Our hearts come first. And right now our hearts ache so let’s start there by dwelling in that, allowing the feels, and being gentle to ourselves.
*Anger Mountain is a way I illustrate anger to young children. Being angry is like hiking a tall mountain–every step towards the top is harder than the last and at the top, you burst with feelings and end up feeling smaller, less empowered, more enraged. The opposite also exists: Happy Hills. Happy Hills are also steep, but hopefully more frequent. And when you get to the top you feel bigger, exuberant, empowered. So the goal when the child starts to feel Anger Mountain is to help them identify and choose to take other “paths” that can lead them towards a Happy Hill. The paths don’t have to be positive emotions but rather useful feelings to get through the journey: sadness, fear, helplessness are just some. It is ok to be in those feelings and need some time to work through them. And holding hands with the right partner on those other paths always makes them easier to travel. (And as a sidebar to that; as a parent, I hope to be that partner for my children but it is important to accept if they choose a different journey-worthy person).
What are you feeling? What are the physical symptoms you feel?
How will you be gentle to yourself today?
(c) 2016, Nurture: Family Education and Guidance