I have felt like the world was off kilter before, but perhaps not as much as in 2016. Reading news articles increasingly feels like there are two alternate realities competing in this election. Of course I am convinced that mine is the realest reality and when I read news stories about the “crazy” things others are saying it is upsetting.
There are two narratives competing and if it wasn’t blatantly obvious before, there was no denying it after the national party conventions. Lots of column inches are being written calling us to choose either a white-dominated isolationist worldview or a more inclusive global view. In fact I counted over a dozen distinct stories on Facebook and Twitter that I could read just this morning alone. The question is how to stay tuned in until November 8 without wearing out.
This morning I read a very helpful op ed in the Los Angeles Times by Christopher Cokinos, “How to stay sane in the time of Trump.” After almost falling off a ladder reacting to another of Trump’s whoppers, he set limits on his consumption of television news. He listens to Miranda Lambert when Trump comes on the radio. The best advice is his 5/5 rule: consume only 5 election stories a day and no news after 5 p.m.
A little while later I finished reading Lynne Twist’s The Soul of Money and she had further helpful advice. After the 1987 stock market crash, she and her husband faced a familiar choice: “We could go into that whole swirl, the swirl that was everywhere we were looking that day, but we looked at each other and made a vow, a little deal, that we wouldn’t do that. We would use the situation with the stock market to as an opportunity to count our blessings and reconnect with the nonmaterial assets that were the foundation and core of our true wealth, our life, and our joy.”
This faith restoring conversation helps us to disconnect from the fear and the anger and reconnect with our true values. As Twist points out, “The conversation we have with ourselves and with others–the thoughts that grip our attention–has enormous power over how we feel, what we experience, and how we see the world in that moment.” Let’s not cede that power to someone else.
There is a profound choice to make this election: what conversation are we going to be a part of? Are we going to feed the conversation of scarcity and us or them? Or shall we be a part of the conversation of enough and them and us? Are we going to press “angry face” to dozens of stories a day on social media, or head out the door to help build a house with Habitat for Humanity or register someone to vote? Are we going to yell at the television or radio, or turn it off and listen to uplifting music that helps us to see that right now, right here, everything is all right.