Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Spiritual Practices for Dealing with Trump

I belong to a spiritual friends group, and at our last meeting one of our members posed the question, “How do we develop spiritual practices to deal with all the hate coming from the Trump administration?”

One thing is that while it’s important to stay informed and be part of forums for discussion on current events, it’s also important not to drown in the barrage of bad news, so put some realistic limits on your exposure.  I know I’ve had to take myself off social media some days as I sank into despair in the constant news of yet another outrage from our new administration and righteous anger from my Facebook friends.

Our group talked about how meditation worked for some people as a coping practice, but not all of us.  For some, meditative practices take the form of yoga or playing the piano, for example, or spiritual reading.

We agreed that as part of our spiritual practice we needed to somehow push back, to feel we were making a difference. Sometimes this will mean taking to the streets again in protest, as some of our members did for the recent Women’s March.  But small but insistent incursions on our communities’ woes, like volunteering for a good cause, while not solving all the country’s problems, do carve out a sphere of good in a sea of bad.

Another way to push back is by donating to a cause that benefits one targeted by Trump, like the Human Rights Campaign for LGBT advocacy and Planned Parenthood for women’s rights. Even a small donation can make a difference when it’s multiplied by many people.

Perhaps most important of all is the purest way to deal with hate, and that is with love.  All of us in the group knew intellectually that this was right, but in all our imperfect, Buddhist-learning good intentionedness would find it challenging to put into practice.  So we will put our love out there maybe not for the source of the hate, but for those under fire from it.

The trick is to be able to cultivate hope in the midst of an environment that can so easily create hopelessness, not only for those directly affected by new executive orders, for example, but also for all of us who worry for the present and future of our country and our world.  Me, remembering the admonition that there are no atheists in foxholes, I’ve added prayer to my arsenal of spiritual practices. 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

New Year's Resolutions for Not-So-Perfect People

I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions because I think they put too much pressure on us to be perfect versions of ourselves, which I think is an impossibility.  But I got in the spirit the other night of what I prefer to think of as promises to ourselves, and came up with a few I thought I could keep.  Some are uniquely mine but others may resonate with you, too.

  • Keep the faith.  In the face of a Trump presidency this is going to be the hardest resolution but the most important.

  • Spend more time with friends.

  • Practice forgiveness—especially towards yourself.

  • Exercise.  Getting up and down from your recliner a few times a night doesn’t count.

  • Eat better.  A diet of Lean Cuisines for dinners doesn’t do the trick if you have junk food snacks every afternoon.

  • Push yourself harder at work.  Really, really a lot more so you can continue to pay the rent.

  • Get more freelance editing gigs. Editing makes you feel great and puts you in that excellent state of flow.  Plus the extra bread is helpful.

  • Get your creative mojo working again!

  • Dress for work on workdays. You invented Pajama Day as a Sunday tradition--stop turning every day into Pajama Day (a peril of working at home).

  • Stop being such a hermit. Take a class, join a club.  Go to more cultural events. Meet new people.

  • Have fun!

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 17, 2016


“Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the constant omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.”
                          Franklin D. Roosevelt

Monday, November 28, 2016

Today's Gem of Grace in the Gray Areas

“Sometimes the days burst open like seedpods and we see thousands of futures, and it’s so much that our throats swell and we can’t do anything but turn away and try and forget that gleaming, all that possibility.  Who could live into such brightness?  Sometimes the days beat their wings slowly so we can take their measures, so we know how lucky we are that we are being given just one moment more.” 

                                       Melanie Gideon, 
                                       The Slippery Year:  A Meditation on Happily Ever After

Sunday, October 16, 2016

October Night

For tonight's full autumn moon:


Magic moon
swollen goddess of the sky
white warm
childish wishes
grownups gazing

Bathing in your light
I am brave
I am calm
I am the wild woman
of the night
Silver and ice
your beams souls entice
Magic moon.

                           Karen Kullgren

Friday, October 7, 2016

Today's Gem of Grace in the Gray Areas

“Great and miraculous things happen when people come together with an intention to create hope and opportunity.”


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Goodbye to Summer

Hope everyone had a good Labor Day weekend.  Me, despite the nice weather I hated it.  Labor Day means the end of my favorite time of year, summer.  So I look back fondly now over this summer as it slips away:

Weekend afternoons at the pool.  Sometimes by myself, walking back and forth and doing water exercises, starting up conversations with acquaintances I see only at the pool. Sometimes with friends, draped languidly over our foam noodles talking about somethings and nothings.  Sometimes with wonderful music playing in the background and the delicious smell of burgers coming from the clubhouse restaurant.

Visits from family.  My dad came in mid July from Ohio and during his time here my son also came home from the Foreign Service in Brussels for a few days—so wonderful to see them both. A flurry of lunches and dinners including with my son’s dad and his family. 

Saturdays with Mom. On not-too-hot summer days she lounges on her scooter outside her senior apartment building chatting with neighbors, then scoots out to greet me as my car pulls in to the parking lot.  We go upstairs for a good gab and a couple of games of Upwords followed by whatever she’s brought home for lunch from her favorite place, Fresh Market. 

The beach.  I finally made it to the beach this summer after not having gone for several years.  Wrightsville Beach, with my friends Judy and Dana.  A long schlep to southern North Carolina, but good conversation and some hilarious side trips along the way.  Beautiful sandy vista of their daughter and her two little girls sitting at water’s edge.  Frolicking in the hotel pool.  Gobbling up lobster nachos at poolside on a chaise lounge with towels laid over the little awning above, desperate to avoid the sun’s penetrating rays.

Goodbye to water and fun and hello to always-too-short autumn and introspection.   Goodbye to summer and hello to the inevitable slide into cool then cold days and darker early nights. See you next year, summer.