What a few days. I have often felt tearful after an election. I feel like I am always backing the losers. I should be used to this stomach churning powerlessness. But it’s never been this intense. There has always been the distant hope of another chance, in four years time. There’s always been a story of a climate change fighting underdog winning an electorate, to balance out the UKIP success.
I’ve never seen such a blanket of despair settle over my friends. I had to sign out of Facebook as the collective raging misery was not a comfort but a sinkhole.
People are joking about moving out here but the political situation in NZ is also bereft. (NZ is becoming scarily, increasingly right wing, media is 100% owned, there is a gaping lack of coherent criticism of government, and progressives are opting out of the system.)
How to navigate the post-Brexit world mindfully? What are the important things people who care can do now?
Look after yourself friends; you are precious. You are precious to the world, to your family, and your friends. You are valued and needed and you need to make a space to be kind to yourself. Your emotions have taken a battering. You feel betrayed and disconnected, you feel angry and sad.
Right now, this moment, you need to check yourself into your own well-being spa. People who believe in, and are working towards, a fair, just, kind world need to keep their brave hearts strong and whole.
- Spend time with friends. Laugh, dance, try and do harmonies to Green Day. Whatever it is you do together.
- Write a letter to yourself, validating all the feelings you have. Tell yourself it is okay to feel this sad. Tell yourself it isn’t absurd to feel all this.
- Drink and eat well. A lack of water actually makes you more meloncholic. Keep hydrated and eat comforting food full of goodness.
- Rest. Don’t stay up all night reading social media and getting angry, that is not for you.
- Write a list of the things you love to do and make a plan to do more of them. (I have just begun an unapoligetecally indulgent Endorphin Experiment as the world really needs happier people.)
- Watch all the Carpool Karaokes you can find. Endorphins etc. James Corden is good for your self care.
The key here is to spend some time thinking about what we can influence and doing it, and thinking about what we can’t influence and accepting it. It sounds awful, to simply accept something so abysmal but it is possible. It is the way it is now. It has happened. You can’t actually change the results. When you feel the fact of that rushing up on you, try and still your mind. Don’t deny that rush of depressed energy in your heart, just take a moment with it. I have been trying to say “There is only now” as a bit of a mantra to get me back into the now, rather than letting anguish take over.
Accepting the new now leads you on to something really important, as Eckhart Tolle says;
“With the simple act of surrender to the inevitability of the present moment, another energy comes.”
(Eckhart Tolle is a really, REALLY good one to read, about accepting pain. If you can come to terms with the slightly strange language. I review his book The Power of Now here.)
The “other energy” that comes after acceptance could be all sorts of things. It might look like a perspective change, a tiny, quiet hopefulness, a sense of action, a decision to take a political role, it might be inspiration about how you can use your unique talent to alleviate poverty in your community.
Empathy for Leavers
Not all Leavers are right wing dicks. Some are. But lots are poor. Some wanted change. All were lied to. Some did it because they saw a new financial opportunity for the things they care about – social infrastructure, the NHS. Like I say, all were lied to.
Many were feeling disempowered and marginalised, and now they are discovering they still are. The only thing that could possibly change that at all is empathetic listening, or at the very least trying to see the best intentions of Leavers. Non Violent Communication has a lot to offer here; Leavers would have voted out of a desire to have their basic needs met. It is the ultimate human motivation and almost every action of ours eventually comes back to it. Can you still be angry with someone who voted because they wanted a secure roof over their head for their family?
(Forgive me, Non Violent Communication World, but I still feel perfectly okay about people directing anger towards Bojo.)
💌 #Craftivism kits & @storeforthemind tins heading to homes in the UK ordered yesterday 💚 Don’t despair, don’t get angry, join in some positive, gentle activism especially if you’re feeling emotionally drained, vulnerable & need to find hope to keep striving to #BeTheChange ✂️ These lovelies have 👉🏼 Craftivist-collective.com 😘
(These Ten Gentle Nudges from Craftivist Collective might help you keep your activism kind and empathetic!)
Something good can come out of this. We can steel ourselves more than ever for love. Those tiny little everyday things are so, so, so radical. Our weapons in the face of hate peddlers are smiling on the street at strangers, helping families up the stairs at the station with buggies and luggage, taking the bin out for our elderly neighbour, having an actual conversation at the til when we buy our paper from the corner shop, making friends with people who are not like us, inviting people new in the area over for tea, giving someone a seat at the bus stop, giving cans to the food bank. These are not pathetic, lowly actions. They are the antidote to the racist graffiti and anonymous shouted slurs and odious, divisive politics.
Hope Not Hate
Shivers, Hope Not Hate’s Campaign “Still Believe in Each Other” is a bit of a beacon right now.
Nick of Hope Not Hate says “One thing is sure. We cannot allow the toxic Referendum debate to spill over into local communities. Speaking to those from eastern and central Europe, and indeed other immigrants, over recent days it is clear that many are worried. They are uncertain about their future and concerned about a racist backlash”
Join Still Believe here.
(Thanks to the Craftivist- Collective for the creative responses to our political dystopia.)
I keep selling up thinking about Jo Cox and this post-Brexit world. What would she want? She would want us believing we have more in common than ever before.
Raising a Hopeful, Justice Loving Generation
This is a long game. I’m not offering party political advice. But I do believe in everyday politics and I do believe that raising children respectfully and kindly is a political decision. The long game is about raising generations of children who will be inclusive, because they were not marginialised as kids, who will advocate for the voiceless, because they had their voice heard when they were small, who will love radically, because they experienced unconditional love in the home, who will value the dispossessed, the marginalised, the powerless, because they were once empowered by those who held more power.
Some stuff here on Empathetic parenting and how to raise a (world changing) rebel. I discuss prejudice against children in this post on adultism and you can check out all my posts on parenting this progressive way here.
We’ve been spending a bit of time lately with a hardcore activist, one with a wise, kind soul; he has been fighting mining for several decades and has been through the wringer. It has been inspiring talking with him about how to deal with the weariness and desparation felt when you feel powerless in the face of f*ckwittery politics. Something he said stayed with me, about how if you can remain composed whilst in the very depths, something beautiful can make an appearance.
“Composure in the depths ushers in a composition”
We don’t know what it sounds like yet but one day we will hear the melody and recognise where it came from.
Love and solidarity to you.