In the onslaught of current political news, how do you decide what to actually DO?
Your energy can split out in many directions. You could call your congresspeople every day. You could go to the myriad of marches. You could read everything you can get your hands on, or listen to all form of news (trying to sort out “real” from “fake” information, “objective” vs “subjective” and inflammatory). You could write postcards, and try to talk with folks who may not agree with your point of view.
Every single one of these actions is worthwhile, especially if you feel in alignment with them. There is a built-in risk, however, of getting overwhelmed by the vast array of possibilities and simply turning it all off, pretending none of this is happening, and finding something else to binge-watch on Netflix.
I have a suggestion for you that might help with all of this.
Now, that might seem kind of kooky, irresponsible, even. Why in the world would anyone choose joy when there are clearly very serious issues at hand?
To explain: Get out the Inner Map (you can download it here):
(If you haven’t taken time to get acquainted with the Inner Map, go to my last blog here and take 5 minutes to orient yourself.)
Every level that you see, from Shame to Guilt on up through Anger and Pride, then Neutrality to Peace–these are all states of consciousness. Notice that several of these states overlap with what we call “emotions.” I believe emotions are states of consciousness. You can feel it, right? When you’re in Sadness, your body shifts, your energy is different, from when you’re in Agitated Fear or Acceptance. Your thoughts change along with your energy (which, by the way, is why we call it “e-motion,” energy in motion).
A significant aspect of this paradigm is to understand that once you’re in a state, you attract more of the same. If you’re sad, you’ll actually remember many more sad events (a psychological principle called “state dependent learning”). You’ll notice sadness around you, finding the people, ideas, beliefs to support that there truly is a lot in the world to be sad about.
Take a breath right now and check in with your own current state. Where are you on the Inner Map, this moment? How about yesterday? Do you see how you might have spun around, pulling in ideas and conversations and belief systems to support what was actually seeded by your own level of consciousness?
I remember a night when I was triggered into fear and generating a scarcity story about money. I talked to my partner about it, and she just wasn’t going there with me. She thought everything was fine, that all was well. It took me about 45 minutes to actually pull her into my fear. I remember feeling the satisfaction (misery loves company!) mixed in with regret that I was able to pull her down into my contraction.
Here’s one other key concept to consider.
Reactive Brain uses up energy; Creative Brain generates energy.
This is a really big deal. If you’re in Reactive Brain, aka “Below the Line,” aka in animal threat brain, you are in a stress response. Your body is using up energy dealing with your speeded-up pulse, your tensed muscles, and your increased blood pressure. Plus it’s bathed itself in what in the short term are activating hormones (cortisol, adrenaline, etc) and in the long term is a toxic marinade. Fight/flight/freeze deals with threat at a cost to you.
That’s a big deal. And Reactive Brain and its costs are running rampant through our country.
The “rest/digest” response of Creative Brain? That’s when our bodies are in a healthy rebuilding response. They are actually able to generate energy for us. The more expanded states of Neutrality, Acceptance, Appreciation, Love, Joy, and Peace cascade us into increasingly generative–and I would say, powerful–energy fields. And remember that this means these are the fields we are attracting.
Understanding how all of this works is extremely important if you’re trying to sort out how to respond to what’s happening in the US. If you’re in Reactive Brain, you’re using up your energy. Further, you’re in “Force” (look at the map at the graphic of the two people pushing against each other, using lots of energy to go nowhere). You push me, I push you, and all that happens is that we get more frustrated, leading to escalation and intensification of conflict. What a waste.
And then there’s Creative Brain. Once you’re in Creative Brain you’re generating energy. You can feel this, right? And you’re out of “Force,” into the infinite energy of “Power” (look at the expanding star of energy on the Inner Map–you really are “hitching your wagon to a star.”)
In other words, to choose Joy (or any other state “Above the Line”) means you’re not only sustaining your own health, but you’re attracting other positive and powerful energies to you. New possibilities can emerge, co-creativity can happen, problems can shift into solutions never-before-imagined realities.
To be clear, once you’re Above the Line, all of the other actions you might choose (calling congresspeople, etc) are great–just do those actions from those states. One of my favorite images from the past 4 months is a video of a protest march that showed, over on the side, a dance party. We can love up our congresspeople (even the ones we might not agree with), draw hearts on the postcards. And–since we have plenty of energy–we surround the folks who are stuck in Despair and Fear and Anger and Pride with Acceptance and Appreciation and Love. Our expanded energy can support them moving to a more expanded state. Together, we can expand and evolve as a species.
So, decide, here, now:
What do you choose?
I’m teaching “Conscious Relationship Essentials” at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY over Memorial Day weekend. Come join me! Here’s more information.