The last few days I have felt myself sliding into feelings of doubt and fear.
I kept trying to fight it, to bring myself back to hope and optimism. But this morning I couldn't do it. And so I didn't. I didn't get up and get to work like I usually do. I didn't read the news or listen to NPR. Instead, I sat quietly in my chair, looking out the window.
I sat with my heavy feelings. I sat with my fear. I sat with my worries over the future. I sat with the feelings of discord and breaking apart that keep rising up around me. I fought nothing and surrendered to it all.
After awhile, I started to remember simple things that are still beautiful and perfect about this world. Snow slowly falling over pine trees. Morning fog that makes everything feel soft and calm. Rain drops on the window. Hugs from friends. Fiction books, travel books and pretty much all books because books are the best. And so are libraries. And so are people who work in libraries. People can be pretty great.
As my feelings softened I didn't go into the space I was in before all this started. I wasn't ready to jump out of my chair and shout my happiness to the world. But I had come back to my center, and from that centered place, I asked myself if sitting around all day, paralyzed by heavy feelings, is what I want to remember myself doing during these turbulent times.
I made some coffee and asked myself, "If my future self was looking back on me, twenty years from now, what would it want to see me doing?" I asked myself this, because whenever we look back on chaotic and even scary times in history, we always appreciate the people who rose up and remained strong and energized. We are thankful for the people who chose hope over fear, resistance over oppression and love over hate.
As I sipped my coffee, I could feel that thinking of things I still love about this world was a positive step. It was getting me back to my inner light, and at this time, we need light. I could feel that I want to focus more on unity, on connection and on listening to others.
I do not want proving my point, or proving that I'm right, to be what matters above all else.
I want my first priority to be listening. I want my second priority to be to remember that behind opinions I disagree with is a person, a human being, and that person is full of feelings too. They might be scared. They might be hopeful. They are trying to navigate this with me, and I want to remember we have more in common than I sometimes let myself see.
I want to be centered and not be triggered into arguments, but instead be the person who is secure enough in my own self that I am open to all people. I don't have to agree with all people. I just want my future self to look back and thank me for looking for unity, for finding my strength, and for focusing on light above darkness.
However you're feeling, wherever you're at, you are not alone. I'm with you.
If you need to take time also to sit quietly, do not ignore that urge. If you need to talk to someone, hug someone or just feel connected, pick up the phone. Whatever it is you need, seek it out, and carry on. Your future self, and generations of future people, will thank you. And now, here's a picture of a kitten because maybe you need it.