Too little, too late doesn’t begin to describe how I feel about the fact that some of Trump’s allies are finally calling out his intolerable behavior. What happened yesterday is no surprise. Disgusting, yes. Horrifying, yes. But not a surprise; we’ve seen this growing for years. With regard to yesterday’s events, specifically, it was no secret. It was well advertised, well in advance. While some Trump allies were asking members of Congress not to join Trump’s movement to reject the electoral college votes, they didn’t seem to have much, if anything, to say to Trump for calling supporters to the Capitol to “take back” a perceived stolen election.
Finally, last night, after a riotous, deadly invasion of the Capitol, more allies found the gumption to say something. But you don’t get to stand up to someone on their way down and then rest assured that you did your part. That’s not courageous, it’s simple. It’s easy to stand up to a man who has unquestionably lost all control, when the nation and the world are calling for someone, anyone, to finally stand up and put an end to this. What might have happened if these people had had the courage to stand up to him sooner? Unfortunately, now we see where the line was, for some. The fear and violence had to be brought to their doorstep. The Capitol had to be stormed, more people had to die in American-made extremist violence in order to see a glimpse of a bipartisan response to this dangerous man. This president has been turbulent from the beginning, to say the least, and this mob was a violent culmination of a four-year-long spiral out of control. Many White House officials served in positions, hoping they could bring about some sense of civility and leadership. Time and time again, that proved to be impossible.
Yesterday’s events were, by definition, domestic terrorism and were brought about by the President of the United States. I have to keep re-reading that sentence because it’s baffling. Baffling, infuriating, shameful. But again, at this point, not surprising. The President of the United States invited these people, emboldened them, lit the fire for them and told them exactly where he wanted them to go. The entire world was watching in shock, with many countries condemning what they saw while a few believed that we were reaping what we sowed. While I appreciate the words from the allies who finally chose to speak out and implore him to take responsibility, I hope they’re taking a serious look at themselves and their part in enabling him for the past four years and beyond. It truly, sadly did not have to come to this.
Typically, before ending a meditation session, I give my mind twenty or thirty seconds to do whatever it wants. I set it free to think about anything and everything. It’s usually during this time that my mind goes completely blank. I will have spent the past ten minutes watching thoughts go by. Then, when my mind feels free, it just relaxes, providing the peaceful space that I want and need. There are even times when I try to call back a particular thought, and I can’t grasp it. I can vaguely see it out on the edge of my mind, but there’s a barrier keeping it from getting back in. So in this time, I’m able to just sit in peace with my mind. I’ve set it free and that freedom has created calm. There’s no work to be done, nothing to be figured out, no lists to be made. Just rest. Just me and my mind enjoying our time together.
This is an invaluable gift we can give to others. We can give them permission to just relax and be themselves. No expectations. No asking for anything. Just a welcoming space where we can all make ourselves at home. How would it feel if we trusted that the people in our lives love and accept us just as we are?
I recently heard a friend of mine talking about a time in his life when he felt like domino after domino was falling. One event seemed to set off a chain reaction that caused life as he knew it to crumble. When he mentioned this, I thought of the fact that one domino can knock down a progressively larger domino, one that’s about one and half times its size. A Google search of “domino effect exponential growth” brings up articles like this one talking about the fact that the Empire State Building could be brought down by merely twenty-nine dominoes, each a little larger than the one before it. That’s incredible. One small domino, something that can rest in the palm of my hand, could kick off a series of events that topple a skyscraper. This caused me to think differently about the domino effect. What if, when things seem to be crashing around me, I could view it as a path being cleared? What if, instead of a sense of panic or dread, I could feel excited about the obstacles that are being moved out of my way? In many cases, we’ll never know what mountains have been moved for us because, by the time we get there, the rubble has been cleared. But what if we take comfort in the fact that, when the dominoes start to fall, they’re just preparing to clear away something that otherwise would never budge?
When you make something or someone else responsible for your happiness and sense of well being, you set yourself up for constant disappointment.
It’s a struggle to find a balance between the internal voices that want to push me to work harder and the ones that are telling me to relax and take care of myself. I often think of days when I was a kid and didn’t feel well. Of course, my inclination was to want to stay home from school. Sometimes, my mom immediately agreed. Other times, she’d tell me to try taking a shower first. Essentially, just start with step one and take it moment by moment. If, after the shower, I felt like I could make it to the next step, I would. Mom always reminded me that, if at any point, it seemed like it was too much, I could stop. I wasn’t committed to anything other than trying. Of course there were days that I ended up in the nurse’s office, waiting for her to pick me up. More often, though, by taking it moment by moment, I’d end up having gotten through the day at school, feeling better along the way. I’d find myself thinking, ‘I’ve made it this far. I can do a little more.’
I’m still finding ways to apply this in my life. Just start. Take it step by step, trusting that I can stop if it feels like it’s too much. In most cases, though, I end up thinking that I can do a little more, then a little more. And before I know it, I’ve accomplished something that previously felt impossible.