For me, as for many others, this presidential campaign has been the most upsetting and distressing in a lifetime thanks to Donald Trump. He represents nearly every behavior that gets under my skin. His entire presentation -- to use the popular parlance -- triggers me.
But this is not a message about politics or policies. It is about procedures or, more specifically, putting my own beliefs into practice; to walk the talk, so to speak (or walk the walk for the purists among you).
How often I have had to remind myself to just breathe this past year! What a challenge to explore my own capacity for being an impartial witness to my own feelings moment to moment! How pressed I have been to remind myself to wish loving-kindness to everyone, even those I would consider my enemy!
I've been trying harder with each passing year to live mindfully. I'll admit I feel a little bit of growth but know I'd need at least a dozen more lifetimes to feel anything close to mastery. But that's okay; I get that it's a practice. So I breathe in and I breathe out when I hear words that make me feel angry. When I hear that tone that make me feel fear, pain and sadness, or see sneering body language that intimidates and boasts. I remind myself that this too shall pass, and all of us -- ALL of us -- are deserving of love, compassion and respect, even if that is not what we put out into the world. I remind myself that I do not know what the future will be and that all I can do is bring myself back to this moment and my breath.
And I remind myself to be the change I want to see in the world. If I want peace, I have to act with peace in my heart. That's not easy for me to do with the words of Donald Trump ringing in my ears. If I want to see more love and compassion, I have to act with love and compassion. That's not easy for me to do with the expressions and actions of Donald Trump seared in my eyes. As I said, nearly everything he represents triggers a big, bad blip on my radar. Maybe you feel this way about him. Maybe you feel this way about "her." Or about someone you know at home, work, school. Doesn't matter who it is. Just see them as an opportunity to practice your mindfulness skills, and thank them for that. And do your best in that moment.