Learning to handle indigestion

12 Feb 2017

An American friend wrote to me recently: "this US political situation takes some digesting... or at least learning how to handle the indigestion."

Well put! Whether or not it is digestible remains to be seen, but living with indigestion cannot be avoided.

I feel almost physically sick when I read some of the statements by Trump and those close to him. And I am not even an American! How much harder it must be for many Americans to stomach. Yet I am also painfully aware that for millions of other Americans, they are loving what is going on...

For those of us with the stomach problems, how do we learn to live with the discomfort?

One wise piece of advice I read was to avoid playing the game by Trump's rules. If we belittle or mock him, or worse give in to feelings of hate or resentment, we embrace the very attributes we are reacting to.

Christina Cleveland, in her excellent regular blog, goes deeper. In her quest for "Wellness in the Age of Trump and Terror" (http://www.christenacleveland.com/blog/2017/2/wellness-in-the-age-of-tr…), she outlines some practices that might help.

"Under Trump’s leadership," she writes, "racism, misogyny, and Islamophobia have violently ruptured the surface of America’s collective conscious experience -- like a volcano erupts and shoots scalding, homicidal lava across the land. Many people are awakened, many people are affected, many people are in pain, and many people are living with extreme fear and anxiety. Me too."

She invited her students to try out some practices. Among these were:

  1. "Lament". The list of injustices and sorrows was long.
  2. Speaking truth about who God is. This "strengthens us by expanding our hearts and enabling us to receive the good gifts of God, even in the midst of distress."
  3. "Humanization". "We did what is probably the most difficult thing to do: we prayed for Trump, his team and his supporters."
  4. "Formation". Each identified three "tangible and accessible pratices" to help support them as they seek to be "the kind of leaders we want to be in this age of division, hopeless, and fear."

Inspiring and challenging stuff. Most of us may not be able to do much to change the values in the White House, but we can each do something to live by the values which embody the alternative.

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