A key to effective action is to be settled down rather than reactive. The great things is that settling down happens naturally. It begins as soon as we recognize that we have gotten ramped up. When we notice that and stay out of the way, we naturally begin to settle. Just as children forget about their tantrums within minutes, we can allow our moods to pass.
There’s a huge difference between being activated/reactive and being awake and effective. You don’t need to fan the flames of righteous indignation or fear in order to stay awake. Becoming over reactive, winging yourself up, may create a temporary feeling of power, but it reduces your effectiveness. This is as true in civil discourse and political action as it is across the breakfast table.
You can use your awareness of the difference between being activated and being grounded to help you stay the course over the long term rather than riling yourself up, spinning out, and burning out.
Too often we try to improve our human experience by managing it. We celebrate our highs and try to maximize them. We critique our lows and try to root them out. Though we do it in all innocence, all that managing and editorializing actually interferes with our inborn ability to learn, grown, and adapt. In this video I share a story about the time I tried to sail a boat with my buns by way of illustrating the futility of managing our experience with our thinking.
In the wake of the election, I see many well-intentioned people fomenting fear as a strategy for making themselves and others safe. A state of chronic fear depletes us mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Fear is not sustainable, and fomenting it won’t make us safe. As we look around us, fear may arise, but let’s not fuel it. We don’t need to feed fear to be safe. We need to be awake, tell the truth, and love each other.
Confusion happens when we obsess about what we can’t see and miss the fact that we can always see just enough for right now.
Contentment is connection with inherent wellbeing, resilience, and resourcefulness. Far from being a passive retreat from the problems of the world, it is the foundation for deep engagement.