Episode 4 – Are Current Events Making You Feel Stressed or Worried?

 

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.”  Corrie Ten Boom

Since my first podcast launched a few weeks ago, I have received many emails from people discussing their anxieties and worries about current events. Their concerns included fear of more mass shootings, losing their healthcare, or possible war with North Korea. Many of us can understand how these people feel and many of us have similar concerns.  These types of events can make us feel vulnerable and it can be difficult to calm our fears and worries when we are bombarded constantly with upsetting news.  In response to these emails, episode 4 of my podcast addresses how we can alleviate our fears about these and other world events by embracing uncertainty as a place of hope and refuge.

Now, I am guessing that some of you are now thinking to yourself how is that possible? How can uncertainty be something good in my life and make me feel better?  Well, there are two aspects of daily suffering:  the first is an experience in the moment that we find painful, which we will call present suffering; and the second is our projection of what this moment means for the future, which we will call projected suffering.  Is there a way not to have any suffering in our lives?  I certainly have not experienced this, but Jiddu Krishnamurti, a brilliant philosopher, said his secret to a happy life was that he didn’t mind what happened.  It makes total sense that if we don’t mind what is happening we would have no present suffering or projected suffering. I do think we can reduce our overall suffering through acceptance and other techniques, but it is hard not to mind everything that happens in our lives.  It is particularly difficult when people we love are suffering and there are things like war, famine, and global warming. However, what we can focus on in this moment is to stop our projected suffering which is a big part of our stress and worry.

The truth is that we don’t suffer because life is uncertain. We experience projected suffering because we think we know what will happen next in our lives based on what is happening today.  The good news is that we have no idea what will happen next and this leaves us open not solely to doom and gloom, but to other possibilities as well.  Embracing uncertainty can actually be our best friend and provide us with the hope that we can still make the world a better place.

Click here to listen to this podcast and find out how to embrace uncertainty to reduce your suffering and remain strong and resilient in the days to come.

 

Is Your Child More Anxious and Worried Since the Election?

During the election season, many of our children experienced a tremendous amount of stress and worry about who would win the Presidency.  It became especially apparent to me the night of the election. My daughters had invited a bunch of friends over to watch the election results.  As it became more clear from the news that Donald Trump might win, my younger daughter and her friends, who are all about 14 years old, looked at me with tears in their eyes and asked, “Allison, are we going to die?”

I was certainly not happy that Donald Trump might become President, but I wondered why they were reacting so acutely to the news.  “Why do you think that?” I asked. One after the other, they gave me their reasons why.  One child said, “My mom said if Donald Trump wins we will all be doomed.” Another girl said, “My dad said Donald Trump is incompetent and can’t run this country.” My daughter said, “Mom, I heard you ask dad ‘Do you want Donald Trump’s finger on the button?” I realized at that moment that a key reason they were so upset was because of the conversations many of us were having in front of our children about Donald Trump becoming President.  Interestingly, some of my friends who voted for Donald Trump also admitted to having had very little filter when they were having conversations about Hilary Clinton in front of their children.

As I looked at the fearful faces of these young girls, all I could do was imagine how worried and anxiety-ridden I would be if I were a 14-year-old child hearing from my parents that the world was not safe if a particular person became President. With much less life experience, our children view these comments as Continue reading…

What’s Needed in these Uncertain Times? Maybe More Empathy…

hands in shape of love heart

In the fourth week of the Trump Administration, with the news changing so quickly every day, we are once again reminded that we need to stay grounded. I have been staying active in my community and riding most of the tumultuous waves by practicing the mindset of Maybe. But the deportation of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, who came to this country when she was a teenager and was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration officials during a routine check-in, shook me deeply. In addition to Maybe, I found myself needing another way to cope. I watched the live news coverage of Ms. Rayos sitting in a van with immigration officials waiting to be deported. Her two kids, husband, friends and immigrant-rights advocates tried to block the van from moving. As I sat on the couch with my two children by my side, watching the news, I could not stop crying. Immigrant-rights advocates have portrayed Ms. Rayos as a victim of President Trump’s sweeping new deportation orders. At the same time, her deportation has been viewed differently by others who have praised Trump’s immigration orders because Ms. Rayos had a felony conviction. That conviction stemmed from a 2008 work-site raid on employees at amusement parks, Ms. Rayos among them, who were working using false social security numbers.

The deportation of undocumented immigrants was not a policy originally created by the Trump administration. The Obama administration deported millions of undocumented immigrants over the last eight years. Donald Trump and his administration might be casting a wider net, deporting immigrants with no criminal records, but both administrations have supported the removal of people present in the United States illegally. In an effort to understand and process what’s been happening, I called a few friends who voted for Hilary Clinton and some who voted for Donald Trump about these immigration issues. The results have been interesting.

My friends who voted for Hilary Clinton were not totally aware that millions of people were deported during the Obama administration and all felt that Ms. Rayos should be allowed to stay in the country. My friends who voted for President Trump were under the impression that Obama did nothing to deport undocumented immigrants. Unanimously, my pro-Trump friends felt it was the Continue reading…

A Survival Guide For Uncertain Times Week #3: Give up Positive Thinking

American optimism and positive economic sentiment in the United States of America as a national government hope metaphor as a wiper clearing the gray dark wet clouds with 3D illustration elements.

It is the end of week three of Donald Trump’s presidential term, and this week my Survival Guide will address the pitfalls of positive thinking. I have spoken to many people who didn’t vote for Donald Trump and are now struggling with his daily tweets, executive orders and Cabinet appointments. I find that many of the people I spoke to are either completely negative about Trump’s Presidency or are trying to stay positive and failing miserably.

When you are completely comfortable with uncertainty, a positive outlook comes naturally. You are not rattled by new events or tweets and can sustain faith that life will work out one way or another. It doesn’t mean you are not concerned or active in your community, you just tend not to worry so much about the future. Most people, though, have some degree of fear of the unknown, and turn either to negative or to positive thinking to help themselves feel certain, while deep down they are really afraid. The problem is that the certainty we seek doesn’t exist. The more we try to lock into any perspective, the more pain and chaos we feel.

A person feeling negativity towards the Trump administration will feel pain most of the time because they are always projecting that whatever is occurring today cannot get better or that bad things are sure to happen in the future. The person Continue reading…