More compassion and wisdom from Anne Lamott, for our U.S. readers, and all of us feeling fear and grief about some of what is happening in our world.
Here’s the text, for those who have difficulty seeing Facebook links:-
‘We are so doomed. There is nothing we can do. We are at the mercy of two evil ignorant syphilitic madmen, the two worst people on earth. I mean that nicely.
Where do we even start?
We stop trying to figure things out. “Figure it out” is not a good slogan. We practice trust, and surrender, and attention to what we know is beautiful: dogs, art, the Beatles, each other’s eyes. And we don’t give up hope. Emily Dickinson said that hope encourages the Good to reveal itself. We need all the Good we can summon in these Locked and Loaded days.
So what do we hope for?
Pivot! A perfect time for the Pivot.
We hope and pray for the return of sanity, or even sanity-ish. I do not hope for a successful Trump presidency or failed Trump presidency. I hope that he does not blow up the whole world.
Is that so much to ask?
What if he accidentally blows up a little bit of the world?
Well, these things happen. We’ll stick together. What has always lifted my spirits is a promise that I made to myself, that if it looks like the end of the world, I get to eat every single thing on earth that can’t outrun me: the last few days, I will only eat nachos and creme brûlée and Safeway carrot cake. Oatbags of M&M’s. No vegetable matter!
That’s something to look forward to!
One more question: how do we get to hope in these dark ratty days?
We don’t think our way to hope. We take the actions, and then the insight follows. The insight is that hope springs from awareness of love, immersion in love, commitment to love. This begins with radical self love: to save the world, make yourself a lovely cup of tea. Put lotion on your jiggly thighs, clean sheets on the bed, the most forgiving pants you own. On the possibly last day on earth, you do not want to be wearing pants that pinch or tug, or ride up your crack.
Trust me on this.
Radical self love means you treat yourself the same way you would treat your favorite cousin, or even cranky old mealy-mouthed me. Watch the self-talk. You would probably use a sweeter tone of voice with the cousin or me, that you would with yourself. This will change the world.
Get outside, even just to the front porch, and look up into the sky and into the tree tops, and say the great praise – prayer: WOW. Listen for the sound of birds–or bird. Surely there is one lousy bird somewhere in the vicinity. Close your eyes and really listen. If birdsong was the ONLY proof we have that there is a bigger deeper reality than what transcends what we are seeing on the news, it would be enough for me. Eyes closed, breathe, listen: secret of life.
And lastly, take care of the poor – right now. In Hallelujah Anyway, I wrote that when I got sober, I was taught that happiness lay in going from big shot, to servant. If you want to feel loving feelings, which is hope, do loving things. Send a donation to a group that feeds and shelters and clothes people, in your neighborhood, or Syria. Don’t tell yourself you have no money – pack up clothes and shoes to take to a shelter. Or cash in the money in your laundry room change cup, and give it to people on the street. Give away three dollars to moms on the street with kids, and give the kids colored pencils and journals, or index cards, and say,”It is good to see you,” even if you have tiny tiny judgment issues involving bootstraps and combed hair.
If you have time, register a few voters. Also, maybe a ten minute nap–the writer Robyn Posin says rest is a spiritual act. Father Tom Weston urges, “Left foot, right foot, left foot, breathe.” Ram Dass tells us that ultimate ately, we are all just walking each other home. Let’s get started.
Am sending you love, whoever you are, and as pastor Veronica says, God bless you good.’
Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter
Counselling Exeter since 1994