This is a supplemental, emergency blog post. I am writing in response to some things I've been noticing in my community, in the wake of the election results.
My beloved community: artists are a vulnerable part of the population, because many of us are low-income, with barely enough resources get through our daily lives. For most of our lives we often make huge sacrifices in order to keep making art. Many of us NEED to make art as a therapeutic healing process, to work through dark and often traumatic origins. At times like this, when our larger world becomes terrifyingly unstable, and our vulnerability is brought into sharp focus, we are at risk of losing all hope. So great is our existential dread that we might be tempted to engage in behaviors and practices that are harmful to our wellbeing.
So I am writing to tell you: STOP! If you are self-harming through substance abuse, reckless behavior, abandoning or destroying your art projects, or any other kind of self-violence, STOP STOP STOP!!!
Please take a minute and breathe deeply now.
Understand this: throughout history, artists have survived war, plague, famine, rape, and genocide and come through making art that heals and uplifts the entire human race.
And this: the forces of tyranny and oppression depend on vulnerable people giving up.
And also this: your voice is NEEDED! YOU ARE NEEDED!!
Let's take another breath, and another.
Now let's look at 5 things you can do, right now, to get your power back:
- Harness the awesome power of your mind. Learn to calm yourself, center your thoughts, improve your focus and mental clarity. A calm, strong mind is essential if we want to respond instead of reacting. Go deep within yourself and find a peace that no one and nothing can take away. Do it every morning, before you get out of bed, for 10 minutes. Once you're good at it, try 30 minutes sitting up in a chair, with your eyes closed. How long can you keep your mind calm? Try for an entire hour. (AUTHOR'S NOTE: I wrote, played, and narrated a Guided Breathing Meditation that is available for sale on my site, but email me directly and I'll send it to you for free).
Take full advantage of your medical insurance
- (This one might involve a co-pay, but it is absolutely worth your time!) Right now we don't know exactly what will happen to our insurance, so take this time to use it to its fullest. Make an appointment with your PCP and get a full physical. Gather data about yourself! As questions about your overall health, and find out if there are any particular aspects you should be working on as you age. Get as many immunizations as you can, including a flu shot. Fill any necessary prescriptions, renew your birth control, and get tested for STI's and cholesterol. While you're working on your health, get more sleep!
Sign up to volunteer for local and national orgs
- Now is the time to be the change we wish to see in the world. People in your community, and in our nation, need your help. Sign up and be generous with your time. Commit to 1 volunteer hour per week, and increase it as you can. Here are some good places to start: http://www.joincampaignzero.org/#vision http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/get-involved/ https://www.rainn.org/get-involved
Perform a daily selfless act of kindness
- Do this every day, no matter how small. Comfort someone by listening and holding space for their emotions. Give up your seat to a stranger on the bus. Clean up some trash in your local park. Help a snail make it all the way across the garden. Be completely present in the act, and do it with no expectation of reward, or even acknowledgement. Don't perform it on social media! Do it privately, without telling anyone. Make a it a daily practice of integrity, compassion, and love. Let it be your reminder that love is the most powerful force on earth.
Completely eliminate sugar from your diet
- It may seem implausible, even ridiculous, but those tiny white crystals are whiplashing your moods, hampering your immunity, and draining your vital energy. Encourage your most healthy, powerful self to emerge by cutting out all refined sugar, and keeping sweet things to a minimum. NOTE: alcohol gets transformed by your body into sugar, so cut back as far as you can. Look for healthier and more nourishing ways to calm your nerves (see #1).
Lastly, re-commit to your art projects. Dig deeper, fight harder, love stronger than ever before. It's OK to feel afraid, just stay centered and open. Use your art and your heart. And never, ever give up!