Or, what I realized after the Trump-Putin summit
I have strong grounding practices, but yesterday they temporarily failed. Just before dinner, I found myself obsessively reading about the Trump-Putin summit. Analyses, opinion pieces, Facebook posts and Twitter threads–I kept going and going.
As I read, I noticed something: my body felt more and more jittery. Nervous energy was building inside me–an electrical tension with nowhere to go. Finally, it got bad enough that I had to stop and recognize, “Wow, this is really doing something to my body.”
Now, I’ve been reading about Trump and Russia since well before the election, and nothing had ever affected me like this.
And then I realized why. Until this summit, I didn’t truly FEEL, deep in my body, that our president was under Russia’s sway. Intellectually, I suspected it. As article after article, discovery after discovery came out, my logical mind said, “There’s too much here. Something must be going on with Trump, the Russian mob, election collusion…” But it stayed there in my mind, on the level of intellect.
Only when my body began to process it as REALITY did it create an anxiety so strong that I had to get up and move.
Then I made another connection–about breakthroughs.
Not long ago, I had a BIG breakthrough. I began holding space for people at a whole new level–and showing up in my business in a much bigger way. When it happened, the whole energy of my body felt different–a whole new level of openness, expansion, calm, confidence, and love.
Last night, I recognized this Trump-Putin anxiety as an opposing energy, with a completely opposite effect.
One was powerful, nourishing, and uplifting–inspiring me to work with ease and flow, hope and trust. The other felt like an addiction–I felt worse and worse, more and more jittery (like a bad sugar high), but more and more compelled to keep reading–and of course, less and less able to function.
I realized how powerful it is–the energy we carry in our bodies. This energy is a real thing–and is PART OF THE PROCESS every time we are about to make a big breakthrough and uplevel.
When BIG shifts happen in our lives, our bodies react. We get anxious. Our “reptilian brains” act up.
If left unchecked, this is what happens: We hesitate and second-guess ourselves. We wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep. We freeze or run away or pick fights. We turn down opportunities out of fear (or we make up an excuse about why it wasn’t really a good idea). We back down from the brink of a move that will MAKE our careers.
Here’s why: our bodies are wired to seek the familiar. We know we’ve survived it before, so on a deep animal level, we seek it out again–because it’s survivable. And SURVIVAL (not creative or spiritual fulfillment, not growth or transformation or success or lots of money) is what the reptilian brain wants.
So, when you’re about to take a BIG step that will lead to a MAJOR breakthrough for you (that is, something completely UNFAMILIAR), your system freaks out.
“This is different, this is scary, maybe we won’t survive!” it screams. “We can’t do it, we’re going to fail, we don’t have time, we don’t have money, maybe this is not a good idea.”
Your reptilian brain tries everything possible to bring you back to your familiar default state. Whatever stories you tell yourself, whatever you do to take yourself out of the game (emotional eating, drinking too much, picking a fight with your partner, escapist fiction (my favorite!), overworking (another favorite of mine!)), your reptilian brain will bring them all up.
This is similar to the anxiety that comes up when the political situation feels shocking and scary.
An American president under Russia’s sway is SO UNFAMILIAR to me, my system got jittery and overloaded with anxiety.
The major breakthrough you want (for example, doing your TRUE creative work and making FABULOUS money with it) is SO UNFAMILIAR to your system, your system could overload with anxiety in the same way.
Here’s the good news: The anxiety is NOT the truth–just a body reaction to something wildly unfamiliar.
Unprecedented and scary as our political situation seems, we are NOT powerless. We have voices, we have power, and our actions have impact. We are creative, loving, connected people who can change the world.
Unfamiliar and scary as it is to do your TRUE creative work, you have the power to do it. You are divinely creative, connected to magic and love, depth and truth.
The anxiety doesn’t have to overwhelm you–IF you know how to handle it.
So here’s how to handle the incredible anxiety when it comes up:
1. FEEL the feelings.
Acknowledge the anxiety. Don’t try to push it away or shut it down. Let the feelings run through you like water.
2. While you’re doing that, give yourself COMPASSION.
It can feel f*cking scary. Your body is on anxiety overload, your nerves are filled with extra energy, and you want to escape. Just be with it. Give yourself love.
This is big stuff. Standing up for the country we believe in… doing our true creative work… creating the lives we truly want… all in the face of opposition and fear. As individuals and as a nation, we’re facing big things right now. Let’s recognize that and give ourselves compassion and love.
3. Focus on what you want to CREATE.
Yes, feel your feelings, but then let it go. Don’t energize the fear.
Give your energy to your vision and desire.
Let in the energy of what you are creating. See and feel the reality you are bringing into being–feel the joy of it, the gratitude for it. Allow that energy to fill every cell in your body.
Yes, this goes for the political too. What do you stand for? How can you call on your highest creativity and resourcefulness? How will it feel to know that you stood in solidarity with your allies and created the country you believe in? Feel the gratitude and joy for a world that is loving and just.
4. Take ACTION.
The best outlet for nervous energy is action. Action creates momentum, momentum creates confidence, and all three create results.
Don’t just take any action: let go of the nervous busywork (which is really another way to avoid) and choose the big-impact action that is the fastest way to your goal. Politically and personally, what’s the fastest and most direct path to creating what you want?
If you don’t know what that action is, take one step that makes sense.
(Write one page of your book. Campaign to remove one electorally vulnerable Senator who is enabling Trump. Email your old colleague about connecting you to that artist. Go to an Indivisible meeting. Put aside 20 minutes to sculpt. Go to a town hall about health care. Stand up for what you believe–with your body and your voice. As you continue, you’ll get clarity on the big-impact actions.)
5. Take CARE of yourself.
Get enough sleep, eat well, make time to do nothing. Remember play and pleasure. Connect to your communities.
Whether we’re transforming ourselves or our country, remember: this is a lifelong journey, not a sprint. Nourish yourself along the way, so you can keep going with hope and love, day after day.
We are transforming. Our country is transforming. Yes, big anxiety comes up when we transform. But if we can stay with the discomfort and keep going, if we can let go of fear and stand for hope… we truly can make magic.
P.S. If you’d like read more of my blog posts, join me here.
P.P.S. If you’re feeling the anxiety of big transformations, you don’t have to do it alone. Email me, and let’s talk about how I can support you through YOUR big breakthrough.
One thought on “National breakdowns and creative breakthroughs”
This is wise. Thank you so much for going deep into your own experience and coming out of it in a way that you can share it with the rest of us. It’s extremely helpful.