I've practiced meditation, centering prayer, and deep stillness for more than 25 years. But this week, I got an app for my phone - CALM - that teaches meditation to beginners.
It turns out that a Trump Presidency is good for my spiritual life.
I prefer to think of it that way, rather than further upsetting myself by agonizing about how distraught I've been since early November 2016. It's called 're-framing.' I choose to re-frame the distress of slipping into anxiety and fear in a way I haven't for the past decade, and view the slippage as an opportunity to deepen my spiritual practice.
So setting aside ego ("I've been doing this for a quarter of a century, and now I need beginner lessons?"), I admit to finding great benefit from the new app on my phone.
Meditation and stillness are important aspects of my pain management practices for chronic migraine disease. So it helps that I already know and cherish the relief they bring, already have tools and inner understanding to bring to the programs on the app.
And there's another strange benefit to all this: I have new sympathy for Americans who have been feeling left out and distraught about government and power. I do not for one second agree politically or emotionally or intellectually with a vote for Donald Trump, or with the racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and hatred some of them espouse. YET, I recognize that, as distressed as I have been about Trump, others in the country have been feeling about Obama and Democrats.
I've been thinking about coal miners and coal company office workers who've lost their jobs; factory employees whose companies have pulled up stakes and moved abroad; people who look around at the country they love and feel they don't recognize it any longer and that they have been forgotten.
They have been as upset, worried, fearful and appalled as I have been these past seven months.
If nothing else, it's all made me less judgmental. More sympathetic.
Of course, the disconnect and disenfranchisement, fear and upset we've been feeling in more recent history pale in comparison to the plight of African-Americans since the first ships brought Africans here for enslavement. This is also a point of deep empathy for me, though it's one I've felt since I was a teenager, and so is not new like this emapthy for Trump voters.
The upshot of all this is that I experience new movement in my spirit - movement toward empathy for myself and others, deepening commitment to the spiritual practices of peace and compassion, humbling understanding of how easily I fall into rage and dislike of those I don't agree with.
And I have Donald Trump to thank for it.
This blog chronicles my work and thoughts as a writer. - Carol D. Marsh