Dr. Paulette Sherman

Center in Mindfulness During Times of Turmoil

Center in Mindfulness During Times of TurmoilAs a therapist, I’ve noticed that there is a lot of additional stress, depression, and anxiety following the election.  Many people are feeling disenfranchised, scared about the future and overwhelmed by the amount of news on social media and the like.  They feel swept up by all the negativity on both sides and are finding it hard to find their center again.  This affects their relationships, jobs, a feeling of safety and optimism, sometimes about humanity as a whole.  It is during times like these that lightworkers activate, trying to help people regain their peace.  After all, we can only give to others (and our country) what we already are (or have).

I had a conversation with my spiritual teacher Christopher Dilts about this.  We have been having conversations weekly for years and this time we reflected together on a process that could help people be more mindful during these times of uncertainty.  We spoke about how ‘Hurricane Donald’ was sweeping the nation and how polarities such as man/woman, Democrat/Republican, ProLife/Prochoice, Black/White etcetera only add fuel to this storm to make it more violent.  Christopher talked about how circumstances occur to ‘spiritually out us’ and they can bring our light and shadow to the surface.  Both breakdowns and creation can be quite messy but we can take time to go within, away from the drama to remember who we are. He likened it to The Wizard of Oz when the storm lifted up Dorothy’s house and she noticed The Wicked Witch go but she used her inner knowing to get back home.

Hurricanes are a spiral with a calm center.  We can become part of the hurricane and add to the chaos or we can rise up in consciousness and look at it as if on a weather map from above.  We can identify Hurricane Donald and track it without predicting where it will go, prematurely.  We can notice the ports it could affect in San Diego, NY, FL and also notice that mindfulness is a station of consciousness that we can also choose.

We can ask ourselves questions without judgment, ‘How can I be a calm center in the midst of this storm? How much of this hurricane is around me or inside me?  This process is an opportunity to take note of where you are being triggered and where you are creating a storm within yourself. This process allows you to hold a calm center so you aren’t adding more fuel to ‘Hurricane Donald.’ It allows you to learn about yourself.

I liked this idea but a part of me wondered if getting calm meant apathy and not being part of the solution.  Chris reminded me that you can’t help others if you aren’t peaceful yourself. Masters like Mother Teresa, Gandhi and Martin Luther King didn’t lead with ego.  They were peaceful and lead with resolute purpose, no matter what storms were going on around them.  Most of us are not at this level but we can do this process to take us back towards our own peaceful center first and we can begin by asking questions like:

-How much of this is in the present time?  ___ percent

-How much of this turmoil is from worries of the future that this storm will do XYZ? _____ percent

-How much of this is triggering me because it is connected to some past experience I’ve had?  ___percent

When this is all done you can take inventory and think, ‘I’m calmer.  Look at everything swirling around me.  If I can hold my center I can see whether things can also slow down for the people around me too.’