2016 was a dreadful year for many of us, so I was very happy to see it go. As Americans, we endured a never-ending string of celebrity deaths and a nasty, vile election cycle that led to the sell-election of a man that, the majority of Americans recognize, to be totally unfit to lead the nation. From constantly bragging and tweeting like a tween girl, the 45th President seems to be mentally unstable and it is a cause for concern for America and the world. This nightmare, coupled with some ongoing personal issues, beat me up physically, emotionally and spiritually in 2016. I faced the full realm of emotions – grief, rage, bargaining, acceptance then anger again – leaving me completely spent by 12:00am on January 1st!
However, the cliche is true – it is only through struggle that we find our greatest spiritual strength. In April, I began going to a wonderful church in my neighborhood that has helped me reconnect with God and my Faith. I begin 2017 in a totally different spiritual place than I experienced much of 2016. And God also sent us, New Yorkers, the wondrous Marianne Williamson,who I have been going to see since June. I have had Marianne’s books for over twenty years, so feel so blessed to now know this incredible woman. I get a bit astounded every time she greets me by name, as I have always held her in the highest esteem!
It is Marianne who inspired this post. She made a statement at a recent talk that inspired me to reflect. In response to people’s fears about the incoming administration she said. “It is not about what Trump and his cabinet are going to do, it is about who YOU are going to be.” I began to ask myself, who AM I planning to be and how do I plan to deal with what I perceive as the tyranny entering the White House and the Congress.
So in this post I am offering tips on how I plan to live this year that may help like-minded people:
1. Use socal media for social good.
Having gotten sucked into all the negative social media that surrounded the election, I plan to monitor that activity more. The President Russian Select’s habit of tweeting inappropriate information and silly taunts had me so outraged, I found myself answering all manner of idiocy. I plan to use those streams for more positive information transfer. Social media is going to be our most important weapon in the fight to stop the assaults on Planned Parenthood, civil rights, voting rights, the environment, women’s rights and the like. We need to inform each other rather than answer the workings of a clearly muddled and insane mind.
2. News Breaks
I work from home. So rather than music, I have for the past year had either CNN or MSNBC on in the background for up to 18 hours a day. I became a “news junkie” and felt like I was missing something if I did not constantly check the news. I advise against this way of Life. While it is vital – especially in these uncertain times – to stay abreast of the latest news. It is also not advisable to be on a 24-7 news red alert, which just leads to distress. I now have music running in the background instead and will only be checking the news once or twice a day.
3. Up Your Game
As Marianne said, this administration is going to call on us to be at our very best. Whether personally or professionally, now is the time to be on your top game. I plan to explore the areas where I can be better and/or need to learn new things. For example, I have always wanted to learn to both swim and drive, so I plan to learn both this year. I have also always wanted to be able to edit video and film. Thus, I am taking some Adobe Premiere classes this year. This year, I am also focused on learning new languages and how to code. In addition, I now spend at least an hour a day reading rather than surfing the web.
4. Self Love
With so much hate being directed at women and people of color, it is vitally important to take really good care of ourselves in every way – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Take time to treat yourself to home beauty and therapeutic treatments every day. Exercise and eat well. Because if you, like me, have insurance under the ACA or Obamacare as it is better known, we do not know what is going to happen to our healthcare. Also, make sure to get those vital medical check-ups.
5. Practice Increased Kindness
Love really is going to trump hate no matter what. I plan to practice more kindness in small and large ways.
6. Eliminate Petty Annoyances
I think the think that irritates me the most about the current President select is his odd penchant for attacking everyone that disagrees with him. But there is a spiritual tenet that says that that which we hate the most in others is often the very thing we need to learn from. I realized that their are a lot of teeny tiny things that I too, overreact to or spend too much time thinking about. Thus, another way to combat, this sure to be petty four years, is to raise our vibrations and avoid engaging in unnecessary fights.
With so much chaos around us, it is going to be very important to ground ourselves as frequently as possible. I used to meditate just in the morning. But I plan to do morning and evening this year and also try to add some quick breaks in during the day. Traveling on the subway is a great time for a 10-minute break.
8. Educate Yourself
There is so much ignorance in the country right now and it’s trickling straight down from the top. Never has a more uncouth and graceless man been placed in our White House. Even George Bush Jr. was smarter than the current selection. In addition, the use of fake news reports has made people confuse real incidents – like the Russian hacking of our elections – with fake ones, like Pizzagate. But just like light conquers darkness, intelligence always overcomes ignorance. However, we have to be vigilant and make sure we do not fall into the trap of being diverted from what is actually happening. While the #goldenshowers story was funny, it was a diversion. The real issue is that the Russians have damaging stuff that they can leverage against the incoming leader of the free world.
With so many people sure to be in greater need under this 1% minded administration, there will be tons of opportunities to give back both here in America and globally.
10. Speak Out
And finally, the current administration has many questionable objectives involving civil rights, women’s rights, immigration rights, the environment, healthcare, NATO, right to privacy and the economy. We, as American and global citizens, are being called like no other time in history to vigilantly stay aware of everything that is being done. For example, the recent attempt to obliterate the Congressional Ethics Committee by House Republicans was only defeated by our jamming the phone lines and taking to social media to stop it. Having enjoyed a break from politics, I plan to speak out whenever necessary and possible.