on October 2, 2016 by in Golden News, Comments Off on Mindfulness eases the pain of politics

Mindfulness eases the pain of politics

There are few things that rile me up as much as presidential politics, and one of them is commuting. In both instances, I find myself restless, frustrated, irritated, and sometimes angry. There’s never much I can do to make the situation better for myself.

I can’t force people to pull ahead at a stoplight, for example. I can’t physically move someone out of the fast lane who’s puttering along at 10 miles under the speed limit. And I can’t stop people from running red lights, which is happening with such frequency now that I don’t even look for the green light, just for the people barreling across the intersection in front of me.

I’m not sure why, or how, but last evening I convinced myself to engage in mindfulness for my ride home … you know, that process of being present, of being in the moment at the time that moment is happening.

I had my windows down as I headed home on the first day of fall, and the air was deliciously warm on my face and my hands. And the leaves – when had they begun to change into gold, rust, amber? Interesting … at a certain bend in the road, almost exactly half of the people veered to the right, while the rest of us stayed left. And what’s with all these license plates with Qs on them?

This simple exercise, in the time it took me to drive about two miles, actually worked. I found myself relaxed (really) as I queued up to the next traffic light. It became unimportant to me to beat the car beside me off the line, so that I could be in first position at the next light. And as much as I enjoy Drew Soicher on 9News, it would have been okay, truly, if I had missed his segment during the 5:00 newscast. (I didn’t.)

It occurs to me now, after watching local and national evening news, after taking in the latest poll numbers, after reading editorial after editorial, that I get as wound up about the looming presidential election as I do about rush-hour traffic – with about the same feeling of powerlessness.

Very little of what I do today is, after all, going to affect the outcome on November 8. I can – and I will continue to – share my opinions with you here, and if this should cause you to look at something, or someone, just a little differently, I will have accomplished my objective. I’ll continue to share these same opinions at cocktail parties and Saturday brunches, and I’ll continue to wonder why how our politics could have gotten to this point.

But just as inching perilously close to the vehicle in front me fails to actually nudge it forward, so too will my impassioned discourse fail to nudge those who have already made up their minds.

I will vote on Nov. 8, and I will have done everything I could. And I’ll be awaiting the outcome with a heart pounding pretty much as fiercely as it is now.

Until then, though, I will have to practice the art of mindfulness, of being in the moment to lessen my anxiety, my restlessness, frustration and irritation.

It’s the only way I’ll get through this ride.

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