The Inner and Outer Kingdoms: On News and Anxiety

Yesterday morning, I woke up feeling sick to my stomach. I instantly knew what it was: I had ingested so much news, so much anxiety about the world, that I was making myself sick.

I felt trapped in my illness: I felt obligated to stay engaged with the news, to stay glued to the screen of my computer, to witness each horrifying executive order, each breakdown of democracy. Yesterday, I realized that I was killing myself, quite literally: my cortisol levels were in overdrive, flooding my blood stream. If I allowed that to continue, it would cripple every system in my body. I was allowing myself to get lost in anxiety, losing the anchor of my soul.

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Living Mindfully in a Kingdom of Fear

Like many, I watched in horror as America elected a narcissistic bully as our next president. Like many, I was overwhelmed by despair, panic, and grief, and astonished by the intensity of my feelings. A serene voice in my head repeated, over and over, “There, there, things might not beĀ that bad. We don’t know the future. Maybe he won’t be a complete unmitigated monster.” And yet I couldn’t curtail the horror, disgust, and panic that was rising within me. I couldn’t sleep, I drank too much, I was a morose basket case. I couldn’t get out of my head the circus of obscenities that we had all been exposed to: the abuses, the lies, the disregard for the beams of democracy, the Caligula-like grandiosity of Donald Trump. Now we are to live with such disgust – and whatever other follies may come – for the next four years.

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