I'm still worried. The new US President was sworn-in last week and there are no more incendiary tweets from one particular personality. But there is still the pandemic, the economy, the climate change, the racism, and all the other things. It's hard to shake the persistent ache of impending calamity. So how do we shed that constant worry particular to the last four years?
With deliberate effort.
I think it's time for a cleanse. A few years ago my body was over-run by all the sugar in my diet. My gut was suffering and so the rest of me suffered. My partner and I decided to do a cleanse, so for several weeks we cut out all the sugars. The first couple days were the most intense, my body rebelling against the dietary austerity and demanding a return to the usual volume of sugar. But the withdrawal subsided, the toxins were processed through my system, and I emerged feeling lighter in body and mind.
Similarly, our body politic has been overrun by a certain brand of chaos. We need to flush our collective systems and draw out the toxins. As individuals and as a collective, we need to unclench the parts we are holding tense to allow space for new possibilities. The countless memes of Bernie Sanders sitting in a chair just being himself felt like the beginning. It was the first deep breath after a long walk in a dark cave.
In the absence of constant jerk-splosions from the x-president, social media had space for people to fill with absurdity instead. It was relaxed and playful instead of much of the humor from the past four years which was pretty firmly in the mode of survival coping. It was joyful, and it was a nice break from the very long to-do list of things in the world that still need fixing.
Before we jump back in to all that work, taking a moment to check-in and recognize the progress we have made as a society (and as individuals) also feels like powerful detoxification. Women are still not earning as much as their male co-workers, but that gap is shrinking. Racism is still prevalent absolutely everywhere, but many more people and institutions are doing anti-racist work. Humans who don't fit into the male or female binary still face discrimination and dismissal, but the current President understands there are "at least three" genders.
So we have come a little ways down the path toward a world that supports health, peace, and well-being for everyone. Take a moment to soak in that knowledge, like an Epsom salts bath. Let it draw out the muck from the worst presidency ever and flush it away in a way that allows us to maintain the constant vigilance we will need to make real changes going forward.
For the world, the ultimate detox will be decolonization. The liberation from the structures, policies, and narratives our world is built of and around that perpetuate inequity and injustice. And in order to succeed, we each must liberate ourselves from the inequity and injustice we have internalized in our thoughts, practices, and narratives. So take a moment to recognize your own progress, then get to work setting yourself free so we can liberate one another.
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Jaydra is a human in-process, working to make the world a better place. Sharing thoughts, feelings, and observations about the human experience.