How to Avoid Emotional Burn Out During Politically Volatile Times: An Invitation to Thrive
In the days since the election, many of my clients are feeling emotionally leveled from the election season and results.
I myself am still sifting through the outcome, and what it has revealed.
The truth can be hard. Painful. Difficult.
Truth often feels like a death and not an Oprah ah-ha moment.
And, there is tremendous value in a clear diagnosis.
Metaphorically, it was a win for the continuation of an imbalanced, patriarchal archetype. This pattern is the root, root cause of physical and emotional dis-ease.
When a society is built on hyper-masculine values, we devalue the feminine qualities of emotions, the body, nature and intuition.
It’s why we’ve normalized an industrial food supply, where we dismiss nature’s power with pesticides, chemicals and preservatives designed for profit growth, not health.
These imbalanced patriarchal ideas trickle down into all of our systems, including health-care.
That is why we incorporate war into medicine. To fight a battle when our bodies present symptoms — from cravings to weight gain to depression.
We assume the body is the enemy, rather than trying to understand this discomfort more intuitively as a symptom asking for our attention.
No one wins in this dynamic, as evidence of the U.S.’s dismal health experiences, despite the fact that we throw more money into health (or weight loss) than any other country on Earth.
My own healing quest from cancer, depression, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome revealed a rigged health-care system that disenfranchised me in multiple ways.
It turns out it wasn’t what the media and traditional nutrition textbooks were teaching. It’s what they left out. The voices they silenced and maligned.
I discovered how people in power, business people who valued profits more than human welfare, were rigging our health-care system (for as little as $50,000! No huge conspiracy theories needed). This includes a lazy and unimaginative Corporate and political agenda that claims jobs and a clean environment are at odds. Or we need industrial means to feed us (40% of food in the U.S. goes to waste).
Yet while learning inconvenient truths, I also learned wondrous possibilities. That we didn’t have to accept a diagnosis as fate. That health wasn’t about deprivation but being full of delicious food, emotional power and deeply rewarding relationships and work.
I became so passionate about this idea of health that I spent the next eight years consistently working 7 days a week for 12 hours a day to be able to contribute to a new medical paradigm that’s arising.
None of this was easy. I wanted to quit plenty of times. There were deaths of many ways I wanted to see myself and the world.
Yet, as a result, I felt powerful and savvy enough to work around this malignancy in our society. I love supporting others who are doing the same. This of course is minus the Russian roulette (literally now, thanks Putin!) we are all playing, given the blatant disregard for our environment.
But now, months out from the election, seeing the domination of the masculine archetype over the feminine, I feel eerily back to that place when I was diagnosed with cancer.
A life or death uncertainty about the life and values I hold most dear.
Some say this is the death of democracy. Some in the spiritual realms are saying an old story is dying and a new, more integrated feminine story is rising. That a Hillary victory would have continued the illusion of progress. That electing the Donald helps us clearly see what we need to address.
I believe the meaning of this turning point is yet to be determined.
Having walked the long and winding path myself and in coaching my clients, is that everything doesn’t necessarily happen for a reason.
One of the main reasons I got cancer was from pesticide exposure due to poor environmental regulation. Not quite the neat little “love and light” answer the self-help industry loves to sell.
Why some of my clients have lost siblings and parents to cancer or car accidents or been sexually abused cannot be neatly wrapped up, bow on top.
This is the difficult truth.
However, we do have the power, based on our experiences, to decide what each of our heart-breaking experiences will mean to us. This is how we heal and come out more in love and appreciative of life.
As Maya Angelou said, “Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always on more time.”
Switching careers to develop a health coaching philosophy is deeply rooted in my wanting others to have agency in their health and in the care of their bodies.
My work transformed me from feeling like a victim of cancer. The emotional transformation required to be a successful entrepreneur saved my life as much as what I eat.
It’s not easy to make new meaning out of the past or the current unfolding of life. It might be the most challenging work you do in this life. But it will save your life. The one that is here, now.
Regardless of how you voted, the number one health priority we all need to make is to ask, “What will a Trump presidency mean for you?”
For me, I want it to signify an “extinction burst” of a hyper-masculine war on life. Extinction burst, as defined by behavioral psychologists, is an increase in some behavior prior to its extinction.
This often happens to my clients right before they fully heal an emotional wound that keeps them in the all or nothing healthy eating pattern: they will totally overeat or go on a binge. If they don’t overreact, such as going on a cleanse or restricting themselves, and use the tools they’ve learned to heal the emotional “flare-up”, their healthy eating consistently improves dramatically and permanently.
For this election to mean extinction burst, I’m becoming more involved in environmental and health-care/women’s rights. The power isn’t in positive thinking or dismissing how people are feeling. It’s in listening, learning and better, more informed action.
I see many people galvanized from the clarity this election has offered. This is critical because most of our systems are unhealthy like our health-care system. We need all of us, healthy and engaged, to heal them.
And I need to remember, and maybe the reminder will help you also. I discovered the best version of myself when the chips were highly disorganized and overwhelming. And, that progress is rarely linear.
As I look at the patterns of history and the eerie parallels between the downfalls of other great societies, the one X-factor different from other historical turning points is that women have never been as influential in society as they are now.
We have our own resources, independent of our families or husbands, for the first time in (recent) history.
This means we have plenty of groups, men included, who already deeply respect the feminine archetype.
We will all have to come to value the feminine qualities to work towards creative, nurturing, and intuitive solutions.
This will be our obstacle and path.
Are you in?