From a Medium article entitled, How to stay sane if Trump is driving you insane: Advice from a therapist.
“There are times when optimism is not appropriate or possible, and this is one of those times. Our President is delusional, lying, or ignorant; disastrous climate change and war with North Korea loom; marginalized people in our society are suffering. Faced with these calamities, catastrophic thinking is a rational response.”
- Radical acceptance. Clear eyed acceptance. Seeing things as they are now.
- Feeling the inevitable grief.
- Practicing mindfulness, in particular countering bad news with good (because pessimism is not useful either).
“You may object, “But I can’t just forget all the terrible things going on!” You are right. Mindfulness is not about forgetting. It is about shifting focus to what is most immediate and most helpful. We help no one by staying in our anguish for long. Bernie Sanders said it best: ‘Despair is not an option.‘”
These are digital collages that I made at four this morning. They incorporate quilts and photos of collages, so the layers are numerous, sometimes past counting.
The images speak for themselves but to name a few: the virgin atop a cathedral near Assisi as well as an Italian stone archway, an antique bird cage for sale in Essex, Mass. Quilts on the line in the backyard, a woven cloth painting, and another close up of patchwork. A SoulCollage (r) card made from magazine pictures.
As usual, I used Diana photo app for double exposures and Prisma app to create mosaics.
Soul Collage, when you listen to back podcasts of the news, can’t help but feature the vulnerable.
This next one came in response to a story that keeps coming back, not unlike a virulent STD. I’ve included a close up to make the reference clear, but since the script is still small, let me tell you. After one line, find penned two words, “altar boys.”
And because Halloween is about a week away, this next one.
I also spent a considerable amount of time clearing about six square feet of floor. Wish there was a “before” picture but you’ll just have to take my word for it. The recycling bin will be full this week.
Question: what are you guys doing to stay sane in these last days leading up to the midterms? I’ve got my weekly call with my Indivisible group and postcards. Tomorrow a friend and I will hit 200.
A fire is nice, too.
The Royal Wedding. Sneakers that fit and offer support. Really good homemade gluten free cookies. Lilacs. Lichen. The strength to push a lawnmower. Friends to see movies with. Movies. Social media (yes, even that).
Honeysuckle. Flying overhead: a robin with twigs in her beak (or is it plastic?) landing at the crook of two branches, building her nest. Good books.
A coyote crossing the street at 6:30 in the morning, pausing to look at Finn and me. Disappearing behind Daniella’s place. Finn. Cloth and gifts of cloth (thank you Deb and Ginny!!)
And SoulCollage. Here’s a card made, believe it or not, while constructing the burning infernos and dark fields (actually, I started it months ago and only glued it up this week).
I am the one who adores the wind and the sky and anything that plays with the wind in the sky. I adore red — how it pops and dances. I launch kites — and images and ideas, too. My element is air; my status freewheeling. I am the one who is not afraid to be silly or stand on the edge of a chair.
Sometimes the most potent collages are made by combining only two images.
And, sometimes you want to transmute the underlying image and sometimes, like here, you want it to stand for what it is. The bee-comb head is an ad for the TV show American Horror Story. I haven’t kept up with the series so I can’t tell you what’s up with the bees, but I can hardly think of a better way to name the gun carnage and political failure we face than: American Horror Story.
(PS. Made this SoulCollage Card two days ago but given how often mass shootings happen in this country, it’s not particularly prescient).
I need to slash and swipe and rip and adhere in big gestures right now and I lack the medium.
Writing is going, in case your wondering. So is quilting. But maybe an interlude of collage is in order. It’s not as fast as I would like but does come together more quickly than some writing or most quilting.
In SoulCollage circles they recommend an exercise to plumb the meaning of your collaged image. Of course any one image can have many meanings even for the same viewer depending on time and place. But the exercise is a useful one.
Looking at the card, fill in the statement, “I am the one who… “. This harkens back to therapeutic exercises I’ve done over the years — the gestalt process of speaking from various parts of self and Jungian dream work where each object and player in a dream is given voice.
So here goes for the top two (BTW, the silhouettes were made by cutting around the seated black man, so they are three versions of the same figure).
Card with the arch: we are the ones making the steep climb toward the light. The keepers of the faith. The reporters. The prosecutors. The community activists. Even those glued to the television refusing to let the most recent overwhelming mind bending and egregious acts slide by without notice can be credited with making the ascent. Look how steep the stairs!
Card with black man facing forward: I am the one who sees you and sees everyone and bears witness. I am haloed by history and backed by mountain ranges. Light is my friend. I have huge hands, an unflinching gaze, and more humanity than the average dozen people combined. Nothing you say or do has much to do with me. Nothing, really. There was a time I would’ve run for the hills with so much chaos unfolding, but not now. I see you and I see everyone and I bear witness.