About ten days ago I practiced 24 hours of acceptance. I withdrew my ego attachment to events, both internal and external, and just accepted things as they were.* This was so pleasant that I chose to commit to another seven days of Acceptance. One week.
And then…..and then National Election Day came around. What a massive confrontation to my little experiment! I worked as an election judge, registering voters in a polling place during the day and assisting in the auditor’s office after the polls closed. I was d0ing pretty good. I had something of value to contribute. I had something to do, something to keep me busy. Distracted, which is not exactly Acceptance, but at least I was relaxed.
I got home a little before 1:00 am. I was too wired and tired to sleep. So, of course, I watched election results. It was not going well for my candidate. I became anxious and upset. Practicing breathing and other meditation techniques is not all that effective after an 18 hour day of interaction and caffeine. I finally fell asleep around 3 am, only to pop awake and engaged at 5. I could not sit still. I took the dog for a walk to watch the sun rise. Apparently, I was marching out my anxiety, because she kept glancing at me out of the corner of her eye as if to say, “Who is this loony monster I’m with?” Eventually she just stopped and would not go any further, dragging me home.
I was committed to practicing Acceptance. Cognitively, I knew that the actual election results would not be available for days. And yet I went totally off the rails into anxiety! I did something very out of character for me–I had a bump of whiskey before breakfast. I don’t drink much any more, maybe once a month, but this seemed like the right time. Wrong reason, but right time. It did take the edge off. Like changing the channel.
Afterward I was able to gradually settle down. As the vote-counting process went on, I got in the groove of waiting patiently, for many days. I got better and better at letting go and allowing the outcome, practicing Acceptance again. Of course, the election was called in a direction that favored hope, which was helpful. I’m back on track. I even took myself off of news and social media this week. I’m resetting my priorities.
The Dalai Lama once explained: it’s not that he never gets pulled off his cushion, it’s just that it takes very little time for him to regain his seat. I managed to regain my seat, but it was a heck of a ride!
*click here for my blog post of 11-02-2020: