Credit: Shepard Fairey
Thanks to everyone who gave me some much needed words of support and understanding in my last post. We all reach low moments and that was one of mine. It's hard to cope with a coup.
In the interest of serving humankind (and to hopefully internalize it better myself), I'll post:
10 Easy Ways to Cope with a Coup
1. Tell yourself, "It's not me; it's them."
Though it's happening, it's not happening in you or even to you. It's happening outside of yourself and you have control over how much to interact with it. You don't need to get as involved as you think. You can detach and regain the focus on your life. Absolutely none of the key players are thinking about you, so you don't need to dwell so much on them.
It's not your country and in many ways it's not your problem. You are a guest. You don't have a vote. Yes, you are a world citizen but leave the big messes to the host and sit quietly in the salon until it blows over. Your goal is to be seen as a welcomed guest and not an interloper.
2. Do the dang dishes.
No, you can't control the world outside but you can control what goes on inside your home. Do the dang dishes. Don't let your house fall apart around you as it only digs you you into a deeper depression. Take some baby steps towards controlling the mess in your home. Stay on schedule with sleeping, praying, eating, and cleaning.
3. Stop watching the news and Twitter feed.
Bad news is endless if you never turn off the flow of information. Don't tell yourself that you have to stay in touch with the latest. No, you don't! It is going to happen whether you watch or you don't. Actually, a coup is not a spectator sport. It doesn't end in three hours. It's days and months and years. You can't donate that much time to chaos.
Dr. Christiane Northrup had a very interesting thought on one of her programs. I've tried to find the quote but I can't. She said that our minds can't handle the shock value of the world. We are hearing about mayhem 24/7 and we just weren't made for all that stress. We can only handle small spheres like a village or a neighborhood. It makes us healthier to limit the input.
Could you turn on the TV or click onto a site? Sure, if you do so judiciously. However, if you know that you have become addicted to the adrenaline rush of news as it happens, then give your body, mind and spirit a break.
Find a way to connect with nature. If it's safe to go outside then do so. If you can only stand at your window, then do that. Watch some birds held aloft by the miracle of flight. Let your eye find the nests constructed where people never intended. Marvel at the trees which bend in the wind. Figure out that you are also a creation and therefore part of the plan.
4. Shut it.
Modern society has become so open that we venture into conversations we shouldn't. Don't give your opinion to anyone and everyone in your family, your neighborhood, or workplace. They don't really want to understand you. They already have their own opinion! To enter into a potentially volatile conversation, is dangerous in the short term (a fight) or the long term (ostracizing).
If you are asked about your opinion, have a sound-byte ready. Want to hear mine?
When asked, "Who do you support?"
I answer, "I love Egypt and I support anyone who is able to help the country."
If they press me for more, saying something like, "Yes, but do you support X,Y and Z?"
I hold firm and answer, "If X, Y and Z can help the country, then I do."
5. Plan your life, not an escape
It is a mind trap to feel that you are stuck in a bad situation. None of us are really ever trapped and no situation is 100% bad. When we feel trapped, we want to suddenly break out and escape. It is tempting to flee a country in turmoil. Please remember the old adage, "Out of the frying pan and into the fire." Sure, there are obvious dangers to living in a place under siege but there are hidden dangers even in peaceful places. Don't have a knee-jerk reaction to problems.
If you truly feel it's best to leave, then make a plan. Be methodical. Have that plan be part of your life's vision and not simply a jumping off from reality. View the big picture.
6. Remember why you are here
It's easy to loose sight of the reasons why you came to a country when it's having political upheaval. All around you will be naysayers and you will feel down from their negations. Nothing is so one sided that there aren't positives. What are the positives of the place you're in? Some used to be and are no longer, but many good things remain, I'm sure. It isn't about listing both on a sheet of paper. I'm not talking about arguing "PRO" versus "CON". No, it's about being grateful for what is and being OK with what isn't...or what used to be.
I came to Egypt for specific reasons. Most of what I wanted is still here. Most of what I didn't want in the U.S. is still there as well.
7. Counter the destructive with creative energy
There is so much super saturation of violence and hate that you've got to counteract the badness with goodness. Play Quran. Light some incense, or spray some perfume. Hold a beautiful flower. Cuddle a baby. Make love. Teach someone a simple but helpful thing or learn something new yourself. Organize your spices. Start a project or finish one you've been putting off. If you want to watch TV, then watch something uplifting like a comedy which brings some laughs, or a documentary which instills knowledge.
None of this will seem normal. In many ways, it will seem as if you are avoiding the obvious. Yes, you are! You are not giving over to the dark forces but allowing in some rays of light. You are making your little corner of the world better even if someone else wants to make theirs a misery.
8. Don't blab it all back home
No good will come of you telling exactly how it is to the folks back home. For starters, it's so out of context for them, they won't understand. It becomes infuriating when you want to discuss shootings and they want to discuss paint colors. Their life isn't about where you are and what you're doing. You left them. They aren't with you IN MANY WAYS.
Plus, what you say will set off alarms. They don't need to feel scared for you. It's not fair. They didn't sign on to this exotic excursion you're on. Leave them feeling good about where you are.
If you do feel they are going to be seeing it on the news, then put the events into context. Let them know how far away the troubles are or how you stay away from rallies and so on. Help them to see the big picture too.
9. Ask for protection
God knows where you are and is not oblivious to the risks you are taking. Ask God for protection. Put your trust in God. Truly, you could be in pristine wilderness and be killed by a falling tree (it happened in the U.S. TWICE this past week). I mean...a TREE? A killer tree? Yep.
So, no matter where you are, your time comes. You need to take your precautions for sure, but after that don't get into fear. Fear only Allah. If your time is up, there's nothing you can do to stop it from happening. If your time isn't up, then LIVE!
10. Make a conscious choice to be at peace
There are many ways we can usher peace into our lives. It's there but we clutter up our lives with a million other things. No time like a coup to de-clutter! You have the power to be peaceful. You don't have to stomp around angry at the world or mad at your spouse. You don't have to yell at your kid or give a bad look to that woman on the street.
Some how you can be better even as it seems the world around you is getting worse. The funny thing is that if you clean off your own lenses, the world reappears as beautiful and open to possibilities. See what you can do. I know you're only one person but the world needs you to be that one person being their full self.
When we are at peace with ourselves, we are at peace with the world. Accept the truth of this moment and love who you are in this moment. It isn't perfect and neither are you. That's the truth. Within truth, there is peace.
Take a deep breath and live today. You might as well.
Asalamu Alaykom wa Rahtmatullahi wa Barakatu.