Or during a commercial break watching the returns, keep it open in your browser as an antidote to all the Facebook and news updates, share it with everyone who could use a dose of peace today. Which is all of us. You need to vote, but you don’t need to be stressed.
So let’s begin.
1. Feel your feet on the ground beneath you.
Roll onto your toes, back onto your heels. Find a happy medium between the two, so you are evenly balanced. Bend your knees slightly then straighten them, repeating once more, and notice the strength of your legs supporting you, pressing you into and away from the earth. You are grounded.
(If seated, notice what parts of the body are making contact with the ground or other furniture, notice where your body is in contact with itself, notice where the body is only in air. What is holding you up? What is supporting you?)
2. Feel your heartbeat inside your body.
Can you get still enough to hear the whooshing? To feel the thump within, the ripples of your own heart, like a rock being tossed into a lake, waving out through the rest of your body? You can bring hands to your neck (casually – this can be done inconspicuously, I swear), or wrist, if you want assistance finding the rhythm. Feel the steadiness of your own pulse.
3. Take deep breaths.
And not just the kind you do at the doctor when they listen to your lungs, but steady, measured breaths. Since you’ve already found your heartbeat, link the breath to the beats. Find a rhythm that’s comfortable for you. 2-4 beats in, 2-4 beats out. Try to keep the breathing even at first, then move to longer exhales. (ex: 4 beats in, 6 beats out) This should be enjoyable and spacious, not forced. Don’t strain your breath. Go at whatever pace feels calming.
4. Be in your own experience.
There will be lots of people and sounds and activities around you. Keeping with even breaths, notice these happenings, but also notice that they are not your happenings. That is their story, and you are in your own body and mind. You get to control how you feel and react and show up. You can stay grounded, connected, breathing, in any circumstance.
5. BONUS ROUND: Send peace and ease to all beings.
Goodness knows we need it. If you find yourself full of compassion, knowing that all beings want to be free from their sufferings (which is really what’s causing the all the ruckus!), if you find yourself with a wellspring of peace, begin to send it out. Like ripples in a pond, gently leaving a wake behind you. Try taking a couple of deep breaths for the person closest to you. For the people who can’t breathe deeply right now. Can you broaden your peacefulness past your own body and experience? Even if it’s just a couple of inches out from you. We all want to be happy and free. We all want to be relieved of our sufferings. This is what we have in common. Connect to this compassion, connect to those around you with understanding, and use your calmness to be contagious. This can be done energetically, or literally, being kind and relaxed and warm to the election judges, the people in line, the people you are watching with.
If you find yourself building up walls, feeling out of control, spinning out with an anxious mind, start right back at the beginning. Ground yourself in your body. Feel your pulse. Begin to breathe deliberately. Come back into your own experience.
Thank you for voting. Thank you for your practice.