Dear President Trump,
In honor of Presidents’ Day, and because I think you need it quite badly, I’ve been doing tonglen for you off and on pretty much all day. You seem to be going off the rails and I’m not the only one to notice. There have been a lot of worried editorials the last couple of days and it seems pretty clear you’ve been freaking out since Mueller’s Russia indictment was released and Richard Gates went for a plea deal in exchange for testimony against Manafort. Are you feeling worried that Mueller is playing dominoes and Manafort will take a plea deal too? Whatever is specifically driving your frantic, furious tweet storms, I am assuming that fear and anxiety are behind them so I’ve been focusing on breathing in your fear and breathing out a sense of calm. I’ve opted not to breathe out a sense of security because that seems both like too much of a stretch and I don’t think it would be good for you to pretend you are secure when you are not. But a sense of calm could be useful to you as it might help you take realistic stock of your situation and enable you to make sounder decisions about how to proceed. You should know I am also interleaving the resolve to make things right between the layers of calm I’m sending you.
Before today I’d never practiced tonglen for you or for any of my previous most difficult people. I’d just done if for people who are emotionally close to me, in physical proximity to me, or humankind in general. I must say, it’s really hard to even symbolically take on your fear (and your anger, since really, they are so tightly fused). It feels quite toxic and overwhelming. Trying to do this for you has given me a lot more empathy for the people right around you. I don’t know why they are staying. It could be money, learned helplessness, a noble attempt to somehow limit the damage you are able to do, or they could fear blackmail. Whatever their reasons, they are absorbing incredible amounts of toxic waste and I hope they are taking care of themselves somehow.
Because it helps me feel like I’m doing something constructive (even in a woo-woo sort of way), I’m going to keep doing this for you through Lent, even if I can only do it for a couple of minutes a day.
May you be safe to change course and come clean.
May you be happy to sit with the reality of your actual situation.
May you deal with your emotions in healthy, mature ways.
May you put peace ahead of your own immediate self-interest.