Remembering to breathe

President* Trump,

I know that whichever way the election goes over the next days (weeks?), you’ll still technically be president until some time on Wednesday January 20, 2021 (I just checked, the inauguration ceremony time hasn’t been set yet), which is 77 long days from now. Assuming for now, from this temporal perch early on our official Election Day, that we’re going to send you and yours packing, I’m looking forward to coming up with lame-duck salutations for you over the final days of writing to you.

I’ve been thinking this morning about the layers of fear and anger that so many of us have been wrapped in the past four years. Layers and layers piled onto and hooked into each other; layers that leave us alternating between boiling hot rage and shiver-inducing base fears. It’s been miserable a miserable slog and it’s currently over the top miserable. I bet if someone could figure out how to parse out all the lost productivity from COVID to somehow set it aside, we’d still see huge decrements in our overall productivity this past year relative to say, 2015. It’s super hard to be at one’s best and to perform at the top of one’s game when one is angry and anxious much of the time. Duh, huh? Not exactly a newsflash.

So as noted at the beginning of today’s letter, I started it this morning when we were still hours out from any results being posted. Currently, it’s almost 7pm PST and right now Biden has 89 Electoral College votes and you have 72, but you’re up by about 1 million in the popular vote. I know both indicators are going to fluctuate tons before it’s all said and done, but when I see the current figure of 31+ million votes for you, I feel ill. I’d feel ill if you had only 31 votes given how odious you are, but the fact that there are millions and millions of Americans willing to vote for you is beyond horrifying. And incredibly sad.

And honestly, I can’t concentrate well enough to write anything coherent tonight so I’ll close with a loving-kindness prayer borrowed from Thich Nhat Hahn (adapted slightly; https://tricycle.org/magazine/cultivating-compassion/)  

May we be safe and free from injury.
May we be peaceful, happy, and light in body and spirit.
May we learn to identify and see the sources of anger, craving, and delusion in ourselves and one another.
May we be free from anger, afflictions, fear, and anxiety.
May we learn to look at one another with the eyes of understanding and love.
May we recognize and touch the seeds of joy and happiness in each of us.
May we know how to nourish the seeds of joy in one another every day.
May we be able to live fresh, solid, and free.
May we be free from attachment and aversion, but not be indifferent.
May we remember to breathe.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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