When the reality of the Trump presidency was upon us I had no idea how I was going to get through it without succumbing to my worst inclinations. I was scared – for me, for my family, for our country, and for the world. I was scared not only of what might happen to us all but also of what we might become in response to the hate-filled divisiveness I saw barreling towards us.
LKM and Coping with Fear (and Anger)
As I cast about for ways to prevent myself from locking into perpetual outrage fueled by fear and hate, I found myself gathering resolve to counter these tendencies when I was reciting the loving-kindness meditation I’ve used for the last decade (plus or minus).
Loving-kindness meditation (LKM), or metta, is what the Buddha taught his monks to say when they were afraid. It is a way of setting intentions for safety, happiness, health, and ease or peace. In practice one typically says the prayer for oneself, then for a benefactor, then for a beloved, then for a stranger, then for the most difficult person in one’s life, then for all beings.
In order to have any hope of maintaining some sort of healthy mental equilibrium, early in President Trump’s time in office I recognized that he is the most difficult person in my life and began including him in my morning and evening LKM recitations.
Sending Daily LKM Messages to My Most Difficult Person
After a few days I decided that just including President Trump in my LKM practice privately in my head wasn’t enough, and on February 13, 2017 I began sending him an LKM message every day via the White House contact page. I started keeping a copy of the messages a week later. The 2/20/17 letter describes LKM and my purpose in sending him these messages.
I have shared these letters with a handful of people close to me and, because they found them helpful, they encouraged me to make them more widely available. At one friend’s urging, I created this blog with the past letters archived and I will continue posting the new letters each day for the duration.
In addition, on the “Links” page there are links to the White House contact page should you be moved to write to President Trump, and to resources where you can find contact information for your state’s congressional representatives. I have also included a couple of resources on LKM in case you are curious about it.
About the Blog Banner Art
The image we used for the banner art is a detail from a print I made in 2017 using the “Double Wedding Ring” quilt pattern as inspiration. It is called “For Better And For Worse” and was an attempt to non-verbally convey common ground and a bridge of sorts between the blue “Left” and the red “Right.” If you’d like, you can see more of my artwork at http://www.tracy-simpson.com/.
My sense is that to come through this challenging time with the capacity to rebuild and make headway on the issues that made a Trump Presidency possible, we have to figure out how to hear and see each other and how to respect each other as human beings. We have to come together and really deal with what is best and what is worst about our history and our current realities.
Ultimately, I do think love will prevail. I also think love needs a lot of help and care, so I hope you will join me in maintaining faith in it and safeguarding it through kindness.
May you be safe.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May your life unfold and intersect peacefully.