Finding Love in a Hopeless Place

Heart rock

Last week was a week lost. We lost an election; I lost a week in time. I did not work. I did not make progress on any of my projects. I didn’t even cook. All of my energy was consumed with feeling and trying to escape feeling. It was a full-time effort.

I went to the Trolls movie. I Shimmy Popped, InterPlayed and Twerk Werked
I held the people I love and they held me.

These things worked for a bit, but when the credits rolled, the last booty bounced, and the cuddle puddle evaporated, the anxiety began to flood back in. I did not sleep. The one lonely Valium I’ve saved for the end of the world began to call my name. “Kelsey, this is not living.” “I can make you feel o.k.”

I was in trauma. I’m not sure how to make sense of it all. I’m not even sure that should try. America’s election [ahem, the electoral college’s election] of a racist, egomaniac has deployed some trip wire in my being. It is felt way deep down in the fabric of all the people, circumstances and creatures throughout time that came together to result in my physical and energetic existence. It is a pain I do not fully comprehend, and even now can only hint at its genesis. It is a pain I did not know that I was carrying. Now I know.

I’m not alone. Most of my friends have expressed some kind of shock at our president elect’s rise. Some are angry and taking to the streets, others like myself have withdrawn into their homes and beds quietly licking their wounds wishing it would all go away. I left my home only reluctantly last week, and even then I did not greet my surroundings with my usual sunny disposition. To feel safe, to stay hidden, I created a protective barrier between myself and my world. This barrier kept me safe, but it also pissed me off. I was a prisoner in my own home.

What could I do?  What can we do?

I can’t pretend to have the answer for how to deal with this new reality. There are lots of practical tips; ways to plug in and/or unplug. But what about all this feeling? What about the fear, uncertainty and panic now coursing through our nation’s veins?

This week I’ve come through the worst of my personal storm (I hope), and do not condemn the tactics I previously deployed. I was simply doing what I could to work with the impossible. I think this is the work for all of us still reeling in aftershock.

We feel what we feel. We don’t push it away. We don’t even use it as fuel for some emotional action. We simply feel it.

This our work because the other options are futile. Pushing it way means stuffing it down until some later, and likely unexpected more painful re-emergence. Been there. Using our anger as fuel for “doing”  means inciting action from a place of pain. This only creates more pain, and it seems we have enough of that already.

We work to find our personal balance (no matter how precarious) and then move forward with strength and vision.

For me, this is showing up for my sorrow and anxiety and finding practices to help me hold them. Sometimes it’s being in community. Sometimes it’s a Troll movie. Sometimes it’s meditation. Sometimes it’s rolling on the floor, feeling my body and flexing and pointing my toes.

These things are my medicine.

Amazingly these practices reconnect me with reality:
The sun has risen
My incense burns
A crow calls outside my kitchen window
The passion fruit flowers are full and fruiting
Neighbors upstairs shower and shuffle for the morning commute
A skateboard passes barking dogs

Everything is not fixed; it’s not even a little bit better. Still, somehow, despite all the alerts going off in my head and body, I can now see that the world has not ended – yet. From this place, I have much more capacity to reach out and act from love and openness for what is. It is hard, it is scary, and it’s why I believe we are all here.

This is how we find love when it all feels hopeless.

This is how we come together to heal our world.


Kelsey BlackwellAbout the author: Kelsey Blackwell is the lead coordinator of Oakland Shambhala, a satellite meditation gathering in Oakland, California that offers meditation instruction, discussion, and experiential activities incorporating mindfulness and “bodyfulness” to experience our fundamental human worthiness. As a dancer, she has studied ballet, modern, and African, and she currently practices and teaches InterPlay, body-wise play for all humans incorporating movement, storytelling, and song to unlock the wisdom of the body. On her blog, TheMarvelousCrumb.com, Kelsey celebrates the uncertain path of living a purpose-filled life.


5 thoughts on “Finding Love in a Hopeless Place

  1. Thanks, Kelsey, for aptly describing my post election feelings and process. My husband and I went to our favorite ocean retreat to re-energize, and I found myself in unfamiliar withdrawal and defense in a place where I generally go to feel expansive. I turn to the ocean, music, meditation, loved ones, and friends. Slowly, the wheel turns, the lights grow brighter.

    • Hi Donna, yes, slowly the light does grow brighter. This morning I woke to news that the Dakota Pipeline will not go forward. Yet again I’m reminded how out of pain, and heartache there can indeed come good.

  2. I love the bright place of your warriorship on this new day, where it comes from, out of the dark edges of personal trauma, the animal place we withdraw into. Hopeful, inspiring, these simple moments of nowness beauty you describe that let us connect with reality. They take us out of our self-inflicted prisoner loop and let us be self-kind, me-kind, just kind. Keep dancing, and invite me to dance, please! Thank you for your bravery.

    • Hi Kerry! Cheerful New Year to you! Thank you for these wise words and reminders. It’s helpful to know that even in inner turmoil what we may actually radiate is the sanity of reality. Phew! I would love to dance with you. Please just let me know when you might be up for it. I dance most evenings at locations across Berkeley and Oakland. xo

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