Post-Election Yoga

Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. These are the five stages of grief, using one commonly cited psychological model.

It’s no secret that I would be disappointed with the outcome of the 2016 election. I have been mindful, this post-election morning, of those five stages cycling through my head, heart, and body.

I know a lot of you hung great hopes on this election. As you go through today and the coming months, remember that you, too, will cycle through these feelings. Each stage will pass, and likely come up again, to pass again.

Yoga philosophy, as presented in the Bhagavad Gita recommends that we strive to understanding that the drama of life is much smaller than the wholeness that we comprise. This leads us to realize that we shouldn’t look to the drama for our happiness, but to our wholeness. This can be done through selfless work, the explicit pursuit of wisdom, meditation, and then, letting go of the results of our efforts.

Relying on getting what you want to bring you happiness is the fuel of the drama of life. It’s what makes us put an unbalanced amount of attention on the winning and losing. Not the fight, not the work, not the discernment — these are all the good acts of life, living in each moment. The attachment to a particular outcome, desire, or abhorence of another, repulsion, will always ultimately lead to dissatisfaction. Things, events, relationships, officials, everything comes and goes.

So we continue our work. Democrats noted that love trumps hate and that we’re better together. Those principles are still true, even on the day you don’t get what you want. So be a vehicle for love. Aim to live together. It will be hard work. The beauty of the process is that this work brings you love and togetherness.

You may not hear me now. You may find it triggers anger, or depression, or whichever stage you’re in. Allow yourself the chance to heal, and recognize when you are cycling back into one of the five stages of grief. But when you get to acceptance, do your best to move on, to connect with your wholeness. Winning and losing comes from the outside; contentment comes from within.

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