They Say They Caught Me With My Hands Up, But I Didn’t Do Anything Wrong… By Elana Stanger, L.C.S.W.

How do we maintain hope at times like these when the media tells us that so much is wrong with our world?  We are told daily that the lives of immigrants, Muslims, Mexicans, women, Jews, People of Color, LGBTQI People, and just about everybody else, don’t matter and are in danger.  We feel as if we are being put in a position where we must fight for our lives and our safety or die.  We worry that will not survive if we sit idly by and do nothing.

We must condemn the hatred and animosity of our enemies while not becoming like them ourselves. This is a difficult job.  We must stay centered within ourselves, our hearts, and our minds, for the Highest Good of the Universe to manifest.  How do we take the higher road, when we are scared for our very lives and our very survival, and at the same time, take care of our hearts?

How can we be a force that grows stronger in love, truth, light and peace, rather than becoming like our enemies who choose to espouse hatred, lies, darkness, and violence?  The wicked mindset of White supremacy and those who spew racist hate speech, commit violent actions against good and innocent human beings, and harbor racist beliefs toward those same good and innocent human beings is abhorrent.  We must understand this mindset as antisocial pathology in terms of psychology.

It may be possible to treat these people psychologically.  However, it is more important that we focus on ourselves and our own mental health concerns, taking care of ourselves first, before going out into the terror of the lions’ den to convert and coax racist White supremacists from out of the darkness and into the light, although some of us may have the resources and inclination to do this work.

It is hard to accept that someone who we have elected to be the leader of our beloved country, a country of beautifully diverse individual citizens and groups, espouses these same erroneous beliefs and mindset.

Therefore, I would now like to suggest a few supportive exercises to sustain and grow our mental health while having to combat racism and White supremacy.  Turn of the TV, the phone, the computer. Then, do these four things: (1) rest, (2) sit in meditation and practice deep breathing, (3) take quiet walks in nature, and (4) write down your thoughts and feelings in a journal.  These practices that will help us find inner peace, quiet, balance, and will make us all more effective activists, healers and artists fighting for the Truth, Worth and Dignity of All of Us.

Remember to Rest

Rest is important.  I offer some guidance on rest here: Remember to Rest.

Meditation and Deep Breathing

If you do not already have one, start a daily practice of breathing deeply for 10 to 20 minutes.  I offer some guidance on meditation practice here: Daily Meditation.

Walks in Nature

Go to a neighborhood park or the woods if you have them nearby, or just take a quiet walk around the block, taking in the sights and sounds and practicing deep breathing as you walk.  Stretch and relax your limbs.  As you walk, let the chatter in your mind dissipate as you find your quiet center.  Stand near a tree and feel yourself calmly inhale the oxygen it is producing for your breathing pleasure.  Feel your heart calm down inside of your chest as you breathe.  Turn up the corners of your mouth slightly into a relaxed smile.  Remember it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown, so turn that frown upside down…


Writing in a journal or notebook can help you sort out your thinking.  Placing the stressful thoughts and feelings outside of you so you no longer carry them around inside of you where they can fester, contaminate your precious mind, and create a sense of overwhelm, is possible.  Just write everything down, your fears, your cares, your worries… You might just feel so relieved by the time you are done, that you feel ready to run a marathon, literally or figuratively.  As you write, you might also come up with some great ideas to execute in the work of social justice and building intercultural unity!



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