Recently I was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation. In layman’s language, an irregular heartbeat. My doctor observed it in my routine check up. I had first noticed it last November, but as I had no other symptoms I had given it no thought. My MD, however was definitively alarmed, threatening to put me on Warfarin – rat poison for goodness sake! However, she ultimately settled for 81mg of aspirin and a referral to the Atrial Fibrillation Clinic at St. Paul’s Hospital.
So what does this have to do with my new relationship with our orange-topped Leader of the Free World? Be patient. All will be revealed.
My belief in the relationship between mind, body, and Soul caused me to immediately begin an enquiry both inside and outside conventional medical treatment.
The physical reasons behind this rhythmic shift, according to the Mayo Clinic, can include: high blood pressure, heart attacks, coronary disease, valve problems, congenital defects, stimulants such as caffeine, stress, sleep apnoea and a host of others. I resigned myself to a journey through the conventional medical system – blood work, an echocardiogram and a heart monitor for twenty-four hours. I also pursued healing on a series of other fronts. I began to have bodywork, started acupuncture along with a series of back exercises. (I had not considered that the spine plays a fundamental role in conducting the signals that cause the heart to beat)
But on the emotional and spiritual side, what could have happened to cause this disharmony?
Clearly my heart had lost its rhythm. That seemed a curious and meaningful metaphor.
I knew that I had first noticed my heart beating irregularly in November of last year. I wondered what could have happened then to trigger such a change, so I sought out my journal and found two entries. Both were on the same subject: My despair at the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States.
I began to see the trap I had fallen into. I had become active at seeking out all news that disparaged the new President. I wanted him to fail, to be impeached or resign.
Every day I would look for the most negative articles I could find. I loaded the New York Times app on my phone as well as the New Yorker, who seem to hate him more than anyone else.
I would YouTube all the anti trump comedy shows – John Oliver, Bill Mahr, Saturday Night Live, Seth Grogan – my life became dominated by my anti Trump philosophy.
Ironically I was learning a poem by Hafiz at the same time interpreted by Daniel Ladinsky and titled “We Have Not Come to Take Prisoners”. It includes the phrases: “Run my dear at anything that does not strengthen your precious budding wings. Run like hell my dear from anyone who may stick a sharp knife into the sacred tender vision of your beautiful heart.” I had been doing the opposite. I had been running towards the very thing that had compromised my heart and my desire to live my life through the lens of love and compassion. It was time to change.
So I disengaged. I dropped the obsession and introduced balance.
I no longer sought out the bad. I tried to acknowledge the good and even began a daily practice based on an adaptation of Psalm 15:
Lord, may President Trump be trusted with power.
May he find a passion for justice,
May he speak the truth from his heart.
May he let go of his selfish interests and grow beyond his own limitations.
May he see the wretched as his family and the poor as his flesh and blood.
May he learn to be impartial and worthy of the people’s trust.
May his compassion prove boundless and his kindness astound all the people.
(Thanks to Stephen Mitchel for his exquisite adaptation)
This is a daily prayer I have introduced into my spiritual practice. It took quite a wake up call for me to change, but I have decided it is time to shift from my obsessive negative perspective on the new president to send positive messaging.
I still have doubts this will change Donald Trump, but perhaps it will change me and support me in creating a deeper rhythm of harmony with my heart.
If you would care to join me, who knows? Maybe we can help his heart, too.
NB Special thanks to my friend Lorne Craig who both provided the hilarious cartoon and edited my original to make it so much more coherent.