The Stress of Trump: Maintaining Sanity in Insane Times

Originally posted in Jan 2017, maintained on the home page for obvious reasons: You can’t believe you heard what you just heard, another executive order or a report of another tweet, you begin to feel a surge of something in your gut, you feel tears welling up. Welcome to 2017-2021. We must find ways to cope. Read on for this and some significant improvements in our website.

anxietyDon’t Worry, Be Happy. Not an Easy Task. I don’t know about you, but this week on different days Roxanne and I hit a wall. On Tuesday night I was miserably depressed. Just one too many of my values being shredded. Three days later, Roxanne woke up with her stomach in knots and feeling terribly anxious. Different symptoms, same cause. And we both understand that this is not going to get easier.  We have two antidotes:  activism and exercise. For you it may be crossword puzzles or novels. However we do it, we need to allow ourselves times to escape, to take care of ourselves, to breathe. This is going to be a very long haul and we need to maintain our physical and mental health.

A recent article by Mirah Curzer, “How to #StayOutraged Without Losing Your Mind,” offers some self-care lessons for the resistance. Click here to read it. This is going to be a difficult four years, and resisting will require persistence and ongoing activism that when done alone or when done only episodically at ‘events’ can be isolating, lack reinforcement, and frankly, not be very much fun. The article points to the benefit of joining up with 3-5 friends and getting together once a week to do some activism together and then going for coffee, a drink, a walk, dinner. The camaraderie will be welcome, the values-based activity will reinforce and ground friendships, and five people can do more than one. So I want to ask each of you to do this one thing today and then get away from the Internet and the news: call 3-5 friends who live nearby and make a date for next week to get together and discuss how you feel about what is going on today and make a commitment to gather at the same time each week. Retake will develop a range of easy actions that can be done together. But first you need to form the group and set a time. Heck, make that first activity a visit to the Roundhouse to listen to a committee hearing and talk with one of your legislators (see below). Email me at when a date is set. But please do it. We need to sustain this work and we can’t do it alone.

Significant Web Site Improvements. Over the past few days the website has undergone some significant improvements.

  • Useful link to Lobbying strategies and Bills You May Want to Support. Go here to find a guide that provides helpful hints for effective lobbying it includes links to bill summaries on the Environment, Healthcare for All, and Election Reform. Over the next week or two, we will have more bill summaries organized in ten issue areas for ease of finding what matters most to you.
  • New Resource Menu and Page. There is a new pull down menu at the top of the page: Resources. At the Resources page you will find a series of icons and brief descriptions of resources such as a lobbying guide with links to bill numbers and summaries; a guide to ward elections; contact information for your Congressional Reps, City Council, and PRC Commissioners. Take a look. We will add more resources over time.
  • New Issues Menu and Page. There is a new Issues pull-down menu at the top of the page where you will find brief summaries on election reform, climate change, and criminal justice. While there isn’t a ton just yet, there will be much more as the Research Action Team completes Research Action Kits. Best of all, you’ll be able to find them easily as they are organized by issue categories like Environment, Election Reform, etc.
  • New Actions Menu and Page.  The Actions page provides a list of actions in which you can take part — action meetings, protests, etc. This too will be kept up to date, making it easier to find ways to get involved.
  • Search Function. We now have a search function on the right side of every page. Enter a key word and you will find a list of pages related to your topic. As of today this is not perfect, as in my infinite wisdom every blog I posted includes every possible key word category contained in the post. So a post with 90% focus on climate change but with a few brief references to other issues was tagged for all those issues. This will be fixed over the next few days and the Search should be able to focus on what you are looking for.
  • And coming soon, the thing you’ve all been waiting for: a Donate button, so you can support Retake Our Democracy with either one-time or monthly donations.

Actions & Opportunities

peopleLast-Minute Opportunity: TODAY, Jan. 29, 2:00-4:00 at 1420 Cerrillos Rd., Santa Fe. Retake Our Democracy invites you to participate in The Story Circle project. YOU MUST RSVP by 10 a.m. TODAY. RSVP’s accepted in the order in which they’re received. RSVP to The Story Project is…

  • A simple and elegant process of creating a “group” out of a number of individuals through forming a circle
  • The start of a conversation
  • A beginning of community

The purpose is to share personal stories which will become material for the People’s State of the Union Address, written by poets affiliated with the US Department of Arts and Culture.

The secondary purpose is for Retake Our Democracy to get feedback about the usefulness of this model for other purposes. Retake Our Democracy is about to launch a combination of outreach efforts called Community Conversations, several of which involve assembling groups of neighbors or friends for small gatherings designed to find a common moral ground. The Story Project Model could become the framework that facilitates these conversations. Using a single ‘prompt’ question, e.g. What do you fear most for our future? and having each person speak without interruption for two minutes; and then a second prompt: Where do you hold hope for our future? and repeating the process. The purpose of sharing our stories is to discover common themes and shared concerns among people who may not have even known each other before the process and using this newly found common ground as the foundation for collective action.   

chaco-sacredMon, Jan 30, 4-7pm. Our First Open House Activism Event! At the home of Esther Kovari, 810 West Manhattan St., Santa Fe (near the Railyard). Keep the momentum going – take action now! Every few weeks we’ll meet at someone’s home to take on an important and timely issue. The focus of this Open House will be Fighting Fracking in the Greater Chaco Canyon area. RSVP here on Facebook. Learn why this is such a serious environmental issue. Then take action by calling representatives and writing letters to government and elected officials to stop the fossil fuel industry from imperiling the environment and ancient cultures of this unique area. Drop by for ½ an hour, an hour, or however long works for you. Bring your kids. Get them involved. Show up and see what a difference coming together can make to our environment. Click here to RSVP on Facebook.

social-media2Social Media Training. Tues., Jan 31, 5:30-7pm,1420 Cerrillos Rd.,Santa Fe. Ken Baumann will provide training in the effective use of social media, focusing first on Facebook and Twitter, and then Instagram. To participate, YOU MUST RSVP as space is limited. Click here to RSVP. We ask that you bring your laptop and/or smart phone as this will help you learn by doing. If you do not have FB and Twitter accounts, please create them and take a look at the platforms before coming. This training is almost full, so if you plan to attend, sign up today. If you’re not on the RSVP list, you won’t get in!

Legalize Pot Rally – Roundhouse, Feb. 2, 10am

Outreach Action Team Planning, Tue. Feb 7, 5:30-7pm, 1420 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe. Join us to plan the launch of our Community Conversations Canvassing campaign, and to discuss: organizing panels and trainings, expanding alliances with other organizations, developing an outreach and organizing strategy in other NM communities, finalizing a plan for our Moral Monday event on Feb 20, and organizing a range of other events and outreach activities.

Town Hall Meeting, Sat. Feb 11, 3:30-5:30pm, 1420 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe. Join us for presentations, breakout discussions, and action planning. Details coming soon.

Roundhouse photo

We Need A Moral Roundhouse that Stands for Justice

Retake Our Democracy Moral Monday – New Mexico Progressive Coalition People’s Rally, Monday, Feb 20 10am-4pm.  A full day is being planned, including targeted lobbying in the Roundhouse in the morning, a noon Retake Our Democracy rally with a full slate of speakers and performers. There will be more lobbying in the afternoon, culminating with the New Mexico Progressive Coalition People’s Rally, 2:30-4pm with more speakers. More details coming soon, but get this in your calendar.

In solidarity,

Roxanne and Paul

Categories: Actions, Trump

Tags: ,

10 replies

  1. This shit is unreal. Thank you! Your intro sentence definitely described my emotional state this morning…

    ​Love you both for all the work you’re doing right now!


    On Sun, Jan 29, 2017 at 8:34 AM, Retake Our Democracy wrote:

    > paulgibson51 posted: “You can’t believe you heard what you just heard, > another executive order or a report of another tweet, you begin to feel a > surge of something in your gut, you feel tears welling up. Welcome to > 2017-2021. We must find ways to cope. Read on for this and som” >

  2. Democracy got us into this mess.

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. I will add to Mirah’s list: meditation. Whatever form floats your boat. I learned TM (Transcendental Meditation) as an antidote to the craziness. 20 minutes twice a day and it’s easy, even with my mind racing.

  4. Thank you, Paul and Roxanne, for all of your hard work and your blog. I too wake around 3 – 4 every am. First thoughts are about the horrors of this administration and our future. Taking action is necessary and self care will see us through. Amen to all you have said. Thanks

  5. Thank you for your honesty. I can’t remember a more emotionally draining week than this last and it’s manifested into migraines and lack of sleep.

    Looks like there may be some real hope on the horizon though. I pray.

  6. Stay strong. We are going to a movie this afternoon. After a training.

  7. First. We are all responsible for Trump and ‘trumpism’, not just the republicans.The republican party has been working at it for decades, with the help of the democratic party. Let us accept this reality.
    Second. I guess that in the history of homo sapiens there were a few communities that experienced democracy, but not us. Not the Greeks, Europeans or any of the American nations. So, in my view, The name Retake our Democracy needs to be changed to reflect the reality of our history.

    • I actually agree with your historical analysis, but the name has too much resonance to change and I make plenty of commentary that would suggest that creating democracy is more accurate. The Retake also was designed to resonate with Retake the Roundhouse. But I certainly get your point.

  8. Totally different subject
    So called Pro life folk are having defund planned parenthood rallies all over the country, February 11th.
    Here are the details about the Albuquerque. A few of us from Taos are going to support PP.
    Planned Parenthood – Albuquerque Surgical Center
    701 San Mateo NE, Albuquerque, NM 87108 (Map & Directions)
    Time: 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. on Feb. 11

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