Turning Trump Trauma Into Daily Dharma
I’ve only met Trump once, but it made a lasting impression. After I uttered a mere eight words to him, he told me to “F*ck off!” Here’s what happened: About 20 years ago, I was going to be on the television show Geraldo for a book I had written. Trump was on the show too, and he was having his makeup done as I waited nearby. With everything the makeup artist did, Trump had a complaint. He was relentless in his criticism.
Finally, when he was finished, he saw I was waiting next to get my makeup done and said to me, “Don’t even bother with her. She’s terrible.” Taken aback by his harshness, I reacted by saying eight words to our future president. I looked at him straight in the eye and said, “You didn’t give her much to work with.” That’s when Mr. Trump told me to “f*ck off” and he briskly walked away.
I got all self-righteous, but I figured at least I would never have to see this jerk again. Things didn’t quite work out that way. Now he’s the President of United States, and he’s going to be in my life for at least the next year and a half — maybe (God Forbid) even more. Therefore, I’ve had to create a plan for dealing with his lunacy without succumbing to constant upset.
After some reflection, I thought about the usefulness of having agitators in my life. Normally, I hide certain “shadow aspects” of myself from both myself and others. Having Trump become our president brought up so much negative “stuff” in me I couldn’t push it away anymore. I have used this new epiphany to my spiritual advantage.
Most of my friends are going through this “Trump trauma.” For some, Trump brings up a lot of fear in them — even paranoia. For others, it makes them sad, overwhelmed or angry. For me, he mostly brings up feelings of self-righteousness. All those feelings were always lurking beneath the surface, but now they’re visible and obvious. Thanks to our “agitator-in-chief,” my friends and I are increasingly growing our awareness of our shadow side.
I’ll illustrate exactly how this is useful with a personal example. As I’ve mentioned, I have a long history of being self-righteous. In my daily life, I don’t usually see this as a problem (although my wife certainly doesn’t enjoy it). Yet, Trump’s every utterance is like rocket fuel for my self-righteous tendencies. I can now see that I am a self-righteous addict. I “enjoy” feeling self-righteous. It makes me feel that I’m right and others are wrong; that I’m dominant and that I’m better than others. Of course, it also keeps me from feeling peaceful — and loving others.
Thanks to President Trump, I am now confronted with my shadow side a dozen times per day. Over the years, I’ve learned that the first step to overcoming a problem is admitting you have one. I now know my self-righteousness is clearly in the way of being a more peaceful and loving person. In fact, I’m learning about humility. When he is self-righteous, I think, “That’s just like me.” When he exaggerates or lies to look good, I reflect, “That’s just like me. I exaggerate all the time (there’s another one) to look good.”
Thanks to President Trump, I feel humble nowadays, which is a good thing if you’re trying to grow spiritually. I even have a picture of him on my altar — next to my picture of the Buddha and Jesus. Each morning when I look at his picture, I remember Jesus’ admonition to “love your enemies.” By looking at Trump, I get to see how far I have to go to truly have a compassionate heart.
So that’s how I’ve turned my Trump trauma into my daily dharma. Of course, I still rise up in resistance and call my congressman to protest what’s happening. It is in my soul to honor my truth and connect with like-minded people. At the same time, I do my daily practice of noticing what Trump triggers in me. I take this information as a telltale sign of my greatest obstacles to inner peace. In a way, our president is like my personal therapist. His words and actions help reveal my shadow side with exquisite accuracy. And like a good therapist, as Trump helps reveal my inner obstacles, they gradually dissolve as I become more aware of them. Best of all, Trump provides this service consistently — and for free!
There’s a saying, “The Lord works in mysterious ways.” I never thought the man that told me to “f*ck off” many years ago would become my personal therapist and spiritual motivator. Yet, now that Trump is president, that surely means that anything can happen in this world…including transforming Trump trauma into a path of liberation.
Jonathan Robinson is a life coach, author of “More Love, Less Conflict,” frequent Oprah guest, and the founder of the website: FindingHappiness.com His email is firstname.lastname@example.org