Grieving Supreme Court Nights
On the one hand, this news is no surprise. There was the leak several weeks ago and senatorial obstruction of the Supreme Court nomination process for decades prior.
But still the news is horrific. Not just the ownership of women’s bodies by men, but also hearing about the 10 year old girls and women with stillborn babies being denied abortions. It’s anguishing.
During the day, you might get support from friends, replenish your mental strength with sunshine and barbecues, and donate to fund those needing abortions.
At night though, the clenching in your stomach can become an unending fear loop. Intense feelings that won’t release any tension or allow room to rest.
Our bodies often turn to fear, reacting to unknowns and trying to make sense of what’s happening. While there may be concrete actions you’re taking to help the cause, it may not bring immediate release or alleviate anxieties.
Regular fears are one thing. But when great powers inflict their desperation on others politically… there’s no way to make sense of that in the middle of the night.
Still, we need to rest.
What may help is to grieve.
Many emotions may cause that pit in our stomach—fear, anger, despair. And we are experiencing a great loss… of the rights of fellow humans not to be forced to give birth. Of having say over our bodies. Of the deep sadness for the 10 year old, or the woman who doesn’t want to wait months for a stillbirth. Or from being led by those with an agenda that doesn’t match with reality.
Feeling the loss can help release the depth of emotion residing in our bellies. It can soothe the fear and release the anger, which can allow us to rest.
But how do we grieve something that can feel abstract, if we’re not in the middle of it? We may be beyond childbearing, live in a state where abortion is still legal, or just someone empathetic to the cause… and still our bodies resonate with injustice and the pain of those suffering.
This isn’t such a different process as experiencing “real” grief. When someone you love dies, especially someone who lived far away, it may feel potent or abstract in your bed at night—or both.
Paths of release
It’s important to honor the grief and let it have a path of expression. Play with grief, and see ways you can honor it around this American tragedy:
Put your hand on your chest or heart or belly. Feel the sense of loss in your body at women being publicly treated as vehicles of men.
Imagine how it might feel to cry. Visualize yourself in a safe place. See and remember what it would be like to cry. A trickle of tears, or a full sob.
Oscillate or seesaw between the sad feelings and feeling loved and safe in the moment.
Allow the anger of grief out by breathing silent screams.
Remember a sad movie, or watch one before bed.
Rock. Gently move from side to side, or move one part of your body on each side (e.g. index finger on the right hand, then left).
Draw a picture of the energy of sadness in your body (preferably during the day if it will keep you alert at night).
Breathe in through your nose and take a l-o-n-g exhale through your mouth.
Even a short bit of grieving can redirect the endless loop of worry. You may be more able to sit with what is, then to rest, which renews and welcomes sleep.
Because as rested people, we have more energy to stand up for a just world.
P.S. Here’s great page for a variety of grief resources from Altared by Grief.