Welcome to the fifty-fourth issue of CEE News!
Like many of you, I’ve been dreading the angst that comes every four years with the election of a new president of the United States. This year’s election season is embedded in an age when voters are feeling chronically untethered, anxious about an uncertain future, and further than ever from being able to talk about even once-safe topics like the weather.
Part of me wants to engage in dialogue on social media with people whose opinions differ than mine. Part of me wants to keep my opinions to myself so that I don’t lose whatever tenuous connection – and possible influence – I have over people with differing opinions. It’s felt like a no-win situation, because it is. The rules of engagement from just a handful of presidential election cycles ago are different than they are this time.
For me, that means first taking a serious account of how I have allowed my attention, choices, and health to be hijacked. Starting in January, I stopped consuming foods and technology that kept me from connecting with my executive brain. I studied the science behind which foods my brain thrives on and which restrict blood flow. I picked up a copy of Brain Wash, by Drs. David and Austin Perlmutter, to read about the latest findings in how my brain’s performance is being manipulated by my diet and reliance on technology. When, exactly, did I start ordering my lunch from a restaurant app on my smartphone while driving to said restaurant? Why did I start binge listening to podcasts? How much more fragmented was I willing to allow my focus to divide into?
The next step toward changing the rules of engagement for me is not to try to change someone else’s opinion, but to take part in a dialogue about how we are more alike than different. I jumped at the opportunity to join Cristina Schaffer, Director of The SHE Experience, to reverse the polarity of divisiveness by naming ways in which I am Both/And then challenging three other people to do the same [watch the video here.]
So, my game plan is simple. Take responsibility for showing up this year. Not as a model of perfection, but as my perfectly flawed self. I am Both/And, and I think you are more complex than people may judge you to be too. What small changes could you make to reconnect with your brain, and how are you Both/And?