Senator Jeff Flake surprised Americans when he said that he thought Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh needed further investigation before being voted on.
But Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual assault and who lied under oath, might still be confirmed. If he is, he is likely to repeal Roe vs. Wade, decimate any hopes of containing climate change, and cease to be a check on an Executive Branch currently under federal investigation, might still be confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States of America.
If you, like me, are feeling some things right now, here are a few ways you can try to contextualize or deal with them.
Embrace Holy Anger
Are you angry? I’m angry.
Our culture sometimes tells us that anger is bad or unhealthy. But according to our holy books, it’s more a matter of how and why that anger gets used.
The 11th century Jewish philosopher Solomon Ibn Gabirol asserts that “anger is a reprehensible quality, but when employed to correct or to reprove, or because of indignation at the performance of transgressions, it becomes laudable.”
Or as the 20th century Black feminist writer and poet Audre Lorde put it, “Every woman has a well-stocked arsenal of anger potentially useful against those oppressions, personal and institutional, which brought that anger into being. Focused with precision it can become a powerful source of energy serving progress and change.”
In other words, if you use your anger well, it is not only an effective tool for dismantling oppression, but, Ibn Gabriol would argue, a virtuous thing.
So if you’re angry, figure out how you’re going to channel it.
Organizing? Fundraising? Canvassing for the midterms? Making art?
Use it to push the world into the kind of place that we all the more now desperately need it to become.
Do Something Kind for Someone Today (and that someone can be you)
If you’re feeling angry and helpless, this would be a really good time to figure out how to offer something of yourself over to someone else, if you can.
It can be a powerful reminder of what you can control, of the ways in which you can be a force for good in the world, and it can obviously be valuable to others.
Can you bring someone a casserole? Buy someone lunch? Volunteer for a phone bank shift? Reach out to someone who’s having a hard time?
Do it, if you can. It will help in multiple ways.
And if you can’t, if you’re too deep in pain and trauma, if you’re triggered or hurting, please focus on kindness to yourself.
Can you offer yourself something that you’d offer to someone else that you love if they were suffering right now?
Whether it’s making tea and watching bad television, taking a bath, snuggling humans or critters who love you, logging off of social media, starting a craft project, or something else, please take care of your precious self.
Double Down on Your Spiritual Practice
If you have a spiritual practice, whether that’s prayer, meditation, yoga, writing, running, long walks in nature, or something else, this is a good time to go hard on it.
It can keep you grounded and focused and clear about what your role is in the large picture.
And if you don’t have a spiritual practice, well, this might not be the worst time to try to find something that can help anchor you in this storm.
It can also help you expand the amount of bandwidth you have for the work ahead of us, and we need everybody working at full capacity right now.
Let’s be honest: As the scholar Carol Lee Flinders puts it, “If we have never developed our religiousness — that part of ourselves that involves our most powerfully transformative capacities — it’s as if we were walking around with one arm tied down: We’re just not working with everything we could be.”
Whether or not “religiousness” is the right word for you, just having something that brings you back into the present moment, that helps you connect to something larger than yourself, in whatever way, and can help you expand your own capacity and all of our collective capacity.
This story has been updated to reflect the events.
Danya Ruttenberg is author of “Nurture the Wow: Finding Spirituality in the Frustration, Boredom, Tears, Poop, Desperation, Wonder, and Radical Amazement of Parenting” and Rabbi-in-Residence at Avodah.