Along with the joy of the holiday season come myriad stressors, from travel to spending, and the current election atmosphere has added another layer of emotional discomfort. Recognizing the feelings of fear and anger that have erupted in the wake of a contentious presidential election, Franciscan Spirituality Center is hosting a listening session, where individuals can speak without rebuttals or judgment.
“This will not be a debate or even a conversation — no cross talk or commentary,” said Audrey Lucier, director of the Franciscan Spirituality Center. “It is a chance for people to speak on their experiences and feelings on the election and do some really good listening in a safe place.”
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The FSC board had discussed holding sessions to cope with the aftermath of an event that “shakes the community,” and after receiving a string of phone calls from individuals upset about the election, they decided to offer a safe sharing session.
“We heard from people who were upset both ways,” Lucier said. “Some upset their candidate didn’t win, and what it means for them, and others whose candidate did win and they didn’t understand why others were angry. You had to be careful who you were talking to and people are scared to go to family gatherings. We send out a lot of (releases) ... this one people are really responding to.”
Lucier and Steve Spilde, FSC associate director and spiritual director, will facilitate the session, remaining non-partisan and giving participants time to pause and reflect. Lucier hopes to help people look for signs of hope and focus on the good in the community, while remaining tolerant of those who have disagreeing views.
“You may see anger or criticism, but that doesn’t mean you have to take it on — you can detach,” Lucier advises. “They are speaking from their place. Don’t worry so much about how to respond and just listen. Pay attention to the goodness we have and hold on to it.”