This piece was originally published in my weekly Digest in November 2016.
“The possible has been tried and failed. Now it’s time to try the impossible.
— Sun Ra
There's certainly waves of collective anxiety in our world. Unsurprising, given the tragic situations occurring on the planet. Like so many, i woke up to awful news about water protectors at the Dakota Pipeline being brutalised in a week so ironically containing the celebration called Thanksgiving (we won´t wade in to dissect that history today tho).
Flint (still!) not having clean water.
The global climate and environmental crisis.
Countless clickbait articles labelling groups of people in offensive ways.
Sad news of people who have left this earth.
And added to that heady mix, the general everyday worries. Survival. Concerns for the wellbeing of family, for friends and the narcissistic everyday ponderings of how the hell can i make a positive difference in the world before i check out, plus still being in my feelings about losing Prince.
You know…. Life circa 2016 - what a flipping year.
The sadness and anxiety and insecurity of these times is REAL.
But do you know what? It's not all bad.
What?! I feel your eyeroll.
It's ok. I am fully and painfully aware how reluctant i am to come across like some kind of stereotypical “just let it go” type, that offers you an empty and slightly passive aggressive “namaste” and believes we can simply ignore what's going on in the world as if blocking it out and replacing this stuff with false positivity is going to be a realistic and sustainable solution.
I want us to be real.
To take off the veils we´re wearing and realise that we have the greatest opportunity.
Yes, despite the pain.
Despite the feeling we are waking up to someone else's reality.
Despite the sadness. And the fury. Or the feelings of loss or being lost.
We are on this planet right now and we can have an impact. Like, right now.
Whether that manifests as getting involved in activism on a local, national or international level. Or by directing your path to your own personal activism - which is just as powerful - creating a life to be proud of, being a nice human being and doing the things you dream of and creating the stuff you want to see. Or a combination of all those things.
We have a responsibility.
To take this opportunity to open up. To see more clearly by listening. Learning about other perspectives in the world. Engaging with people who aren´t like yourself in ways that aren´t tokenistic. Engaging with people like yourself who might not be aware their actions have an impact on others in a hurtful way (BIG SIDE NOTE: yeah i'm talking about having those difficult conversations with family members and friends who might be behaving in ways that are sexist, misogynistic, racist, ableist, homophobic, transphobic, stenching of white supremacy and so on...There´s loads of resources online, and although i´m asked a lot to make simple one-stop lists for people that includes reading/research and so on, i tend to find directing people to a place where i´ve gathered a few voices is more useful, so you can do your own research and seek out your own truth. If you're interested though, i tend to pin stuff that's interesting on this resources board, or via Twitter, should you want to sniff out some stuff.)
But take time to process your feels.
It´s important to note, if we're in our feelings, it´s a good idea to let ourselves process the stuff that's there, so that we can feel ready to set out on our missions.
During these times, where we might be experiencing individual and collective traumas, one thing that really helps me is to take some time out to really focus on the moment. moment by moment. one step at a time. you can call that meditation, or breathing consciously or living or whatever, but if you´re not used to practicing being a spacemaker, i highly recommend it.
I take regular time off from the online world. Much to the annoyance of some friends. Tbh, certain social media is a no go on the days when i'm feeling more fragile. I take time out to process. To self care. As an act of self-preservation. So i can return to the world (hopefully) more useful.
A practice in being a spacemaker.
If you ever feel anxious or scared or overwhelmed, try your best to take a step back and focus on the small things. like your breath. without trying to change it, but instead just observe it. count it or visualise it or sit with it. or lay down if that feels better. It doesn´t matter what technique you use, but try to allow yourself to be in that moment, with whatever is going on. And if that´s not possible or it feels too much, give yourself a break - we all have off days.
Often as humans we want to know it all, be in control of things and anything that upsets our equilibrium can throw us right off. instead may we create space in moments that don't feel very spacious, and breathe. and be. much better energy spent, yeah!
remember, it's a practice, so don't worry if you get distracted, you can always start over. and here´s a little infographic thanks to Eric de Barros - so NICE.
And remember, you have the right to feel however you feel. Unapologetically.
You also deserve to have time to process. To do the things you need to do to feel better.
One person's activism might be different to another, so do the things that feel authentic to you. Keep treating yourself nicely. And looking after each other.
We can still show others that there is a lot of good in the world, and that we have each other.
(((If you feel like this year is a good time to schedule in some space away from the daily grind and find some fresh perspective with explorations in real life self care and inspo, our Brighton Winter Warmer Retreat is coming up in January 2018 for those who are interested. Contact us here to have a chat! ))))
That's all for now,
Take care of you, and each other.