Do you feel it? Do you feel the pain this world is in cracking you upon, causing the tears to trickle down your skin, enraging you, paralyzing you, making your heart ache. I feel it.
Friday’s violence in Charlottesville left my heart breaking open once again. The same thing happened with the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, with Columbine, with every act of police brutality, with Standing Rock, with people telling me about attempted suicides, assaults, ICE raids. Every time I sense the pain… I ache. Do you?
As human beings we are connected to one another. There is no denying this. When tragedy hits we may feel the pain of others. When tragedy hits, it’s a sign to open our eyes a little wider, not close them or turn them away in ignorance.
I know seeing the news these days is no pleasant task. For some of us, the news is familiar. We’ve seen bigotry, sexism, racism, and hate before. It’s part of our day-to-day. For others, it may feel newer…unexpected.
Regardless of which category you fall into, the world needs you now.
Now is the time to show up, speak out, take action, and use your resources and talents to make this world a better place.
So, what can you do to keep going strong? To keep loving? To keep contributing to the betterment of this world without burning out?
1. Feel What You Need to Feel
Allow yourself to take a few moments to feel what you need to feel. When tragedy hits, intense emotions are bound to arise. Feel all of those emotions in their intensity. Cry your tears out, punch your pillows, yell.
Brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor has found that it takes 90 seconds for emotions to pass through us if we allow them to move through without judgement. After that point, it’s our choice whether we choose to continue with our sadness, our anger, our happiness, or not.
2. Ground in and Protect Your Energy
Take a moment to connect with your breath. As changemakers it’s easy to feel the weight of the world. However, feeling that weight is not going to allow you to do the work you need to do. So, take a moment to ground in and protect yourself energetically.
Close your eyes and feel your feet firmly planted in the ground. Imagine roots shooting out of the soles of your feet and connecting you into the soil and down to the core of the earth. Now, imagine a beam of light pouring from the sky into the top of your head and surrounding your body in protective layer of white or pink light. This light provides a layer of energetic protection between you and any negative energy that may come your way while simultaneously allowing you to love and give in the way you need to.
3. Engage in Energizing Self-Care
Engaging in energizing self-care is critical to contribution. If you are depleted you will face burnout. So, make energizing self-care part of your activism. Know exactly what it is that energizes you. This is going to differ for everyone and it is important for you to know which activities are true energizing self-care for you and which ones just look like self-care. For example my sister energizes by spending time with other people, my boyfriend energizes by dancing, and I energize by spending time in nature.
Take 10 minutes and write a list of all the things that energize you. Whenever you feel exhausted or that you’re heading towards the path of burnout choose one of your activities for energizing self-care and do it ASAP.
To create your list you can ask yourself the following:
- I feel the most energy after I __________.
- I feel better after I __________.
- Doing __________ makes me feel _________.
- Doing __________ gives me __________.
Take that time for yourself, it’ll keep you going in the long run.
4. Connect with Communities of Care
Just as important as engaging in self-care is connecting with communities of care. We’re on this planet together and to create sustainable change we need to work together. Know who comprises your support system. Who can you call on to listen, to inspire, and to collaborate with? What communities can you connect with that are creating change? What communities can you connect with who will lift you up and that you can lift up? This can be a community of faith, a student group, a community organization, a group of friends.
Find those communities where you can vent, brainstorm, act, and celebrate and take part in them.*
5. Keep Showing Up
In order to catalyze change, you must keep showing up. Small actions add up over time. Consistency makes a difference. Keep speaking up when you need to. Keep showing up to participate in marches, protests, vigils, and community events. Keep contacting your government representatives. Keep donating your time, money and resources. Keep taking action. Keep showing up.
And… as my favorite quote goes:
The heart is a muscle the size of your fist; keep loving, keep fighting.
*If you are a woman changemaker or a woman who is wanting this type of community, I invite you to sign up for my free Virtual Sister Circle for Changemakers.