What they don’t tell you about activism
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
– Audre Lorde
Audre Lorde who described herself as a black, lesbian, feminist, mother, warrior, activist, poet, tells us this and yet it is often the thing that those who are most active in activism tend to put off or put last or simply never get around to. That’s a lot of roles, so many hats to wear, too many folks to please, and a lot of time to share. Especially if we want justice.
The truth is that those of us who would never miss a meeting, or a tweeting, a moment or a march will almost never find the time to put ourselves first and nurture our inner life through consistent and regularly scheduled self-inquiry and quiet time. Because we have been told that the power lies outside of ourselves, that oppressive systems and shifts of power only take place through external actions.
I am presenting to you the radical notion that the power to affect systems, structures and others starts from within and it is time to unpack that before we all burnout.
Let’s begin with identifying the power of your inner life and why you need to honor and nurture it in order to shift power.
Our inner life can provide us with a wealth of tools when we take the time to access it.
Our inner life gives us:
Creativity – gives us new ideas, a twist on old ones, ability to problem solve and hope.
Spirit/Consciousness – allows for focus, mindfulness, being fully present, listening for wisdom, the unseen.
Control – the breath which centers us, silence, tapping into and feeling our emotions. Exerting the control we want and need during conflicts, difficult times and conversations.
Emotions – the ability to truly feel them, sit in them and access their fuel.
Memories – our reasons, passions, history, love, legacies that drive us and provide the intention and commitment to shifting power.
Thoughts – manage them, inspiration, positive self-talk, brilliance.
Body – tuning in, paying attention to how we physically feel, hungry, aches, disease, needs, how’s your heart? Protecting it by taking care of your inner life.
How do we affect collective hearts and minds? By addressing our individual needs. We do that by turning self-sacrifice into self-awareness and self-care. That’s what shifts power, ourselves and the collective.
How are you doing with this?