Survival

4 strategies to avoid #resistance burnout

Picture: vicky leta / mashable

I was listening to The Read recently — it is my favorite podcast — and that I was struck by co-host Kid Fury’s observations about attaining the end of the year and feeling tired.  

I posted the way I felt Instagram: “Can’t add yet another strategy drained. Difficult to get excited about exciting items drained. Can’t project, assume, or read minds tired. I am letting myself be tired, be imperfect, be how I’m. It’s time to hibernate and make significance of this year, understand the lessons.”

Five hundred people gave it a hub within a few hours. People reached out for me to say they are too tired — tired, and really. Falling hopelessness losing items, battling with loved ones, letting out have our tongues.  

I’m a social justice facilitator, teaching and practicing a methodology called Emergent Strategy. The purpose is to understand how we do justice function that’s adaptive, targets the small things which compose all large systems, and prioritizes critical connections within critical mass. I’m also a visionary fiction author (a part of the Octavia’s Brood group) plus a pleasure activist, so I think pleasure is an important measure of liberty, and that we need to create justice the most gratifying experience we could have.  

And as somebody focused on ease, nature, future, and enjoyment, 2017 was a daunting year.  

And as somebody focused on ease, nature, future, and enjoyment, 2017 was a daunting year. But I’m still moving. Movements for environmental and social justice continue moving ahead.  

Which gets me interested about how we are living, how we are creating energy to move forward in 2018 when what’s heavy and what hurts.  

What exactly do we do?  

The first issue is to give ourselves lots of room and esteem for anything we have done. It got us this far. So, shout outs to sugar, alcohol, sex, and bud, which happen to be performing the job of soothing and clogging countless. After the 2016 election, drinking certainly became one of my coping mechanisms for that “They all want my death” feeling that is now daily life.  

I know the newness of sense this every day is just as much an indication of my privilege as it is of political shift; matters are not getting worse, they are becoming unveiled. Whatever I did not see before this moment is a sign I was somehow benefiting from not seeing it. It seems worse yet.  

But we need to be mindful about numbing. The long-term impacts of numbing move us from the very aliveness we are fighting for, that sensual degree of existence, endurance, and sense our amazing presence in real time. Audre Lorde taught us that, “In touch with the sensual, I become less willing to accept powerlessness, or those other supplied states of being that Aren’t indigenous to me, like resignation, grief, self-effacement, melancholy, self-denial.”    

I wanted to offer you some strategies outside numbing that have helped me protect my aliveness. I invite you to practice these throughout 2018.

1. Reconnect with our motion ancestors. We are not the first to be in hopeless conditions. And what we know is that we’ve survived, our ancestors discovered ways to survive, to be in dignity and resistance. Focus on ancestors of your own lineage, understanding that each lineage on the planet has groups and individuals who have abandoned lessons behind. For me this year was emphasized by the north star of Harriet Tubman. You might call on freedom fighters like Berta Cáceres or even Bobby Sands — there are so many that inspire. Ancestors can and should humble us.  

2. Tune into the three Gs every day: gratitude, fantastic information, and genius. Should you look, all three are within reach.

A) Start and/or end the day with gratitude. It’s a stunning world; listen to the beauty, the relationship, the generosity and expansion.

B) Read between the lines and discover the fantastic news. It is always there, but it might be very small. For me personally, it is frequently in the information of what moves for environmental and social justice do to withstand. Boost it, grow it with your focus.

C) Our continuing survival is really a long, iterative custom of collective genius. Look closely at the people and associations that are doing more than responding to the daily news or pulling each other down. Tune into the job of the Movement for Black Lives, the Women’s March, #MeToo, Cooperation Jackson, Movement Generation, #ourpowerpr, Mi Gente. These initiatives are attempting audacious, visionary, and hard work that counts on the genius which originates from individuals working together across gap to deal with the challenges and opportunities of the actual lives.

3. What about putting on your oxygen mask before helping others? It’s real. It is not like other masks which hide your true face from others, which can be an important distinction here. You don’t have to put anything over your fact right now to cover the emotional rollercoaster of being a human who is paying attention. But you do have to take care of yourself at a material degree. Soothe without numbing, break without remorse, hydrate to replenish your base, and use your own body while there is still wonder in it. Hibernate: turn inward, get still, write down everything you’ve learned from living the last year as well as what’s been free within you, and what you are ready to grow.  

4. And that I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t remind y’all an orgasm a day keeps the doctor away. Remember your body is wired to feel good, thread with nerves which communicate pleasure and allow you to know what things to move toward. And you can pick between the climax and the orgasmic — do a massage swap with friends, eat delicious home-cooked meals, see comedy shows. There are so many ways to turn your aliveness.

None of these practices are small or trite. We are in the worst of times. Should you want to be convinced to care for your own body, mind, and soul so you can care for your area and this world, let us just review the previous 12 months.  

There was a time of denial and despair for many of us. Perhaps you also spent some time under a blanket, wondering why our species is really self-sabotaging and embarrassing? Perhaps you too called buddies to discuss where you could run to, and recognized, again, there was no location, no location beyond the range of the United States?

Those of us having an intersectional analysis of the current situation know that each uphill battle we’ve been battling is twice as steep. We are looking forward at battles around the tax plan, web neutrality, protecting the world as a livable world for our species, even resisting a police force encouraged to unleash increased violence on our ravaged exposed communities. All while viewing 45 play with atomic roulette with North Korea on Twitter.

For those of us working to create social change, 2017 was a wild year. We take our whiplashed necks and attempt to keep up the pace as we run out of protest to inquire to planning meeting. We have held a few lines, we’ve demonstrated up and said no more to racist bans and attempts to strip us of hard-won rights, and we’ve reached for one another. We’ve been amazed and enthused as scientists marched and federal parks workers used Twitter to withstand fascist policy making.

And, in our exhaustion, we’ve occasionally turned on each other. Societal beef drains organizational resources. Tactical differences become landmines. Places where we could learn together instead become battlegrounds that play out on social networking. We long for something different however, are stretched too thin to practice new strategies. We need each other to be perfect and to be clear about our defects. We are punitive and transformative in the exact same breath.  

We are in a fight for our survival and there is no turning away from it, no turning back. 2017 was a reckoning, an unveiling. An embarrassment, yes, but it is honest. And today we are at a very real danger of becoming too exhausted to keep our fight, our travel.  

Ella Baker taught us “we believe in freedom can’t rest. ” 

Ella Baker taught us that “people who believe in freedom cannot rest.” I wrestle with these words all of the time, since I believe in liberty, and I think my body is a crucial part of the fight for liberty. So I translate these words during my job. I do not break with respect to how I work. I tirelessly show up for moves that I think in, to maintain unexpected or planned hard discussions and mediations, to invite transformation from the face of frustration. I tirelessly seek out new and old ways of moving through our current paradigm and into a viable future.  

But when it comes to my own body, I remainder. I remainder in myriad ways that allow me to show up entirely for each facilitation. I guarantee I have quiet time each evening, a tub when there’s a tub, at least seven hours of sleep each night. I would like to give us more permission to break our bodies so we don’t burn our souls and minds in our lifelong commitment to liberation.

It’s in that spirit that I invite you to honor your ancestors and keep in mind they believed in you before your first breath. They believed you could generate gratitude, uplift good news, bring about genius. Put on your oxygen mask and receptive into the gratifying experiences of existence. This is our moment.

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