We are living in troubled times. You, like me, may be feeling confused, overwhelmed, exhausted. Perhaps even frightened.
What’s the path forward?
When living in a time of upheaval and ‘alternative’ facts, it becomes necessary to uncover a deeper source of truth (vs fact) and a deeper source for inspired right action (or activism).
Truth is felt in our bodies and in our hearts.
Our bodies recognize truth. We feel it as a sense of expansion, of calmness, of rightness. Our bodies relax in the presence of truth. Our heart opens.
Sounds good, right?
Unfortunately, calm and relaxed is the opposite of how I often feel right now.
I hear of yet another [something destructive] or yet another [someone potentially dangerous] being confirmed into a position of power and my body contracts; my heart closes.
Anger and/or fear surface and I find myself either propelled into action (resist!) or huddling in bed attempting to numb myself with chocolate.
Eventually, all the anger and anxiety propelling action and the need to stay informed (and to sort through mountains of sources to discern actual fact from alternative) shifts into exhaustion, apathy and depression.
Maybe you are experiencing something similar?
In times of ongoing chaos, self-care is a radical, subversive, and deeply necessary practice.
I define self-care as those activities and practices that:
- bring us out of our heads and into our bodies;
- help us connect with our true selves and to Spirit,
- connect us to our deep inner knowing (of what we need, of what is right);
- give us access to love – for ourselves and for all others.
Self-care helps us step into our bodies, through the fear, overwhelm and anger, and return to a place of peace and perspective. From there, right action arises naturally and effortlessly.
To get there, we must FIRST do the work necessary to connect deeply to our bodies and hearts.
What brings us back into our bodies and our hearts?
While this can vary from person to person, here are some things that reliably work for me:
- feeling (the exhaustion, overwhelm, confusion, fear),
- prioritizing self-care,
- time off from news/social media,
- time in nature,
- connecting with loved ones (family, friends, beloved pets…),
- movement and exercise,
- meditation, prayer, listening
- practicing Sacred Self-Care,
- using skills like Owl Eyes, wallowing, speaking sensation,
- working with healers, therapists, bodyworkers, energy workers,
- participating in ritual and ceremony, and
- working to heal past trauma (both personal and ancestral) so that we can be fully here and act from love.
When we are fully present in our bodies and connected to our hearts, facts begin to drop away and truth steps forward.
When we are fully present in our bodies and connected to our hearts, we become able to discern truth from lies, from propaganda, from facts even.
Further, we discover that truth is synonymous with love.
Even further, we discover ever deepening appreciation and love for ourselves and others, both human and other-than-human (the earth, trees, waters, animals…).
From ‘me’ to ‘we’.
We find ourselves stepping out of the isolated bubble of ‘me’ and ‘mine’ and opening into the greater bubble or ‘we’ and ‘us’… knowing that there is no ‘me’ nor ‘we’ if we do not have a healthy planet to live on, clean water to drink, fresh/non-toxic air to breath, and food that nourishes and sustains.
As we grow in our ability to discern truth and hold love for ourselves and for all others, we find ourselves unable to support people or decisions that threaten or harm those we love (even in the name of ‘jobs’ or ‘security’).
Note: all the above is what makes self-care so subversive. We learn to pause, feel, and then take action to support and speak up for who and what we love from a place of peace and resolution. This is also why self-care is so imperative NOW – when everything around us is (seemingly) working to keep us off balance and in a constant state of anxiety, fear and overwhelm.
In the end, we find ourselves taking right action naturally, effortlessly.
Right action originates through doing what is necessary (self-care/healing work) to:
- return to our bodies and hearts where we can
- feel and move through the confusion, fear, overwhelm and exhaustion in order to
- arrive at a place of inner peace and stillness where we can hear/feel truth, and
- listen for guidance/inspiration that allows right action to arise without effort.
The action might even be the same we would have taken prior to pausing and listening.
However, taking action from a place of inner peace and love is, I believe, what is being asked of us now.
The action might be:
- calling your congressperson to state your opposition to a particular cabinet nominee
- speaking up for the protection of our wild places,
- creating an inspired action checklist,
- joining a protest,
- volunteering at your local women’s shelter,
- simply being the best YOU you can be,
- donating to organizations working for causes you believe in,
- planting a garden to provide nourishing food for your family and community…
…all this and anything and everything in between. When the action comes from the heart, it all matters. It all makes a difference.
This is the face of the true resistance. A resistance that arises from stillness, from peace, from love. From self-care.
Will you join me?
I will totally join you!
After running around with my hair on fire post-election, I took a piece of advice from (maybe you?) to pick ONE thing to make an impact in my world. I chose to align myself with the Portland Police Bureau (*hahaha!*) to take the Instructor training for the WomenStrength self-defense program.
It’s 120 hours of training, with a lot of the material about the history of abuse and violence against women + children. It’s heavy and frequently hard. AND it’s empowering and wonderful to be in a room with 30 other women committed to teaching thousands of other female-identifying humans ways to defend against (and provide ways to heal after) trauma. We practice self-care as a group before + after each class and we share what we do for self-care in our free time.
I’ve also had to stop consuming news, again. I’m using my privilege to check out of the social panic and care for me and my home.
Some days, the best act of resistance is simply continued existence.
Sending much love!
Larisa Noonan says
This is amazing. Truly. Such a perfect example of action aligned with heart. I feel such fierce love/strength coming through your comment. I am inspired as well by the community that is being formed through the sharing of self-care. Yay!
And yes! to continued existence. 🙂
Emma Arbogast says
Yes! Absolutely! It’s vital to be able to center in a sense of “we” because the things we are opposing are all from a belief in separation, the fear that arises from that belief, and the strategies of control that arise from that fear. We need to come from a place beyond fear and war in order to transform them. If our responses are from the same energy, they will not have the power of the truth-force (Satyagraha) behind them.
I’m psyched about the possibility of a critical mass of healthy ancestors in enough lineages throughout the country and world that there is a mass healing shift in consciousness. I think especially America is a people with so much epigenetic trauma that we can’t think straight right now. But if we can begin to heal that, anything is possible. We all share the same ancestors if you go back far enough. We are all one people, ultimately. We just have to heal the trauma enough for people to feel that connection.