7 Ways to Take Care and Take Action
What do we do when facing what appear to be insurmountable challenges of our time?
These could be very good times. We might look back from the future and tell stories about how people of all ages, and race, and belief systems gathered to create new ways of living in a sustainable way on this planet. That against all of the odds, they changed systems, and programs, and reversed what looked like a one way road to destructing the planet.
That could be our story, if we have the courage to stand in that possibility. If there is anything we know, hope, desire, wanting…are dangerous emotions. Because they require risking that you might not get what you want.
Last December I was sitting in a café in Paris trying to digest the final moments of the signing of the UN Climate Talks treaty. I was attending with a team of policy wonks from the global south, assisting them with their communication strategy. In the final moments of the signing of the treaty, the U.S. slid a word into the legal document that released them from responsibility to the treaty. The woman next to me, who lived in the global south, whose hometown was being threatened by a hurricane as we watched this, began to weep. Climate change was not a concept to her. It was in her front yard.
A couple hours later, we were trying to find a reason to celebrate, if not just that we were in each others’ company. One of the women I was working with turned to me and said, “I’m sorry Leah, we should have told you we’re always on the losing team.”
Nothing rang true for me in that statement. Losing would have meant not putting in the effort to make sure that the world had access to the information and context to understand what was happening and what was a stake. Losing would have meant not showing up. What happened that day was just one part of a larger story that wasn’t finished.
So the question remains, what do we do when facing what appears to be insurmountable challenges of our time?
Remember this: You Matter.
I didn’t say you are important. I said…You Matter. What you believe, speak to, and take action on influences the world around you. When you play into believing the lies that you can’t change the world around you, that the problems are too big, there are too many issues to solve, that the world is out to get you, and that you don’t matter, that is when you become victims to other peoples’ form of manifestation.
Focus your attention on what you can influence.
Listen: Madly. Deeply. Honestly.
Listen for what is calling to you, and focus on it. This will bring you the energy you need. We will all be different spokes in the wheel at one point or another, so listen for where you are called to use your influence. If you hear water, it might be Standing Rock calling. Or it might be the watershed in your hometown calling for your attention. You may run for local city council, or you may teach children. Same same. As long as you are listening for what is calling, we’re winning. Working on what you are passionate about will in turn feed you and fill your life with like minded people.
Identify one or two issues that you will dedicate yourself to.
Go on a media diet.
Be specific about what news sources you rely upon. Find and follow a few good writers who are dedicated to covering the issues you care about. Treat your news intake like a well-managed stock portfolio, and create good balance. Pay attention to what people of opposing views are reading so you can understand their point of view. Don’t let yourself become a pawn to clickbait, and educate yourself about how news is created (it’s an entertainment industry across the board. Let’s not forget that the horror movies sector is a prosperous business). Commit to reminding yourself that that the news feed is not the whole story, and create a balanced meal of information and inspiration.
Take control of the external forces that influence your perspective of the world.
Make beauty everywhere you go.
Creating beauty during an era of fear is a form of a resistance. It is claiming your relationship to the creative force and connection to the divine. Walk in beauty. Create beauty. Give random acts of beauty. You will nourish us, yourself, and you will feed the planet in ways we may never truly understand.
Find delightful ways to make the world an extraordinary place to live.
Nourish yourself and party for the planet.
Feed your friends. Nourish your neighbors. Have extras for strangers. Make music, dance and celebrate and honor the people, places and things that you love. Some of the best parties I have ever been a part of were with people using their life force energy to protect the planet. So dance yourself alive, sing yourself awake, and feed the fabric of existence through the celebration of life.
Nourish the spirits by celebrating what it is to be human.
Kill the martyr.
You are not going to save the world. (Sorry for bursting that bubble.) There are so many people on the planet who are activated in the name of transformation, you don’t need to take it all on by yourself. We don’t need your martyrdom. Or your exhaustion. Or your overwhelm. We need the wisdom you receive when you walk with the woods. We need to feel the calming sensation you hold after being held by something larger than yourself when you come from the ocean. We need your juice. And yes, we need your blood, sweat and tears. Every day. Work with others who are also holding what needs to get done.
To run a marathon, you must be well nourished.
Change the story.
How can you change the narrative from fear of what you don’t want to happen, to what you do want to happen? Writer, astrologer and activist Carolyn Casey tells a story about a journalist who changed the story of the outcome of being held hostage when he changed the script. After watching his fellow prison mate be murdered, knowing he was at risk of also being murdered, he started thanking the prison guards for protecting him. He repeated it over and over, thanking them for protecting him from the dangers outside. They started acting differently toward him. They started telling him how they were protecting him, and he was eventually released. How can you change the story in the most unexpected of ways?
Write the script for the reality you want to live in.
When rivers hit constricted areas, rapids are formed. Large rapids can be frightening. As you approach, you know the dangers: you could flip, lose everything in your boat, or even drown. But you have to focus on your goal: to find the sweet spot in the center of the rapids, because once there you will be working with the power of the river, rather than against it, and the flow of the river will carry you through to calm waters. The art in rafting is not about how hard you paddle, rather, it is about how well you can read the water, and how skilled you are at positioning yourself to ride the sweet spot…so you can enjoy the ride.