How anger is used can determine activist effectiveness.
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Whatever your causes, as an activist you’re meeting (and perhaps feeling) a lot of anger. These times are charged, and anger is easily triggered and inflamed. How anger is used can determine activist effectiveness. You’ve probably seen anger derail progress in meetings or rallies in your community, or on TV and social media.
An Example from Charlottesville
The riots and violence in Charlottesville, VA, were recent examples of unbounded and unchecked rage and hatred. The very nature of the rally, white supremacy, is unconscionable and enraging for those of us who believe that equality is a human right and an American value. The violence perpetrated stemmed from fear and anger, no matter which 'side' of the issue was committing the acts. This understanding is well established in intelligent and thinking circles.
Truth be told, we are frequently exposed to reactive statements and comments on social media, in conversations from activists who are 'hating the haters,' wanting to perpetrate violence on them because they hate what they represent. 'An eye for an eye' is not effective, and it is not Conscious Activism. That ideology matches the emotion and energy of the white supremacists, it does nothing to evolve or elevate the conversation, perspective or actions of members of either side.
The Harmful Energy of Anger
Untethered anger escalates and explodes. It erodes communication, and derails progress. Untethered anger generally devolves to 'us vs. them' thinking and actions, which rarely create options for harmonious resolution. We see nations go to war because of ‘us vs. them’ thinking.
The Helpful Energy of Anger
Anger that is grounded and contained is a catalytic force for change, a sustainable resource for activism. It’s akin to a well-banked bed of coals that smolder in a hearth on a cold night. The heat radiates from the coals for a long time; whereas a stoked fire burns hot and then burns out. Anger that is banked emanates power.
Learning to plant deeply within the core self enables rational thinking, appropriate discourse, and perhaps a way forward to progress and resolution.
I teach a skill called' Grounding into the Earth,' as one of my Seven Practices for Conscious Activism. Use this powerful connection as a sustainable resource for showing up as a conscious, coherent activist:
- Bring awareness to your pelvic floor (your first chakra)
- Imagine a bright green ball of energy, as wide as your hips, forming in the first chakra
- Allow the ball to drop, using gravity to create a cord of green energy that extends to the center of the Earth
- Notice shifts in your being and awareness as your body’s core connects and aligns with the Earth’s core
- And then, respond to the issue you're facing through Conscious Activism
To learn more, try a free Conscious Activism course here.