How To Resist From A Place Of Love: Self-Care For The Long Haul

If you want to sustain yourself for the work ahead, here’s some advice: It doesn’t matter whether the other side “deserves” anger.


Published:

There is a heated conversation in some activist circles that goes like this: Should our work draw strength from fear and anger or from a place of love and compassion? I have heard people say that if we stop being angry and start being loving, we would be letting the culprits off the hook. We would be blinding ourselves to the bad things happening and—in indulging our nice feelings—forget to help those endangered.

In workshops I give to help activists and concerned citizens cope, there’s an experiment I use that addresses this. It goes like this:

Conjure up all the fear and anger you have about the world and the politicians from the other side and the scandals and the targeting of those least able to defend themselves. Probably you’ll get a physical sensation. Where is that sensation? For most people it is in the throat and top of the chest. Now, imagine that you are powering your voice from there and that you are shouting at a march or speaking to an elected official. Try speaking from there right now, out loud. How long could you sustain it? Do you get the sense that before long you would go hoarse?

Next, imagine the love you feel for nature and the compassion you feel for those who need help. Now ask yourself where in your body the physical sensation is. For many, the feeling is located just below the naval. Now try to power your voice from that place, speaking out loud again. How long could that energy last?

If you are anything like me, you might get the feeling you could go forever.

And that is the thing about fear and anger versus love. Regardless of whether the other side “deserves” anger, we must sustain ourselves for the work ahead. Can we actually go on forever with a blaming mentality, or will our work be better served by love? Our vision for the world is more likely to be achieved if it is grounded in compassion and love.

Recently, because so many people in my community were anxious and exhausted after the election, I held a workshop called “The Long Haul: Wisdom for Activists and Concerned Citizens.” The goal was to search for an attitude that would help us continue to work steadfastly toward a fair, compassionate, just, safe world without burning out.

There were nearly 40 of us. Some were seasoned activists alarmed by the bottom dropping out of all they thought they had achieved. Others were formerly disengaged citizens woken up by the election. Others were just concerned citizens, tired of being isolated behind their computer screens with all that worried them.

Here are three exercises we did.

Witnessing each other’s good work and giving thanks

We walked around the room introducing ourselves to each other, briefly recounting actions we had taken, like visiting elected officials or going on marches. Each of us attempted to really listen, then offered heartfelt thanks and hugged or touched each other’s shoulders or squeezed each other’s hands. This exercise helps change our view of the world from a dangerous, hate-filled place to a loving, hope-filled place. Keeping our focus on the good in the world helps many of us sustain our work.

Owning our complicity in the world’s problems

In groups of four, we each owned aspects of our own personal responsibility for the problems in the world. We talked about how we used fossil fuels even as we condemned the fossil fuel industry. We talked about how we had never bothered to take note of the 3 million to 4 million deportations that happened each year prior to Trump.

Bringing the world’s problems home and owning our part in them allows us to dissolve the imaginary monsters we see in Trump voters and people whose ideas differ from ours. Owning our complicity allows us to see ourselves in and have compassion for those we blame. We get to see that all of us—all of us—get caught up in deluded thinking and actions.

Create a positive vision rather than react to negative events

Next, we took turns in pairs telling each other our visions for the world. We each talked not about what we wanted to resist but about what we wanted to create. We talked about the clean air and water that comes with renewable energy. We talked about the resilient communities that come with racial and economic justice. We talked about the capable children that come with good schools. This provided us with a sense of agency and defined the good things we wanted for the world.

After the workshop, I was heartened to see how the energy in the room had lightened. People seemed inspired to carry on. “I realize I have been clinging to my anger and my need to make someone else wrong with more energy than I have been trying to figure out how I can do what’s right,” someone said.

The point of this kind of work is simply not to let ourselves sink so deeply into our own despair that we can no longer act to combat the suffering of others. Caring people need to take care. We may have to find ways to put aside our unsustainable anger and fear in favor of our endless reserves of love and compassion.

Colin Beavan helps people and organizations to live and operate in ways that have a meaningful impact on the world. His most recent book is “How To Be Alive,” and he blogs at ColinBeavan.com. Besides YES! Magazine, his articles have appeared in Esquire, Atlantic, and the New York Times. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

This article was republished from YES! Magazine.

See also:
What It Takes to Change Hearts and Minds
Indivisible: A Practical Guide For Resisting The Trump Agenda

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

October 20, 2018

The waxing Pisces Moon arouses a great many sensitivities. Moods may vary, up and down, from moment to moment. Handle partners with care. A slight provocation can prompt a surprisingly strong emotional response. Interests may be short-lived as attention…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

October 2018

October 14 - 18 Join the acclaimed Grandmaster William C. C. Chen for an intensive five-day Tai Chi Chuan Fall Retreat. Knowledge of the Yang-style short form is a requirement for participation....

Cost: Please see our website

Where:
Eastover Estate & Eco Village
430 East St.
Lenox, MA  01240
View map »


Telephone: 866-264-5139
Website »

More information

October 14 - November 19 60 PDAs A 36 day retreat in which acclaimed Qigong master, Junfeng Li, will meditate and practice not only Sheng Zhen Gong daily, but will also share traditions that...

Cost: Please see our website

Where:
Eastover Estate & Eco Village
430 East St.
Lenox, MA  01240
View map »


Telephone: 866-264-5139
Contact Name: Yingxing Wang
Website »

More information

Lunare is open to magickal vendors and holistic practitioners wishing to offer their spiritual goods and services to an audience interested in all things mystical. General admission to...

Cost: Free general admission, lecture tickets $15

Where:
Hunt Memorial Building
6 Main St
Nashua, NH  03064
View map »


Sponsor: Lunare Mystics
Telephone: 603-801-2113
Contact Name: Alyssa O'Mara
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join Psychic Medium Diane Lewis for gallery style readings. Diane will be connecting to spirit delivering messages from those who have crossed over. Don't miss this free event sponsored by...

Cost: Free

Where:
Hopkinton Public Library
13 Main Street
Hopkinton, MA, MA  01748
View map »


Sponsor: Hopkinton Public Library
Telephone: 617-645-6415
Contact Name: Diane Lewis
Website »

More information

Break emotional patterns that keep you stuck in the pain of addictive habits. Heal mental trauma through physical practices involving movement, breath, and meditation.

Where:
Yoga at the Ashram
368 Village Street
Millis, MA  02054
View map »


Sponsor: Yoga At The Ashram
Telephone: (508) 376-4525
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
No Events

The class is a combination of qi gong, yoga, meditation, and relaxation followed by a cup of healing tea. The class, developed by Korean enlightened master Ilchi Lee, is based on Sundo, a...

Cost: $10

Where:
Divine Paradigm
58b Macy St
Amesbury, MA  01913
View map »


Contact Name: Brad Fanger

More information

With Carrie Rowan Wednesday evenings at 7pm, a 4-week introductory class that teaches quick energy medicine tools, mini meditations to help moms/dads and caregivers reduce stress and stay calm...

Where:
Fitzgerald Institute
Northboro, MA


Telephone: (508) 273-2610
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

October 18 - 21 Magnetic-harmonic vibrational therapist, Jay Emmanuel, A.K., N.S.,V.M. shares powerful energy techniques that use the forces of sounds produced by the human voice in combination...

Cost: Please see our website

Where:
Eastover Estate & Retreat Center
430 East St.
Lenox, MA  01240
View map »


Telephone: 866-264-5139
Contact Name: Yingxing Wang
Website »

More information

Course participant experiences:  “After this course, I learned how to recognize where I hold my tension and release it.”  “My favorite part of the program is the...

Cost: $650

Where:
CHA Center for Mindfulness & Compassion
26 Central Street
2nd Floor Community Room
Somerville, MA  02143
View map »


Sponsor: CHA Center for Mindfulness & Compassion
Telephone: 617-591-6132
Contact Name: Bridget Kiley
Website »

More information

The H.E.A.R.T. Program® (Health Empowerment and Real Transformation) is an innovative holistic curriculum addressing the current health crisis and epidemics of obesity, heart disease, and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
View map »


Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Michelle Caron
Website »

More information

Daily practice for peace, healing, Christ mindedness, meditation, awakening.

Where:
Milton, MA


Telephone: 617-696-5685
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

14 CEU Credits for Massage/Bodywork Therapists! Oct 19-21: Chi Nei Tsang And...pre-weekend women only event: Oct 18: Women’s Sexual Ecstacy - 1-6pm/6CEUs Chi Nei...

Cost: Please see our website

Where:
Eastover Estate & Eco Village
430 East St.
Lenox, MA  01240
View map »


Telephone: 866-264-5139
Contact Name: Yingxing Wang
Website »

More information

October 19 - 20 (Workshop runs 10-5 both days) When the phase of the Sixth Sun began with the eclipse of July 11, 2010 it was time, according to Sergio’s teacher, for the ancient...

Where:
Natick Mariott Courtyard
Natick, MA


Contact Name: Sandy Corcoran
Website »

More information

With Yogi Amandeep Adi Shakti represents all divine energies. When activated, she manifests herself as creativity, prosperity, wisdom. Rare workshop uniting ancient science of Kundalini...

Where:
Yoga at the Ashram
368 Village St
Millis, MA  02054
View map »


Telephone: (508) 376-4525
Website »

More information

Connect with the ancient wisdom of yoga. Learn how yoga practices are designed to address life’s problems, such as work stress, relationship difficulties, and common mental health issues. Be...

Cost: $40

Where:
Yogalife Institute of NH
6 Chestnut Street
Lower Level
Exeter, NH  03833
View map »


Sponsor: YogaLife Institute of NH
Telephone: 603-867-3969
Contact Name: Alice Bentley
Website »

More information

No previous experience is required for this Friday evening event. It is essential for students who are unfamiliar with using the Pathway Prayer Process© and who plan to attend the 2-day...

Cost: $35

Where:
Circles of Wisdom - New location late Summer '18
386 Merrimack Street
Methuen, MA  01844
View map »


Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
Website »

More information

Bee Kind Music Class with Carrie Rowan inspires a love to music in little ones. 10am on Fridays for 8 weeks at Playtown Express in Southboro. To register call (508) 480-0022 or...

Where:
Playtown Express
150 Cordaville Road
Southboro, MA
View map »


Telephone: 508-273-2610
Website »

More information

The class is a combination of qi gong, yoga, meditation, and relaxation followed by a cup of healing tea. The class, developed by Korean enlightened master Ilchi Lee, is based on Sundo, a...

Cost: $10

Where:
Divine Paradigm
58b Macy St
Amesbury, MA  01913
View map »


Contact Name: Brad Fanger

More information

“For breath is life, and if you breathe well you will live long on earth.” — Sanskrit Proverb Join us for an evening of deep exploration and transformation using the healing...

Cost: $40 (limited hardship rates available)

Where:
Museum of Modern Renaissance
115 College Avenue
Somerville, MA  02144
View map »


Sponsor: HolotropicMA
Contact Name: Allen Howell M.Ed. LMHC
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Refresh, refocus, simplify. Discover easy tools and strategies to prepare for an incredible holiday season. 8:00–8:30 Registration open 8:30–8:35 Welcome 8:35–9:20 Circle...

Cost: $99

Where:
Women’s Health Resource Center
9 Hanover Street
Lebanon, NH  03766
View map »


Sponsor: Almstrom Financial, Green Mt. Hypnosis, Patti Friedman, Eva Loomis
Telephone: (603) 650-2600
Contact Name: Women’s Health Resource Center

More information

October 20 - 21 Early Bird Special! Register before September 30 and save $45! Prerequisite: Be familiar with accessing the Akashic Records through the Pathway Prayer Process© either...

Cost: $350 before September 30

Where:
Circles of Wisdom - New location late Summer '18
386 Merrimack Street
Methuen, MA  01844
View map »


Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
Website »

More information

See all that is new at Dragonfly! Come and meet our new practitioners and teachers and learn about the innovative holistic modalities that are being offered. Participate in free classes, see...

Where:
Dragonfly Wellness Center
176 Jackson Rd.
Devens, MA  MA
View map »


Telephone: 978-487-7181
Website »

More information

October 20 & 21, 10:30am-6:30pm Practices and Approaches for PTSD, Depression and Anxiety with Erin Byron, MA, E-RYT500, C-IAYT, YACEP, Licensed Mental Health Professional Experiment with...

Cost: $325

Where:
YogaLife Institute of NH
6 Chestnut Street
Exeter, NH  03833
View map »


Sponsor: YogaLife Institute of NH
Telephone: 603-867-3969
Contact Name: Alice Bentley
Website »

More information

The shamanic rattle is a sacred tool that can be used to shift into an altered state of consciousness, sense and track energy, and heal the energetic body, which contains the codes underlying...

Cost: $40

Where:
Akasha Studio
20 Birch Street
Roslindale, MA  02131
View map »


Sponsor: Miriam Katz, Shamanic Healer
Telephone: 617-545-5142
Contact Name: Miriam Katz
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags