For many of us, these are challenging times. For some of us, the past few months of lockdowns and restrictions have also brought many positives. At this time, it’s important to keep our balance – to remember that we experience both great suffering and great beauty – that is our human condition. Our task is to nurture our ability to hold both the suffering and the beauty, and to respond with care and openness.
It can be difficult to nurture ourselves. Social activist and teacher Mushim Ikeda reminds us how important it is to do so, for ourselves, our families, and our communities. To help, she has created a “Great Vow for Mindful Activists” (https://www.lionsroar.com/i-vow-not-to-burn-out/):
“Aware of suffering and injustice, I, _________, am working to create a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world. I promise, for the benefit of all, to practice self-care, mindfulness, healing, and joy. I vow to not burn out.”
The world needs us. Whatever our position or our place in the world, each one of us is capable of acts of leadership to create a more just, equitable, sustainable, and caring world by balancing and blending creativity, compassion, and courage. Each of us can find opportunities to share our experience in order to help make the world a better, more compassionate place.
At this time, we all have a pressing and essential opportunity to stand with the Black Lives Matter movement, to educate ourselves and to act, whether as an Ally, an Advocate, an Activist, or an Anti-racist (thanks to Margaret Regan and the Inclusion Allies Coalition for these distinctions http://www.inclusioncoalition.info/welcome.html) To quote Archbishop Desmond Tutu, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Some of us were brought up to believe that it is impolite to talk about ourselves; and yet, it is only when we share our stories, and let each other know why we do the work we do, that we can connect with others, and can provide the help and support we all need to bring about the changes we need at this time – to create a more just and equitable world, and to sustain life on this planet into the future.