Mindfulness: It’s definitely not about navel gazing

As I was preparing for the webcast on Mindfulness for Activists’ Resilience with Rev. angel Kyodo williams I saw a Facebook post from a friend and fellow activist expressing fatigue with how mindfulness seems to be all the rage these days. Too much worry about “me,” he said, and not enough about “we”. Many people were agreeing in the comments.

How timely!

I get it. As mindfulness become more mainstream and even Gandhi’s quotes are ranked, it’s easy to forget that these practices actually have transformative power for activists. Rev. angel has been helping activists hone their work for over 15 years. And, while it’s many things, true mindfulness is definitely not about navel gazing.

Mindfulness for Activists' Resilience

On the webcast, our Deputy Director Kristi Chester Vance asked Rev. angel about how mindfulness can help activists to be effective against the chaos and destruction of the Trump administration. Rev. angel talked both about how mindfulness can better our work now and also how it can help sustain us and our activism for the long haul.

For our work, says Rev. angel, practicing mindfulness in this moment can help us see, at last, how activists need to be working in deeper solidarity if we’re going to win. Before Trump’s election, said Rev. angel, “across movements we were still in silos, across movements we still thought thought we could do things that were not intersectional, that did not navigate the realities of race, of class, of gender into our work.”

But, Rev. angel noted, that doesn’t mean we suddenly just do more, work more.

The idea that we should now run ourselves ragged, would actually feed into all of the systems that are actually the underpinnings of the oppression.

Instead, she encouraged us to use mindfulness to help us see “what it is that’s ours to do.” 

And she also argued not for self-indulgence but for self-care, because we can’t be our best selves as activists or as people if we don’t pay attention to what we need.

If we can not thrive on the path towards our liberation, I don’t know what we’re working towards liberation for and I don’t know that we’ll be able to survive what we need to survive in order to keep walking that path.

We’ll be doing another webcast with Rev. angel in late June and are offering great webcasts all the time. Email Anne at anne@stand.earth to get on our invitation list!