What a wild world we live in! I hope you are all thriving, doing good work, taking breaks, and feeling your feelings-- there are so many to feel! You are doing your best. Don't give up on yourself or the world.
There are two parts to this newsletter. One is bulkier than the other, but both are equally important!
Part 1. Social Justice and Activism
Part 2. How to take a break from it all.
**If Part 1 feels overwhelming read Part 2 first... and remember that a hug goes a long way!
Holiday gift giving and receiving tip:
Ask your friends and family who like to give gifts to donate to one of the organizations below in my name. For people who you normally give gifts to ask: What organization would you like me to donate to in your name? (and give them a few options.)
"But politeness is no substitute for morality, and won’t save us in the end."
Like many of you, I have been up and down the emotional spectrum a few times. I go from raging my fists in the air to hiding under the covers with pizza and wine, from signing every petition to liking cute dog pics, from loving the world with compassion to falling into hopeless despair. We care. We are confused. We are brave. We are afraid. We stand together. We feel lonely.
Volunteer, Donate, Stay informed, Participate. Now is the time to awaken, to rally, to stand up, to take a stand, to help others, to peacefully protest, write letters, sign petitions, post on social media, raise awareness, speak out, pray, meditate, be mindful. Your words mean something. Your actions make a difference. Where you spend and invest your money is where you put your vote.
Here are some organizations to support, articles to read, and things you can do to actually make a difference in this world "so worthy of rescue." (read: Clearing by Martha Postlewaite.)
Straightforward Answers to Basic Questions About Syria’s War - New York Times
One Man’s View Into the Last Days in Rebel-Held Aleppo - New York Times
Last Call of Mr Alhamdo from bloody Aleppo - YouTube
What You Can Do:
*Preemptive Love Coalition
*5 Things You Can Do To Help Aleppo. from The Independent
*7 Real things you can do right now about the catastrophe in Aleppo. from Upworthy
What You Can Do:
*The U.S. Trans Survey Findings Are Grim — Here's What You Can Do To Help
*Call your Senators - Here's the list by state! Let them know you oppose the confirmation of Betsy DeVos for education secretary. She has a long history of financial contributions to anti-LGBQT causes, including conversion therapy.
1. Syllabus for White People to Educate Themselves *"Disclaimer: this is long! You won’t read it in a day, but if you commit to reading consistently, you will make your way through it!" Seriously, this is a comprehensive guide for social justice regarding race. Take your time and read through this. Educate yourself. Be part of the movement to creating peace and equality.
2. ACLU - American Civil Liberties Union.
The ACLU works tirelessly in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the Constitution’s promise of liberty for everyone in our country.
ACLU Letter To President-elect Trump (as published in the New York Times)
3. Black Lives Matter - Black Lives Matter is a chapter-based national organization working for the validity of Black life. We are working to (re)build the Black liberation movement.
4. Injustice Boycott - Here is how we will boycott injustice and police brutality in America. This nationwide boycott has a big plan that will be delivered in stages. Sign up. Participate.
5. Standing Rock / North Dakota Pipeline Defense Fund - Yes, we've been victorious in temporarily stopping the pipeline. But this battle is far from over. Let's keep supporting them so they can keep protecting our water and their sacred sites.
17 Banks Fund the Dakota Access Pipeline. Is yours one of them? Are you willing to change banks to a credit union that doesn't suppor DAPL? I changed banks. Here's my Facebook post about it.
6. SPLC - Southern Poverty Law Center - We monitor hate groups and other extremists throughout the United States and expose their activities to the public, the media and law enforcement.
7. Planned Parenthood - Planned Parenthood believes in the fundamental right of each individual, throughout the world, to manage his or her fertility, regardless of the individual's income, marital status, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, or residence. We believe that respect and value for diversity in all aspects of our organization are essential to our well-being. We believe that reproductive self-determination must be voluntary and preserve the individual's right to privacy. We further believe that such self-determination will contribute to an enhancement of the quality of life and strong family relationships.
8. MALDEF - Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. MALDEF strives to implement programs that are structured to bring Latinos into the mainstream of American political and socio-economic life; providing better educational opportunities; encouraging participation in all aspects of society; and offering a positive vision for the future.
9. IRAP -The International Refugee Assistance Project. IRAP organizes law students and lawyers to develop and enforce a set of legal and human rights for refugees and displaced persons. Mobilizing direct legal aid and systemic policy advocacy, IRAP serves the world’s most persecuted individuals and empowers the next generation of human rights leaders.
10. Lambda Legal - Lambda Legal, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.
11. Transgender Law Center - Transgender Law Center changes law, policy, and attitudes so that all people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression.
12. Trump Changed Everything. Now Everything Counts. - Barbara Kingsolver. Millions of Americans are starting to grasp that we can’t politely stand by watching lives and liberties get slashed beyond repair. What are you going to do?
13. 6 Ways Spiritual Thinking Can Reinforce Oppression and Racism - There is a lurking problem happening within ‘spiritual’ thought and dialogue. Many people who view themselves as healers, “starseeds,” or spiritual teachers, are doing something dangerous: spreading violence and aggression under the guise of love and light.
"The quieting of the mind is a political act."
I recently spent a weekend in San Francisco visiting a friend. I made a point to take a break from all social media during those 3 days. In fact, I limited all of my electronic communication. I had an amazing time. Visited Lake Tahoe, got stuck in a blizzard, and got lots of love from my friend's dog. When I returned home I felt rejuvenated and ready to re-engage. I had more clarity and peacefulness, which made me feel stronger and more able to be effective. Taking a break was the best thing I could've done-- think Mexico! ;)
Since then, I've been creating boundaries around my use of social media. I've been taking more baths and attending more yoga classes partly because it's a guaranteed amount of time to be away from my phone and it's a beautiful way to connect to myself. Consider your relationship with social media and news. Are you taking care of yourself? What are some ways that you can create balance in your life? This is a time when we are being called upon to stand up, but we must take time to rest and replenish.
1. Tara Brach. I listen to Tara Brach meditations a lot. Sitting at home, walking down the street, on the bus, wherever. I always feel significantly more peaceful after listening to her. You can subscribe to her podcasts on your mobile device or listen to them on her website. They are powerful... and free!
2. Quiet Your Mind, Heal The World by Jack Kornfield
4. 3 Tips To Finding Social Media Balance - New York Times article
For our sake and for the sake of the world we need to find a balance between our engagement in the world and our willingness to let it all go. I hope that all this info is helpful.