The events last week and of the past year have stirred up feelings of wanting to show up and be active in our communities. Wanting to organize. Wanting to protect our loved ones. And wanting to protect democracy for our country. White Supremacy and racial inequality took center stage last week when the Trump cult attempted to take democracy hostage in the name of a lame duck president.
The outrageous level of predictability of the whole situation is anger and rage inducing to the point of crippling exhaustion. Coupled with the energy to act comes a sense of dread. Dread knowing that the dedication it takes to truly make a difference could come at the price of our personal dreams… that we may have to put our goals on the back burner in order to pursue a more “noble” cause.
This is not true.
The America we wish to see… no, the World we wish to see is one where we can pursue our deepest goals and desires while also creating spaces for people from all walks of life. We can create a more equitable society, without sacrificing our personal dreams for our lives. In pursuing our dreams, we must move in the direction of change. We must be more intentional with our dollar, our time, and our mental energy.
Know the companies you are supporting.
Do your research before you make your purchase. Instead of buying from a large corporation, buy a sustainable product from a business owner of a marginalized group or an organization that donates part of the proceeds. You may spend a bit more, but if you shop for sustainable products, you will save money in the long run. Reach your goals of purchasing a home by finding a realtor of a marginalized group. Save money by limiting your waste so you can spend money at the small locally owned corner grocery store. Make moves in a way that naturally gives back to your community. Acknowledge your part in cultivating a vibrant and connected community and sharing your findings with others so they may contribute as well.
If you can’t give your money, give your time.
Being a student, a parent, a struggling business owner, etc can all make a significant impact on your dollar. You may not have the ability to donate funds or afford to shop at local boutique businesses. If that is the case, donate time to a local cause. Attend a town hall meeting. Visit your local farmer’s market to see about the goings on. Find a cause that aligns with your passions, hobbies, and strengths and use that energy to teach others about it.
Don’t have the emotional energy to give? Tend to your wellness and reset.
These moments are draining, traumatizing, and occupy so much room in our minds. You cannot make moves, if you cannot get out of bed, if you have anxiety weighing on you, if you can’t seem to stop crying. Take a beat and zone in on those basic needs. Check in with yourself. Make sure you are able to maintain the following:
A well rounded diet
Limited screen time
Moderate exercise (especially in the time of Coronavirus)
Quality time with friends and family
General work-life balance
There’s an idea that I have come to love by Mark Twain that states, "If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning." This saying is used by many productivity analysts, psychologists and wellness experts. The idea is to finish the most daunting task first to get it out of the way early in the day. That way, you’re not stuck agonizing about the task during your most productive hours. Be kind to yourself and take more of your day back by eating the frog first.
Be mindful with every step you take toward building the life you want for yourself. By acknowledging and accepting responsibility to your community, your movement will create a ripple effect of change and will be supported by an enriched community you have invested your money, time, and energy.