I grew up in liberal traditions; liberal news, liberal beliefs, liberal media, liberal religion. The connecting thread of these realms is Social Justice and Activism. This is a world that needs us to stand, speak, march, act, protest, show up, and move. This is a world where being on a high rung of the social ladder (white, straight-passing, upper class, access to education, transportaiont, safety, documentation, etc) means that it's my duty to step back and make space in this world for those denied those privileges. In other words, make a seat at the table, make a bigger table, and often just throw out the table altogether. And, learn how to be a gracious guest at others' tables.
The problem - I discovered - is that activism is output, not source. But I had been mistaking it for source. In my hunger for justice, I was trying to feast at the table of activism. I should have been feasting at the table of Spirit.
Does this mean there is no Spirit in activism. Quite the opposite. The Sacred Spirit of abundant life weaves through every protest, reformed legislation, town hall meeting, and justice sermon I have ever experienced. But it flows to these places, not from them.
Spirit only ever comes from Spirit, and when I remember that, and remember to start with Spiritual Practice, my activism feeds me instead of burning me out.
Lots more to say (and I will) but if you're like me, if your activism has become like ashes in your mouth, if the fire in your belly is burning you more than it's burning for you then I want to help. I've been through professional burnout in the spiritual field; as a minister and hospice chaplain. It's time now to stop, figure out where we are on our journey, and re-integrate spiritual practices anew in our lives.
However you identify as an activist - teacher, social entrepeneur, minister, 9-5er, artist, attorney - you deserve to have joy in your work. I'm not promising we can change the world, but we certainly need people who are going to try.
Read more about my Intensive Spiritual Support for Social Justice Activists and reach out to email@example.com if you have any questions or need support.