In my last blog I had promised to begin unpacking a series of seeming tensions between a “critical” stance (i.e. focused on naming and changing power relations in the world) and a more “spiritual” one (i.e. focused on compassion, love and acceptance).
I don’t have it in me to do this right now. I’m not feeling balanced enough, in the current national state of affairs. I’m struggling to find a way forward, grounded in love and solidarity.
So for now I will simply post my new post-election commitments. I share them in order to make them public, hold myself accountable, and encourage you to form your own commitments as well.
(1)Rethink my priorities in terms of where I spend my time, energy and money.
(3) Work in coalition with others to respond to the matters of the day, taking action on immediate items (e.g. defending immigrant rights), and being prepared to respond to whatever comes up. Be mentally, emotionally and physically prepared to respond to hate, with love and a firm stance of solidarity for anyone who is attacked.
(3) Spend more time writing for larger audiences, not just academia, and not just the echo chamber of like-minded peers on social media. I will also rethink WHAT I write about, working hard to connect the everyday work I do in schools and communities with the larger issues of the day, and the historical lessons I’ve learned going back to 1980s Central America Solidarity work.
(4) Begin immediate monthly donations to these and other groups: ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, Black Lives Matter, the Sierra Club, immigrant rights groups, “tithing” a percentage of my income to support causes that are under attack. I will continue to donate any income I generate from public talks to scholarships for immigrant youth. Now it feels more important than ever to put my money where my mouth is, and to support groups who are speaking to life and death issues of the day.
(5) Check my carbon footprint and tax my own carbon use: See carbontax.org. This I say to Donald Trump: Not everyone tries to get away with paying as little tax as possible. While I don’t like my tax dollars going to funding the U.S. war machine, I do believe in paying taxes to offset my use of the world’s resources, and if the government isn’t going to tax me, I will just have to tax myself. I am gravely concerned that the Trump presidency can set us back on the ticking clock to stall Climate Change in ways that we simply cannot afford.
(6) Spend more time with people in the world: building community, forming connections, looking people in the eye, listening hard: less time talking and more time listening and FEELING.
(7) Reinvigorate practices of daily meditation, including the practice of “tonglen:” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwqlurCvXuM: breathing in the pain of the world with the wish of releasing it.
(8) Reinvigorate practices of self care in order to stay in this work for the long haul.