If you’ve flown, you’ve heard the direction: first, fit your own mask. Then assist those next to you with theirs.
It’s good advice in these times, when we are called to service and protest and activism. Compelling as it is to pour service into the oppressed, the threatened, the victimized, we simply must keep ourselves going or we will be unable to serve as completely and for as long as we might wish.
This is at least a four-year marathon, folks. We must sustain ourselves, because all kinds of hell are coming down the pipe, and we’re going to be up to our waists in it soon enough.
Here are some guidelines for how to remain healthy and able to serve in times like these:
Do your rituals. Say thanks over your food; make your morning or evening observances; celebrate the Sabbaths. More than ever, it is important to maintain a sense of being a part of the Greater Whole, of being an exponent of the Great Story. Spirituality will carry us through times when logic and reason alone might dispirit us, when facts may seem to say we should give up. We shouldn’t: we are the Universe itself, gazing back to see itself, conscious and acting to shape the future. So long as we can keep our eyes on the Big Picture, we will renew ourselves, and press on.
Take care of your body. Eat good food, and enough of it. Be sure to get enough sleep, challenging though that may be. Find a way to exercise, even if it’s just walking; it doesn’t have to be an extreme gym regimen. Just move your body, work up a bit of a sweat. It’s good for your health and simply pours happiness-inducing endorphins into your bloodstream.
Spend time in nature. The natural world is deeply threatened by the Trump regime, but for the time being, we still have wild areas and public lands. Visit them. Walk deep into them. Paddle the rivers. Go out under the moon. Fill yourself to the brim with the beauty of the world.
Gather with loved ones. We are social creatures, and love keeps us going. Make sure you are taking the time to be with those you love and who love you. Deepen your connections. Share meals and activities. A connected human, a loved human, is, generally speaking a much happier human.
Create. Write. Sing. Paint. Play. Make. Sculpt. Dance. Do it every chance you get, every time the inspiration strikes. Creativity is food for the Deep Self, the expression of the core of who we are as humans. There is nothing more powerful for healing the grim exhaustion of activism than creative expression.
And if you cannot serve—if the circumstances of your own life are too challenging for you to have capacity beyond what it takes simply to maintain it—forgive yourself for this. Show up when you can. Vote. Email a legislator once in awhile. If nothing else, follow the steps above and survive.
We need you. Even if all you’re able to do is to muddle through, we need your unique light to be a part of the world after the darkness passes.
And it will pass: it always does. Sanity and kindness will once again prevail. But we must sustain ourselves, support one another, and fight for them in order for them to reemerge.
Our love is our power. Foster it. Share it. For as long as love is in play, the forces who know only rage and darkness and hatred cannot win final victory.