I’ve been thinking a lot about change lately.
As the mother of one year-old twins, change is truly the only constant in my life right now. Some days I’m able to embrace this wholeheartedly, and other days, I resist it with every cell of my being. Watching my children constantly weave in and out of new phases of growth has been such a beautiful meditation on accepting the bittersweetness of change.
I’m going to guess that change has been on your mind as well.
There are changes that happen to us, and changes we choose to make – and sometimes, both kinds of change happen in tandem.
For many of us, the political events of the past several months have sparked change on a deeply personal level. People who never considered themselves activists have chosen to engage in social and political changemaking in a new way. And people who have been on the front lines of activism for a long time have renewed their commitment to self-care, realizing the immense importance of sustainability in their work.
I’m finding myself somewhere in the middle in my own response to recent political changes: committing to social and political action in a new way, but also re-prioritizing self care. Knowing that I want to change the way I show up for causes I care about, and also, that I want to change the way I show up for myself and my family.
Again, some days I can embrace these changes – and some days I resist them. The changes I most want to see in myself and in the world won’t happen overnight.
The last few months have been a wonderful experiment in staying motivated even when change takes time. Here’s what’s helping me stay committed to the dual paths of political engagement and self-care – on top of everything else:
- Know that there will be off days (and sometimes off weeks and months) – and this is an absolutely normal part of the change process. Some days, you will make political calls and eat Brussels sprouts and meditate… and some days, it will take all the energy you’ve got to sit in bed and watch Netflix with a bowl of popcorn. Trust that both modes – action and rest – nourish the process of change.
- Remember: there is enough time. Let me repeat: there is enough time. Last week I saw an Instagram post that made me step back for a moment – it was a list of successful people who, at various ages, hadn’t reached worldly success at all. (Did you know that Julia Child released her first cookbook at 39, and didn’t have her own cooking show until she was 51? Me either!) We often assume – often unconsciously – that we’re running out of time to make the impact we want to make in the world (or the impact we want to make in our own lives!), but this just isn’t true. And we’ll likely make more progress towards the dreams we hold for ourselves in the world if we ease up the pressure a bit, and leave room for the mystery of life to do its part. There is enough time.
- Little steps count! A lot! Because the rest of my life is so full right now, I’ve boiled down my self-care and political action goals to super-tiny daily steps. On the self care front: each day, I try to move my body in a way that feels good, meditate for at least 5 minutes, and take my vitamins & supplements. On the political engagement front: I try to make one political call each day, usually using a script from 5calls.org or thesixtyfive.org so I don’t have to think hard about what I’m going to say. On the days I’m especially tired, I call the senator who only has a voicemail responder when you call in, so that I don’t even have to speak to an actual person (fellow introverts who live in North Carolina, that’s Senator Richard Burr, for the record). Letting this be enough has kept me going with this routine about 95% of the time for over 2 months now. Every tiny step towards change matters.
Over to you: What’s helping you stay on the path of change these days, even when it feels like it might take forever? Send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!
P. S. Coaching and healer friends, I ran across something that may be of interest to you – a course called Coaching as Activism by experienced coach and activist Andrea Ranae. This looks like an incredible offering that may well be right up your alley. Please check it out if you’re curious!
P.P.S. While I’m not popping into your inbox here much these days, I’m on Instagram almost daily, and would love to hang out with you there! Come say hello on Instagram at @elizabethbechard.