MHM 12: Activism + Self-Care

Happy Monday REVOLUTIONARIES!

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We hope you all are well. We had a fun AND busy weekend! Most notably, we got to hang with our COM|PASSionate REVOLT family (our favorite dream worker and tarot-ist, Kaeti Gugiu,) catch Sister Spit hosted by the Long Beach Center and check out the drag show at Hamburger Mary’s new location (not that new- we’re just getting old and don’t get out as much as we used to.)

We giggled a lot, saw some great drag, ran into some familiar faces and got to give hugs to some new friends. All in all a lovely night of community witnessing and reflection. As often happens when you’re at a non-work related social (but community) event, hanging with folks that work in community (not at the event,) the talk turned to “the work.” It came up over the course of the night in several different scenarios and incarnations and it got us to thinking about the healing but also, at times, insidious way “the work” itself becomes tied to our own healing, survival and flourishing.

It’s an interesting dilemma that those of us that are the most passionate (often because of personally driven volition) are often getting paid the least or not at all for the work we are doing. Whether or not we have paid positions we are also often doing other unpaid work or activism in the community and when we take time off we often fall into commiserating about the depleting nature of the work/activism/community navigation. We talk about how much more work needs to be done or how ineffective the structures are we’re working within. One action may feel like it’s gaining movement while another seems to be falling behind. We’re tired but another group that collaborated with us earlier in the year is having an event. Our advocacy group is in between big events but our partner is having a shitty time at work/with family/the sometimes uphill battle of everyday life. We organized an event that went well and didn’t realize how much it would trigger for us personally. An event doesn’t go well and (because our identities are personally invested) we feel the weight of failure, not just in the eyes of others but in the fear of a present and future that continues to not hold and nurture us. While we’re all doing our best to give our all to causes that need support, it’s a slippery feedback loop– a cycle that doesn’t lend itself well to breaks, self-care or, in actuality, sustainability and success of our movements.

You know the directions they give on airplanes before you take off. They show you the little air mask and remind you to secure yours first before you help anyone around you?? It’s because you can’t help anyone around you if you’re passed out!

That’s something more of us need to institute into the work we do with our communities. Aftershock, by Patrice Jones, is a guide for activists and allies confronting trauma in a violent world.

{Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1JhlfTc}
{Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1JhlfTc}

We think this is a great start to understanding the effects and care we need to take of ourselves when working in our communities– after all, if we pass out from exhaustion the work doesn’t get done anyways.

We also think it’s relevant to feel into the kind of change that best suits your individual personality, talents and person. Sure we can try to add temperance and self-care to our lives by decreasing the work we do in the world but the truth is many of us are intimately invested in the work we’re doing. We don’t want to stop because we want the world to be better for ourselves as much as we want the world to be better for others!

So, for example, if you’re someone that gets an adrenaline rush from loud group protests go for it! Maybe you’d rather be involved in a letter writing campaign behind the scenes? Do you have natural charm and put people at ease so they can hear a new point of view? A lot of grassroots campaigns could use folks going door to door to connect. Maybe you’re an artist? Can you design a shirt raising awareness/funds for a group you’re involved with? Web designer? There are lots of small groups and non-profits that can’t hire a big firm to build a website or do a bit of upkeep. Are you using your voice in blogging community? Drop us a line! Let us know if you’d be interested in being part of the COM|PASSionate REVOLUTION! The possibilities are endless.

We sometimes get stuck as seeing “activism” in only one light that benefits the sun energized, loud, confrontational group movements. Are these important? Absolutely! Would we, being the humans that “cry as much as some people pee” and have a lot of feelings be in any form of conscious state if we engaged in too many of these?? Not so much.

We often fail to question why these masculine forms of movement are valued higher than the quiet powerful ways feminine water energy has continuously and unrelentingly turned mountains in beaches one patient grain of sand at a time.

So, we know it would be silly of us to ask you, REVOLUTIONARIES, to stop making the world a better place by your presence, sacrifices and compassion. We do, however, encourage you to take the time to check in with what is the best, most fueling, most sustainable way for you to contribute.

We implore you put on your mask before helping those around you.

Until next time. Put your mask on.

In COM|PASSionate REVOLUTION,

Skye + Traci

 As always you can reach us at…

compassionaterevolt@gmail.com

www.compassionaterevolt.com

www.compassionaterevolt.wordpress.com

COM|PASSionate REVOLT FB

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Skye is a youth worker, educator, activist and white transmasculine human. Traci is a therapist, yoga teacher, educator and queer vegan femme-inist of color. They reside, practice, navigate, process, survive and flourish in the Southern California area.

 

 

 

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MHM Ep 10: Feelings Are Not The Enemy

Heyo Friends!

We know it’s been awhile since the Mental Health Mash-Up has actually been in podcast format! We’ve been really busy with some wonderful things and some less than wonderful, but still interesting, intersectional experiences.

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Today we’re talking about one such complicated and conflicted experience– being part of the audience (and peeing) during Andrea Gibson’s recent performance in Los Angeles this weekend. They were wonderful, the crowd was amazing and… the bathroom situation was less than ideal. So it goes…

Listen here:

Or visit our LibSyn Page.

{www.andreagibson.org}
{www.andreagibson.org}

Here are links from the show:

Andrea Gibson’s Website

The Nutritionist

Buddy Wakefield’s Website

Lauren Zuniga’s Website

Confessions of an Uneducated Queer

Andrea Gibson Proposes to Lauren Zuniga

Stay Here With Me

As always you can reach us at…

compassionaterevolt@gmail.com

www.compassionaterevolt.com

www.compassionaterevolt.wordpress.com

COM|PASSionate REVOLT FB

In COM|PASSionate REVOLUTION,

Skye + Traci 

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Skye is a youth worker, educator, activist and white transmasculine human. Traci is a therapist, yoga teacher, educator and queer vegan femme-inist of color. They reside, practice, navigate, process, survive and flourish in the Southern California area.

Bibliotherapy: Healing Trauma

There are wonderful healers and healing practices out there in the world but we know that accessibility to these services can sometimes be daunting. This makes us big fans of healing that can knock some of these accessibility challenges off your to do list.

I just finished this book Healing Trauma by Peter Levine, PhD, founder/creator of Somatic Experiencing. I was pleased to find it clear, concise, inexpensive ($15 on their website and less on Amazon!) and include audio supports for the exercises. I am also working through Waking the Tiger and In An Unspoken Voice two of Levine’s other books on how trauma is stored and healed in and through our bodies but this book can be utilized  completely independently! Take a look at Peter Levine’s work on his website to see if it’s a healing modality that might be helpful to you.

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Traci is a fan of accessible healing tools whether they be therapy, film therapy, bibliotherapy, art therapy, the list goes on. She is also in an ongoing dialogue to get to know the complex and dynamic systems of her mind, body and spirit.

Notes on affordability + consciousness: If you appreciate someone’s work (in any media) and you can afford to we encourage you to buy directly from them. If you come across someone’s work via another big seller like Amazon take a minute to search them out individually. Get to know who and where you’re buying from. You may find other wonderful tools, spaces and voices and you’ll be supporting the folks behind those products/services. Sort of a self-imposed and honored sliding scale. Keep healing!

Healing + The Holidays

Gratitude

The holidays can evoke so many things for so many of us. They can be dreaded, nurturing, devastating or just plain old complicated. For some of us these couple of months can seem like a time to reconnect, rest and get back in touch with our families and friends while many of us are doing our best to stay grounded until the storm passes.

I felt immensely grateful to spend this recent Thanksgiving in a way that felt truly honoring of where I’m at and what I believe in my heart to be consistent with the spirit of the season.

I had the good fortune of connecting with a wonderful yoga community (Deep Dog Yoga, Yorba Linda) this past year and was asked to lead a gratitude practice at the studio on Thanksgiving morning. Skye was all set to accompany with acoustic guitar, voice and ukulele and at the last moment we re-connected with Jamie Jones of Mahoroba USA who brought their healing drum knowledge to our practice! The room was filled with old students, new students, friends and families. Yogis of all different experience levels– including those, I’m sure, that didn’t identify as yogis at all. We took deep breaths together and contemplated “Gratitude” or Kritajna in Sanskrit which translates to “Cultivated Consciousness.” Poses were modified, options were taken as desired and, maybe most importantly, physical practice was de-prioritized beneath need and self-care.

We gave lots of hugs and headed off to our different spaces. I chose to cook and gather with chosen family around compassionate vegan fare. We ate and rested.

It was the first time the holiday space had been completely consistent with where my heart (which in all honesty was feeling a little bit worn down) wanted to be. I offered what I could. I prepped and rested. I didn’t put myself in spaces where I needed to educate others or defend myself. I kept my space free of anyone and anything that might inhibit safety or cue my already hyper consciousness into the reality of trauma and violence in the world. This included not compromising (or apologizing for) my personal practice of ahimsa (non-harm) in order to gather which is often a conflicted place for me. Any other expectations that popped up unrequited I breathed thankfulness for the present moment into and washed them away so I could see clearly all that I had in front of me. I cultivated consciousness around the power of honoring and acknowledging my own agency in creating a healing journey that was holding for myself.

Anyone who experiences “otherness” on any level knows that we’re often told that our experiences aren’t “real.” We are expected to engage in interactions and traditions that have different meanings for us than the world around us. I invite you to tap into the healing nature of connectedness this holiday season. Have gratitude for this.

Cultivate consciousness that brings you closer to your individual path of healing.

In Cultivated Consciousness,

Traci

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Traci is a queer vegan femme-inist yoga teacher and therapist striving to circle the metaphorical wagons of diverse queer community into digital and physical healing gatherings. She’s utilizing a lot of mashed potato and doggy snuggle medicine this holiday season.

 

 

Gratitude, COM|PASSion + Community Trauma

thenutritionist

Some of us are holders and keepers. We feel deeply with the entirety of our beings and take on heart work like it’s an extreme sport.

Some of us are also particularly well suited for trauma because we have been trained by the unforgiving hands of socialization, marginalization and discrimination. We see it everywhere. Sometimes it feels that it is trauma that connects us. Everything in the world tells us that this… this… THIS is our storyline. Get used to it.

There’s no space for anything but this.

Don’t believe it.

Have gratitude today, dear friends, don’t step away from compassion even

“if the only thing we have to gain in staying is each other,

my god that’s plenty

my god that’s enough.”

Don’t stop talking, posting, giving hugs, sharing tears, listening with open hearts. Appease the lump in your throat, the tension at your neck and the grinding of your jaw. Speak forth through the heavy fog of silence and fear and ignorance but don’t get lost in it.

Take time to breathe and nurture and have gratitude for the spark of awareness rising up around us. Know that “the wound is an echo.” It is reverberating through our communities.

Lick your wounds. You can’t make it better, tell someone it’s better, or hope it better right this moment.

“Just say here we are together at the window aching for it to all get better but knowing as bad as it hurts our hearts may have only just skinned their knees knowing there is a chance the worst day might still be coming-

Let me say right now for the record, I’m still gonna be here asking this world to dance, even if it keeps stepping on my holy feet.

You- you stay here with me, okay?

You stay here with me.

Raising your bite against the bitter dark

Your bright longing

Your brilliant fists of loss

Friend.”

Take heart. Make space. Have gratitude that these things that have made us particularly suited to be holders and keepers also forge our spirits in a way that make us particularly suited to wield compassion in the face of our oppressor. Use your strengths. Believe in your superpower. Take your cape. Hold tight to…

“The ripchord of believing.

A life can be rich like the soil.

Can make food of decay.

Can turn wound into highway.”

In solidarity and offering,

COM|PASSionate REVOLT

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Compassion and healing can’t be separated from the source of the wounds. You can read Autostraddle’s list of articles and action tips on “How You Can Show Up for Ferguson” here. To read Andrea Gibson’s poem “The Nutritionist” in it’s entirety you can visit this dedicated blog space or learn more about  Andrea Gibson on their official website here.