TTM’s Inner Transition Group is winding down its discussion of Active Hope by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone with the discussion of chapter 12, Maintaining Energy and Enthusiasm.
Activism requires abundant energy and enthusiasm. How do we maintain our passion for this work? And what is an activist, anyway?
You may be an activist and not realize it! Activism includes more than standing up to injustices like the Keystone XL pipeline and demonstrating against war. Joanna Macy describes activism as any act that contributes to a sustainable culture and everything that promotes a shift in consciousness and perception. It means taking action for a purpose other than personal gain.
Transition Town Media members are on a quest to respond to the challenges of resource depletion, climate disruption and the winding down of our global economy. We will need to sustain our activism for decades. How can we nurture, protect and maintain our energy and enthusiasm as we work to create a new world? This is a very important question if we are to sustain ourselves for the long haul. And make no mistake—the world situation requires us to remain activists for the rest of our lives.
To avoid becoming depleted, we need to take good care of ourselves. Adequate sleep, good nutrition, making time for rest and renewal, and maintaining our spiritual life are ways we can take care of ourselves to prevent burnout.
We will be more effective if we act from our strengths and natural inclinations. We can clarify those strengths and inclinations by answering the following questions and then acting on what we discover.
- What drains, demoralizes or exhausts me?
- What nourishes and renews me?
- What stimulates my enthusiasm?
As we awaken from the long slumber of the Industrial Age and consumerism, it would be helpful to redefine what a good life means. A good life includes living in community, being aligned with and acting from our deepest values and consuming only what we really need.
We also need to re-examine our definition of success. The old world-view defines success as monetary wealth, power over, and social position. The new definition of success is any action contributing to the greater good and the well-being of the web of life on Earth. Even recognizing that the Earth is in trouble and caring enough to want to do something is a success.
It’s important to celebrate our successes—even the small ones—based on our new definition of success. We need to support and encourage ourselves and others on a regular basis.
We are the silver lining of the storm clouds in our future. We need to let go of the thought that we are helpless in the face of the disastrous state of our world. Every action by every person counts! Whenever I feel that my actions are not enough, I watch this inspiring video.
The work we do to preserve life on Earth is more enjoyable when we join with like-minded people. I invite you to join our Transition Town Media community and play an active part in creating a positive future.