WORDS & IMAGE: KATE WEINER
Last Friday, I connected with the beautiful Kailea Sonrisa of Harness Your Breath to work out her upcoming Artist-in-Residency with Loam. Kailea is a powerful activist who has worked on the frontlines of the resistance as well as an artist who is passionate about cultivating practices that sustain activism in the face of social, political, and climate crisis.
Our conversation on sacred—and sustainable—activism stayed with me throughout the weekend as I camped in the woods with a friend. It was chilly in the mountains and we spent much of Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning tucked into our hammock reading, listening as the creek burbled past and staring into the luminous grey sky. Although I am lucky to be in nature every day—I take a walk by the water most mornings and a hike in the foothills most evenings—I am always on the move. It was so sweet to take the time to do nothing.
There is a tremendous pressure within the mainstream climate movement to work yourself to the bone. I've written before about how the pressure to perpetually act conforms to the same capitalist measures of productivity that so many of us are fighting against. But it can be difficult to bring it on home— to believe that that it is not only nourishing but also necessary to provide pauses in our day; to trust that sitting some things out can create the space for beautiful things to bloom; and to know that rethinking our everyday actions can be as healing to the world as advocating for broad policy change.
In that spirit, I'm sharing four everyday activism practices that help me to sustain the hard work of fighting for social and environmental justice. Let me know what you are doing to sustain your activist practice in the comments!
MAKE SOMETHING EVERY DAMN DAY
Making something everyday—even if it's as simple as watercolors to mail to my friends or a big pasta dinner to share with friends— feeds my soul, connects me to others, and inspires me to take myself less seriously. I have found that the more I recklessly create, the more I am able to sustain my work as an activist. As Deb Talan of The Weepies writes in a favorite essay of mine from Darling: "[As an artist] I think it helps if you feel that what you are doing is sexy in some way. By that I mean, the work is delicious to you, it feels life affirming, wild, and vital. If it does, you'll probably keep coming back to it again and again..." Talan's words resonate with me so deeply. If we want to be activists for the long haul, we need to be able to find joy, creativity, spark, and hell, sexiness, in the fight.
SPEAK YOUR TRUTH
When we swallow our truth everyday—bite our tongue when a coworker is racist, reject our reality because we are afraid of making those around us uncomfortable—the resentment within us brews. You can't sustain activism, can't continue to rage and resist and rally, if you have too much bitterness brewing in your belly. Learning how to speak your truth is something everyone of us is forever figuring out in our own ways and on our own terms. It takes time but it's an important practice if we want to heal the world as we heal ourselves.
EAT YOUR VALUES
How you eat is a vote for the world you want. Good food is grounded in good soil and good soil is critical to mitigating climate catastrophe. Every meal truly is an opportunity to bring your values into greater alignment with your actions. Dig in!
SAVOR AN EXPERIENCE WITH SOMEONE YOU LOVE
And that can mean just you! Being disciplined about infusing the everyday with a delicious experience—be it a hike with friends or a solitary cuppa tea—helps you cultivate rituals for reconnection that will give you hope even on your hardest days.