Recent Young Adult Blog Posts
At this summer’s General Assembly, UUCSJ is excited to offer our third annual stipended leadership opportunity to alumni of our programs and related justice and leadership initiatives to support their engagement in social justice education, action, and outreach at GA....
Sustaining Ourselves for the Long Haul
Meditation brings wisdom; lack of mediation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what hold you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom. — Buddha
As you get ready to depart for your summer justice work, we want to remind you that the quest for social justice can be long, difficult, and complicated, even as it may offer a deep sense of purpose and meaning as well. We often find ourselves out of our “comfort zones”, confronted with our privilege and biases, and faced with parts of world (and even ourselves!) that may be disorienting or difficult to accept. At the same time, you may find these new challenges exhilarating and empowering to explore. Given the range of emotions and experiences that may emerge, this work requires deep inner fortitude, and the cultivation of compassion, courage, patience and commitment.
Older activists and social justice advocates who have spent years inthis work tend to give the same advice: “The first thing I would say to a 16 year-old who is an activist is take care of yourself. If you are in it for the long haul, then take care of your emotions, take care of your mind, take care of your body. Reflect on your own judgments and your own biases, and let go of them. And keep being open to serve.” — Former Black Panther Ericka Huggins
The challenge is thus one of learning to sustain ourselves (along with our courage, our commitment and our energy) throughout the long arc of justice building, while also cultivating the kinds of traits and habits that make us effective activists and compassionate human beings.
How can that be done?
There are many possible approaches, of course. At UUCSJ, we firmly believe that developing a spiritual practice is one very powerful way to respond to the challenge of taking care of ourselves and sustaining ourselves for a long, healthy life of social justice work.
READ: Spiritual Practice and Social Justice
Please read the short document compiled by UUCSJ and our allies that gives a basic introduction to what a spiritual practice entails and why we do it: Spiritual Practice and Social Justice
ACT: Develop a Contemplative Practice
This week, choose a practice that may help ground your intentions and be more present in your work — then, do it! Do it with curiosity and commitment, even if just for 5 minutes.
Here are some examples you could try (check out more ideas in the Additional Resources section):
- Take a walk
- Write a letter to a friend
- Sit outside & enjoy the sunlight
- Send a sweet text to someone you care about
- Write a letter to your future self
- Go for a photo walk
- Watch or do something that makes you laugh
- Blast your favorite song (in your headphones, perhaps) and dance like nobody’s watching
- Let yourself cry
- Read poetry or inspirational quotes
- Turn off your electronics and enjoy “me” time
SHARE Your Experience
After you have chosen a spiritual practice, tell us about it. Share a short post through words, pictures, or sound (or other creative expression) about your practice: What did you choose? Why? Is this your first time doing a spiritual practice? How did it feel? Feel free to share as much or as little as appropriate.
Share via Facebook and/or in the Google Drive folder!
READ: The Legacy of Caring
Read the poem “The Legacy of Caring”
The following are some additional resources if you’d like to pursue this topic in a little more detail:
READ: Sacred Practices for Resilience and Resistance (by The Sanctuaries DC – one of our internship sites):
READ: bell hooks – Love as the Practice of Freedom — This piece is a little more academic, and is a good example of a spiritually grounded political and ethical vision based on an ethic of love and compassion.