Self Care, Squatters, and Ryan Gosling

Image from:

How good are you at taking care of yourself? I don’t mean in terms of showering and flossing and paying bills and so on. I mean at taking care of your brain and your heart. The world can seem so heavy sometimes in its capacity for evil and suffering. And so you try to make it better but then there’s all this stuff to do, to know, or to fight against and it can seem to be so much that nothing will ever get done and then all of a sudden you’re burnt out with no energy to continue doing the work that you’ve been doing and the work that needs to get done. So then my question: how do you practice self care? It’s important to take stock of where you’re at, to gauge your stress and anxiety levels and take steps to be good to yourself so you can best be present in whatever movement, or activism, or school work in which you’re immersed. How can one begin to help others when they haven’t first taken care of themselves?

Too common is the idea that when things in one’s life are falling apart that the best course of action is to run mouthlong into a bottle or something like it to bury the stress/pain/frustration. And that ain’t no good. Instead, what about taking a bath with a book? Or making plans with a friend, or setting aside a portion of everyday to just sit and think? Maybe these ideas sound like garbage to you and that’s okay, but I encourage you to try and find your own ways of taking care. Or maybe the problems you’re facing aren’t going to be fixed with a bath, or a book, or a friend in which case know there’s a wealth of support to be found out in the world. For a starting point here’s a site (though there are many more) which deals with the connection between activism and trauma.

Moving on (and somewhat related), I recently read Doris Lessing’s novel The Good Terrorist and very much enjoyed it. It’s centred around a squat and this group of activists who attempt to make it livable. Lessing takes the reader into the group as they consider whether to engage in acts of political resistance many would consider terrorism. It’s a worthwhile read for the questions it raises about capitalism, about movement organizing, about privilege, and the reconciling of individual beliefs with those of a collective. As you, me, and (hopefully) everyone we know is aware, there are (and have been) numerous cases of resistance going on in the world of late. And as such, it can be an interesting exercise to use a seemingly unrelated source (like this novel) as a lens through which to consider an issue- in this case issues of how best to challenge power and control.

And then some other stuff:

Who says Feminists can’t be funny?

Who says comedians can’t be activists? Reading this pointed me toward this.

King Gregor? Whatdy’all think? Agree? Disagree?