By: Janette Dalgliesh – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
There’s been a heated debate in LOA circles lately, about whether it’s necessary or desirable to participate in various kinds of activism.
I’m a fan of LOA and I practise the art of conscious creation.
I’m also a committed progressive with a long history of political activism.
Here are my top tips for how to do political change, LOA style.
1. Don’t confuse personal resistance with political resistance.
Founding father of modern psychology, Carl Jung, posited that “what you resist not only persists, but will grow in size.”
If we experience something painful or traumatic in our lives, we can either resist it or resolve it.
Resistance means pushing back against those negative experiences and feelings, so we get stuck in the hurt and trauma.
Resolution means doing the work of awareness, compassionate healing and acceptance, so we can release the pain, grow and flourish.
Political resistance is different.
It’s a courageous act of defiance, the breaking of old paradigms in order to make way for something better, more free, more fair.
American colonists engaged in political resistance, threw 342 tea chests into Boston harbour, and – a few years later – won independence for the USA.
The suffragettes engaged in political resistance and won the vote for women in many countries.
Black students engaged in political resistance when they sat in diners in Alabama, and their courage moved the civil rights movement forward another significant step.
Engaging in acts of political resistance is done from a vibration of audacity, commitment and determination to see things improve.
Political resistance is entirely consistent with a high vibration of love, because its intention is change for the better.
2. Pay attention to the voices that matter
Many of us want to leap in and help when we see systemic disadvantage against a particular group, even if we don’t belong to that group.
That’s because seeing others suffer creates immense discomfort in our own brains, thanks to our mirror neurons.
We want things to change for the better. And that’s great.
But the decision on what to do next is never solely up to us.
As a white woman, it is not for me to say what the #BlackLivesMatter movement needs from me.
As a cis-het woman, is not for me to say what the LGBTQ+ community needs from me.
My job is to educate myself by reading and listening to the voices of leadership within those communities.
Of course those communities won’t be homogenous and speak with one voice.
Rather, they will be a nuanced and rich and complex collection of voices, and it’s my job to activate curiosity and a spirit of exploration.
First I educate myself, then I ask ‘how can I help?’
Putting my own voice first is an illusion.
It says ‘only my voice matters’.
Giving the microphone to the voices of the community we want to help, even when (especially when) those voices say things that make us squirm with discomfort?
That’s the highest vibration of love and respect.
3. It’s not just about you
One of the key principles in some LOA teachings is to follow inner guidance about all things.
It’s a good plan when we’re figuring out decisions that only affect our own selves, our own lives.
But it can’t be trusted when we’re talking about activism.
I already mentioned that seeing others suffer creates immense discomfort in our own brains, thanks to our mirror neurons.
The minute we fully understand the traumatic impact of systemic racism, or any other kind of disadvantage, we feel the impacts of that pain ourselves.
In that moment, our own brain will be pushing hard for us to avoid the pain and discomfort.
In the tumult of normal, biological pain avoidance, which affects our whole physiology, it’s easy to mistake it for inner guidance.
“I must keep my vibration high, so I should not engage too deeply with this movement”
If we think that’s a reliable compass for our response to systemic racism, we might have missed something.
Our relationship with inner guidance needs to be more sophisticated.
Because it’s not just about our own lives.
When we’re looking at systemic disadvantage, we need to get the full story.
That doesn’t mean the handful of voices which soothe our discomfort and say ‘oh, it’s not that bad’ or ‘I did okay so the disadvantage cannot be real’.
It means all the difficult details – the deep anguish of compassion for suffering, and the unaddressed shame of our own privilege.
It’s up to each of us to do our own work on whatever emotional upheaval we encounter, and then activate our own highest courage.
And then we can tap into inner guidance to decide on what actions to take.
When we remember that we are each a fragment of the divine, a spark of light among a billion other sparks of light – that’s true surrender to compassion and love.
4. Sometimes the path to a happy ending is not the easy way
LOA world is fond of saying ‘just get happy’, and the benefits of positive thinking are well-documented.
There is a school of thought which says ‘a miserable journey never leads to a happy ending’.
It’s true that staying focused on what’s going wrong doesn’t help create change or great outcomes.
It’s true that we are more creative and productive when we can spend more time in peace than in stress.
But sometimes the result we want lies on the other side of deep discomfort.
Women who’ve experienced childbirth know this to be true.
So do those of us who have worked through ancient trauma to unleash our own deeper power.
When my first book came out, I was on a high for weeks, but the writing process felt like crawling across broken glass.
During World War II, members of resistance groups across countries such as France risked their lives and performed acts of guerrilla warfare to make life difficult for the occupying forces of Nazi Germany, resulting in an end to the fascist takeover of Europe in the 20th century.
For those whose lives are continually made stressful by the systemic disadvantage within which they live, ‘just getting happy’ requires a far greater expenditure of effort than it does for me.
There is something callous about saying ‘my happiness matters more than your anguish’.
And there is something utterly loving about saying ‘let me do something uncomfortable to ensure you get the same opportunities I do, without question’.
5. Silence speaks volumes
Some LOA voices are suggesting that it’s okay to be silent in the face of systemic racism.
If you were the only person whose feelings mattered in all of this, that would be fine.
The truth is, your friends and followers may well look to you for an opinion on important societal issues, especially if you have any kind of leadership role.
In his book How to be Anti-Racist, Ibram X. Kendi lays out very clearly the concept that there is no such thing as ‘not racist’.
The system within which we all live is biased to favour white people.
Every one of us grew up in that system, and we’ve never known anything else.
Therefore the default mindset for all of us is racist. Either we stay with that, or choose to do the work of becoming anti-racist.
When we stay silent, we are complicit in that system remaining. We are choosing racism. In fact, we are saying at the top of our lungs ‘I choose the status quo; I choose racism’.
Can you imagine how hurtful that might be to the Black and Indigenous friends who are doing the heavy lifting to create change, to have our silence echoing in their ears?
Only by consciously becoming anti-racist and speaking up about it can we help in the work of dismantling racism.
And speaking up for anti-racism is a courageous act of love (because not everyone will agree with you).
6. Peace and harmony might mean suppression
We’re encouraged to seek the high vibrations of love and peace and harmony.
To get there, we have to create space for the messy, rock work of truth and reconciliation – which requires us to allow the cries of anger and hurt to flow over us at full volume.
Imposing a false peace and harmony by silencing those cries would be an act of hostility towards those who have suffered and are suffering. There is nothing high vibration about that.
In fact, trying to impose peace and harmony, light and love onto other people right now?
That’s exactly the kind of resistance Carl Jung was talking about.
It’s pushing away the need for change.
It’s telling those in pain to ‘get over it already’.
It’s not kind, and it doesn’t work.
Peace and harmony require resolution.
Peace and harmony require us to collectively go through the processing and healing of those old traumas which our ancestors visited upon the world.
That’s how we get to the high vibrations of actual love for one another.
And I think that’s utterly worth the discomfort I might experience along the way.
Janette Dalgliesh has one mission in life – to wreak more joy in the world. That means no more walking through the day like a zombie, doing the job-from-hell, twisting yourself into a pretzel to suit other people, or putting off those secret dreams you’ve had since childhood for yet another year. Janette uses her unique blend of astrology and neuroscience-based coaching to help people take charge of their own lives with love, inner peace, fun and deep contentment – no matter the external circumstances. You can connect with Janette via her website, or hang out with her on Facebook.