How Daily Activism Plants The Seeds Of Change

Photo: getty
How Daily Activism Plants The Seeds Of Change

We live in extraordinary times, so I am veering today from my usual posts to address one of the deepest levels of health and healing: How you can use daily activism to live in a right relationship with self, family, community, and creator.

You may not be certain what activism means, or how you can help. And that sense of vulnerability is a good place to start. It's where you can learn how to use your actions to improve the world around you not just for you, but for everyone.

RELATED: 8 Helpful Ways To Support The Black Lives Matter Movement

I have wept almost daily for over a week. I have been remembering a comment my friend Beverly made about her son, born within a couple of months of my own twin boys, going off to college last autumn. “I just hope he’s safe,” she said.

Her words stopped me in my tracks. I realized I worry about my sons doing stupid things to themselves. At that moment I recognized Beverly, my African-American friend, was worried about other people doing stupid things to her son.

This week I am acutely aware of my unjust, unearned privilege. I don’t live with that dread every day, every hour, every minute. I haven’t had to learn to numb-out and keep moving so I can survive.

I think of all of my friends of color, and I cry with the pain of any of them losing sons, daughters, or loved ones because of other people’s stupidity. I cry because of my lack of life education in knowing how to respond.

I posted a picture on Facebook from the news, an image of guards surrounding the White House wearing black shirts with no identification. Every police force in this nation must wear identifying insignia.

These people were standing behind plexiglass shields, some marked with “police,” wearing helmets and dark glasses. Mostly white. All male.

When I posted the link on Facebook, a woman responded, “These are traitors trying to bring down the government. Do you hate the constitution? Do you hate the USA, do you hate that people can own property? Do you hate the citizens of this country who do love this country?”

I wasn’t sure if she meant the unidentified guards were the traitors, or the protestors. She did not elaborate, so I’m guessing she meant the looters and rioters, whom I consider to be a small (and destructive) fringe of the legitimate protestors.

The protestors, by the way, who are using their fundamental rights to gather in peaceful demonstrations, which is a protected constitutional right.

RELATED: 4 Ways To Talk To Your Kids About Racism, Protests & Police Brutality Against Black People

She asked powerful questions. She helped me realize the last three years have made me love this country even more. Do I hate this country? No, just the opposite.

I lived outside the United States for four years in my early 20s. I was ashamed of the United States, because I had an opportunity to see the country from a distance and to understand how other nations see the U.S. (loud, arrogant, entitled, uneducated about other cultures and languages).

I returned to the U.S. despite this global perspective, because I love the land and the people here. I was indifferent to the government.

A few years ago, I listened to a Great Courses program called “Lincoln in His Own Words” about the development of Abraham Lincoln’s philosophy over his lifetime through the lens of his political speeches.

That course helped me understand the depth of the people who framed the Constitution and other guiding documents for this country. There was passion still alive in people in the 19th century as they grappled with these principles and doctrines. They asked if they were living in a way the founders of the country intended.

I realized what an extraordinary visionary leap the framers of the government made with the structure of governance.

I have been profoundly pained to see the foundations crumbling as the administration abolishes the separation of church and state; the sanctity of the three branches of government for checks and balances of power; and the accountability of the leadership to the people, the electorate.

The framers of the constitution envisioned the president as a servant of the people, not someone who dominated and manipulated for their own and their friends’ enrichment.

Born of the Age of Enlightenment, the founders foresaw U.S. leaders who encouraged the recognition of human worth globally, rather than supporting petty dictators who sought to bleed the life and resources out of their people.

The forefathers envisioned a very different future and very different leadership than we are experiencing now.

Were they perfect? No. They were planting seeds.

So, what can you do now? Plant seeds for the world you want to live in — practice activism born of decency, of kindness, of regard for life in all forms, human and other-than-human.

This “daily activism" can make your actions an expression of the world you want to live in, rather than a fight against what you want to go away.

I am far from perfect. I lurch forward, stumble, fall, and get up again. In the process, I’m gaining clarity about the kind of world I want to live in, and the type of seeds I choose to plant.

Will you join me in the garden? There’s lots of room here, “in a field outside of right-doing and wrong-doing,” as Rumi would say, lots of space to cultivate a landscape that includes many visions, many people, many ways of doing and being.

Please bring your dreams, your desires, your tears, your anger, your outrage, and your outrageous creativity. The soil will take them all in and make sweet fruit of them.

RELATED: The One Thing I Need My White Friends To Do If They Want To Be Antiracist Allies To Black People

Dr. Judith Boice is a naturopathic physician, acupuncturist, assistant professor of aromatherapy, international best-selling author, and award-winning author and teacher. Deepen your knowledge of essential oils with Dr. Boice's free report, "Seven Myths About Essential Oils."

This article was originally published at Dr. Judith Boice. Reprinted with permission from the author.