Lately I’ve been writing ten ideas down each morning as a daily exercise. Each day I choose a theme for these ideas to help me focus. One day the theme might be 10 ways to improve publicity for Black Ocean; another day the theme might be 10 features I want in a dream home. Today I wrote down 10 relatively small things I can do during the Trump presidency to help alleviate suffering and make the world a better place. You’ll notice that there is an emphasis on taking care of oneself, the importance of which I’ve learned during two decades of activism, volunteer work, and social enterprise. Outrage may get you off your couch and into the streets but compassion and care will get you through the next 4 years. Social change isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. I’ll see you out there.
Get involved with an organization that actively seeks to help others, which also feels exciting to be involved in (for me, this is The Awesome Foundation). If I can’t get excited by the work, then I won’t do the work.
Perform a daily kindness for a stranger — preferably one most adversely affected by the ugliest elements of Trump’s platform, meaning: people of color, immigrants, jews, muslims, people who identify as queer or non-binary, and women. Generosity and kindness is a powerful antidote for hatred and pain, and simply offering someone my seat on a train ennobles my world.
Perform a daily act of care for a loved one. My family — chosen or biological — is my center. When I take care of them I make myself stronger.
Perform a daily act of self-care that is relaxing. Work is tiring and rest is important. Eat comfort foods when I need them; allow myself to veg out or take a break; self-medicate if I can do so in moderation; don’t feel guilty about guilty pleasures when I’m also devoting myself to do good in the world.
Perform a daily act of self-care that is generative. Every day I try to read for 45 minutes, get at least 30 minutes of exercise, and meditate for 15 minutes. Doing this improves my emotional state, makes me feel calm, and provides a sense of fulfilment on mental, physical, and spiritual levels. Creative acts also make me feel this way, as does simply going for a long walk without purpose or destination. Here and here are some other great ideas.
Be engaged with local politics and be vocal with your support of progressive local representatives; they need to feel my appreciation and enthusiasm during their long fight.
Engage with people on social media less, and more in person.
Ask friends who are working for progressive organizations how I can help them — either personally through an act of care, or with professional / volunteer assistance. Then perform that help.
Be vigilant of suffering, and offer without ego what is asked for in order to relieve that suffering. But also work to separate suffering from fear. Fear is a form of suffering generated by the anticipation of suffering, and often just leads to more suffering. Fear is the mind killer.
When I become angry, take a break until anger is replaced by compassion. Anger is how we got here.