For all my activist, organizer, social justice warrior, touched-by-the-pain-in-the-world type Beloveds out there:
The air feels heavy today. So many agonizing headlines and painful hashtags it’s hard at times not to just scroll and spiral.
You will be tempted to just put your head down and work. You will be tempted to survive on coffee and rage. You might start to see your morning exercise as a luxury and spend that time writing or meeting with folks instead. You will take someone down when they mouth off on a Facebook comment (and it might feel good). You will feel the urgency of the moment and want to work instead of make dinner or take the teenagers to the pool. (Or maybe I’m just talking to myself here…that’s cool.)
Recently, a young Black, faith-rooted activist and pastor and community leader dropped dead unexpectedly at 33 years old. I did not know him, but I know others who did and they, as well as his family, have been devastated by his loss. I don’t play the “blame him for not doing more self-care” game, so don’t hear this as blaming him for his death—this isn’t a call to eat more vegetables and do more yoga or take more Sabbath time. All of those things are good, and let’s do those things too—but what I want you to hear in this moment is that systems of oppression are operating at full throttle to take us out one way or another—disease, stress-induced trauma, violence—and it’s okay, it’s actually revolutionary, to resist those systems by loving yourself, loving your people and living your life. It’s okay to eat breakfast and cry and watch something on Hulu. Pace yourself. Each generation has its own work to do.
…systems of oppression are operating at full throttle to take us out one way or another—disease, stress-induced trauma, violence—and it’s okay, it’s actually revolutionary, to resist those systems by loving yourself, loving your people and living your life.
Take care of yourself, Beloveds.
You are the engine that powers this resistance…this revolution. Nah. Scratch that, you are the POWER and HEART and SOUL of the revolution—this birthing of more love, justice and shalom into the world. Without you, it dies. We die. We can only birth a new world if we can live in it together.
I have a post-it note up on my bathroom mirror that says: I give myself permission to be human, take risks, love.
When I looked up at it today, it spoke to me in a different way. Before, it was about giving myself permission to make mistakes, to be imperfect and to give myself over fully to loving others.
Today it reminded me that being human..taking risks…and loving in the midst of all this is the inside of the revolution. My everyday healing and resilience building IS as much the work as the meetings and writing and training are. I refuse to be a machine—not even for justice. Real justice has room for people who are human, take risks and love.
I refuse to be a machine—not even for justice.
Even in the midst of violence, tragedy and lots and lots of work to be done…even in the midst of vigils and marches to plan, congressmen to call, stories to be written, actions to be taken, tweets to be sent and campaigns to be carried out…
You have permission.
Give yourself permission to:
Eat something that tastes good and makes you feels good.
Do something pleasurable.
Take care of yourself, Beloveds.
Love from your Justice Doula,
Micky ScottBey Jones—the Justice Doula—is a womanist contemplative activist, healer, nonviolent direct action organizer and consultant who facilitates conferences, workshops, pilgrimages, retreats and online conversations. She writes and speaks on a variety of topics including healing justice, communal self-care, contemplative activism, intersectionality and theology from the margins. Micky has an M.A. in Intercultural Studies and is an Associate Fellow of Racial Justice with Christians for Social Action. She is the Director of Healing Justice at Faith Matters Network based in Nashville, TN. Micky was named one of the Black Christian leaders changing the world in Huffington Post. You can interact with her work and collaborations on her website, where this post originally appeared.