Entries organized under Activism

21 Things To Know About Depression

June 12, 2018

21 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT DEPRESSION. plus get a free mini-book on self-care and self-advocacy for difficult times! >> www.christytending.com

 

I’ve been thinking about Anthony Bourdain all weekend.

I’ve been thinking about slurping noodles on plastic stools in Vietnam and standing on the Charles Bridge in Prague at dawn; about what it means to love and live fully. His death has affected me unexpectedly deeply, and I’m so sad that he’s gone.

On the surface, we had very little in common, he and I. But as a fast-talking East Coaster with a love of travel and a skepticism of anything mainstream or authoritarian, I felt like we’d be kindred spirits. His writings and shows have influenced my travel for more than a decade. He dared me to go beyond my comfort zone and imagination.

I have also, for a good chunk of my life, struggled with depression.

I don’t say this for sympathy, but to bring the truth into the light. My hope is that my experience will help you feel less alone.

I want to talk about this today, even though it is uncomfortable and even though there may be an avalanche of unsubscribes.

Here’s what I want you to know:

  1. ​I have depression. My life doesn’t suck. I’m not sad because something specifically sad happened. I seemingly have everything and I still have depression.
  2. It is my actual job to teach people about self-care and healing and spiritual practice and I still have depression. This is my life’s work, and I still struggle.
  3. Depression has nothing to do with not trying hard enough.

  4. It’s not a matter of needing to meditate or to do yoga or to eat right or get more fresh air. It has nothing to do with trying hard – especially not based on other people’s standards of “trying hard”. It’s a matter of what is happening in the brain.
  5. External circumstances or “knowing better” won’t necessarily fix depression. Yes, getting a good night sleep helps. But my depression doesn’t vanish just because things are going well in my external life.
  6. I feel angry sometimes because I know that my depression is robbing me of joy and my ability to be present for moments of exquisite awesomeness because my brain is lying to me. Knowing that I’m not able to fully appreciate things makes me sad and it makes me angry. Knowing that I self-sabotage or push people away hurts.
  7. I also feel afraid sometimes because mental healthy is so stigmatized, still. There are more open conversations than ever. But I am still afraid because I worry that people will judge me or that they will think that I’m an unfit parent or that they’ll think I’m a fraud.
  8. This is what depression does. It creates elaborate illusions of isolation and separation.
  9. Because depression is an evil fucking liar.

  10. Going to my general practitioner to ask for anti-depressants was one of the weirdest, bravest, scariest things I’ve ever done.
  11. The conversation went something like this:

    Me: “Hi. I have been depressed for a long time. I see a therapist, I meditate, I do great self-care, and I’ve tried everything and nothing is helping. I want to pursue anti-depressants as an additional method of treating this.”
    My doctor: “Okay. Let’s take a look at what your options are.”

  12. Just like that. She helped. And the Zoloft has helped. It’s not perfect, but it’s better.
  13. It was totally nerve-wracking and I felt so much better instantly simply by telling someone I needed help and having them listen and help me to make a plan.
  14. Hotlines are wonderful. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is: 1-800-273-8255
  15. Reaching out to your friends is even more wonderful (but not the way you might think).
  16. Don’t wait for your friends who you think might be having a tough time to say something. 

    They may not be able to. Check in on them. Tell them you’re thinking of them. Invite yourself over. Let them know you are. Your friends with depression might not be able to reach out to you first.

  17. Just because I have depression doesn’t mean that I don’t have something valuable to say or contribute. It doesn’t define me. And if you have depression (or anything similar going on), it doesn’t define you either.
  18. In fact, I think we are often the canaries in the coal mine. We are often the ones who are most sensitive to the ways that our world is sick and hurting.
  19. What I really, really want you to know is that you are a brave person who is capable of hard things. If you woke up this morning, you’re doing great. If you got out of bed, you are slaying it. If you are breathing, you are winning.
  20. We need to change the conversation. We need to change the systems that make depression so rampant: capitalism, sexism, white supremacy, et. al. And we need to make sure that everyone has access to the mental health care they need.
  21. I have depression, and I believe that another world is possible. I plan to keep fighting for it.

If you’ve read this far (bless you!), here is your invitation: I’ve written a new manifesto about Self-Advocacy. This is about what it means to take a stand for ourselves in the world, as we are right now. It’s free. You can download it here.

“Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin,
but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” —​ Harper Lee

I love you so much.
Christy

Download the Manifesto!

Do Less. Make a Bigger Impact.

September 5, 2017

Grab your seat for this month’s free workshop: Stop Doing Shit You Hate (and make space for what matters) – it’s happening September 12th at noon Pacific.

You don't have to do it all to have a major impact. Do less to make a bigger impact (and avoid burnout in the process). Sign up for the free self-care workshop here! -- www.christytending.com

How often have you felt the pressure (internal or external) to DO ALL THE THINGS?

(Honesty? I totally have. And I used to run myself ragged trying to meet those incredibly unrealistic expectations.)

In my experience, there are two parts to the burnout equation: doing too much and having too few resources.

When we spread ourselves too thin, we end up exhausting ourselves. Which means that the areas of our lives that matter most? They don’t get the best of our resources.

Which means that were less effective. Which means that things feel kind of ​blah​, instead of lit-up.

Oh, and we probably feel like crap.

The secret to being an amazing healer, change-maker or creative human being? You say no a lot. You do less.

It sounds counter-intuitive, but when you operate in your zone of genius and bring your full brilliance to bear in fewer areas, you make a bigger impact.

For years, I spent my time doing the opposite.

I was a dabbler. I did a little bit of everything, but I didn’t do anything particularly well.

Over the last few years, I’ve stopped chasing shiny objects and started focusing deeply on only 3-5 areas of my life at a time.

Right now? I’m focused on building a values-based business, being a great mom, tending my awesome marriage, and nurturing a home that nurtures me back.

That’s it. Sure, I’ve got other things going on, but that’s my focus. That is definitely not ALL THE THINGS–and that’s okay.

When I allow myself to do less, I’m less susceptible to the pressure to do it all.

It means that I’m able to follow through on what I set out to do. My impact can be greater, and at the end of the day, I’ll feel better. To me, that’s integrity–and it’s the hallmark of a sacred life.

With care,
Christy

PS: Want to stop doing shit you hate? Want to do less and make a bigger impact? Grab your seat for my free workshop next week!

What is Enough?

August 22, 2017

Ever feel like you work your ass off all day and it’s never enough? Read on. This one’s for you.

What is enough? You don't have to do it all. Instead, create awesome boundaries to avoid burnout. Sign up for the free self-care course here! >> www.christytending.com

Light Up

A free tiny little self-care class for spirited beings who want to
create a life that's sacred lush and fierce.

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“Even if I work for 40, 50, 60, even 70 hours a week, there’s always more to do. I never feel like I’ve done enough.”

That statement you just read? It’s something I used to say to myself all the time.

The constant refrain of “never enough” echoed through my mind. It’s the first thing I’d say to myself every morning. It’s the last thing I’d think to myself every night.

It didn’t matter if I spent every single moment of my day working. Often, I’d still go to bed feeling disappointed in myself.

Even when my colleagues and I experienced a big victory, rather than pause to celebrate, I’d move quickly onto the next task. There was always something else.

Does that resonate? Are you stuck on the “never enough” hamster wheel, too? If so, here’s a question to consider:

What does “enough” mean for you?

Can you define “enough” in a sentence or two? (Be specific.) Can you describe how “enough” feels in your body?

So many people chase this elusive feeling of “enough.” We feel like we’ve never gotten “there.” And yet many of us don’t even know what we’re chasing, exactly.

Here’s how I currently define “enough”:

At the moment, my self-care looks like a hot shower, drinking plenty of water, and occasional yoga and walking. I read a poem every day. Right now, that’s enough. (Because even self-care can trap us in “never enough” if we let it.)

For me, those are realistic, feasible numbers.

For you, the numbers (and projects, and priorities) might be very different.

But for me, in this chapter of my life, those numbers feel like “enough.”

If I suddenly find myself worrying, “But should I do more…?” I can interrupt those thoughts and remind myself, “I did what I intended to do. And that’s enough.”

My definition of “enough” doesn’t have to be rigid. It can bend and flex.

I give myself the space and flexibility to adjust any/all of those numbers as needed, because I’m a human being, not a robot. Some months I have more bandwidth than others.

So, what does “enough” mean for you—at least, for right now? What does it look like? What does it feel like? Write it down.

If you notice yourself writing lofty and vague goals, consider re-wording that statement to make it more feasible and specific. End each statement with, “That’s enough.”

The work of caring and compassion is limitless. Our human lives are not.

Yes, there is great work to be done. But not all of it can or will be done today. More than anything, we need you for the long haul. Which means doing “enough” and doing it well.

That’s why it’s crucial to place boundaries around our time, and to be compassionate with ourselves about what “doing enough” means. (Instead of trying to “do it all” and half-ass-ing it.)

Look:

Urgency is not an invitation to burnout.

Breaking news does not automatically expand our capacity. Difficult times are really an invitation to go deeper with our practice and to fulfill our purpose with greater love and attention.

There has never been a more important time to bring love to both our work and ourselves. This starts with defining “enough.”

Once you’ve arrived in that place, there’s no need to strive for more. You’ve done your piece, wholeheartedly. And truly, that is plenty.

Light Up

A free tiny little self-care class for spirited beings who want to
create a life that's sacred lush and fierce.

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Resilience Practice: Strength for a Stressful World

July 7, 2017

I believe, more than ever, that the world needs people who are deeply committed to building a more compassionate world.

But what do we do when the world breaks our hearts? When it all feels like too much? We practice not just healing, but resilience.

Resilience practice gives us the strength to face a stressful, uncertain world. Learn how to cultivate it and watch the video workshop here! >> www.christytending.com

Whether you’re facing that desire to create transformation and compassion on a global, macro level or on an individual, micro level, the answer is the same. In order to survive a world that sometimes breaks our hearts, the antidote is resilience.

To bend, rather than break. To weather the storm by planting our roots deep.

It is possible to face uncertainty, fear, and grief with full-heartedness.

Resilience practice helps us to do just that.

Burnout is borne of the individual and collective trauma of being told that we are not enough. It is ingrained from us early, and informs the way we approach every type of change-making and healing work.

I’ve felt burned out too many times to count.

Each time, it was because I was following those fear narratives, rather than the nourishment I knew I needed. Looking back, I can see the places where I ignored my heart and intuition in favor of striving to prove those narratives of not-worthy-enough wrong.

What I know now is that the world needs us at our very best. And that we are more creative, effective, and wholehearted in our missions when we are combining skillful action with wholeheartedness.

Cultivating resilience is not only how we model a more compassionate world, but how we build it.

Resilience Practice is a lush, immersive revolt against narratives of not-enough-ness.

You aren’t alone. And you can build a vibrant self-care practice to see you through the darkest moments.

 

Resilience Practice is now one of my Signature Workshops!

About Resilience Practice:

Inside the workshop, we’ll:

  • Uncover narratives that keep us afraid of our power, and how to flip the script.
  • Cultivate practices to support all dimensions of ourselves and our self-care.
  • Hone our intuition in order to take skillful, wholehearted action.

Included in your workshop tuition:

  • Link to the video workshop
  • Forever-access to the workshop recording (as both audio and video).
  • PDF copy of my workshop slides
  • Workbook to fill in during our workshop

Join me for Resilience Practice.

Investment: $15

Watch the workshop!

On generosity (aka: *all* the free self-care resources)

May 23, 2017

I wrote a while back about what dana (generosity in the Pali language) means to me.

For me, it’s an essential ingredient to the work that I do. It’s an intrinsic part of how I do business, conduct my relationships, and offer service in the world. Without the spirit of generosity, our burnout is assured.

When we move from a place of giving wholeheartedly, we can offer ourselves in a way that is well-boundaried, yet completely enthusiastic.

On generosity (aka: *all* the free self-care resources). Explore the Free Resource Garden, a treasure trove of workbooks, audio practices, video workshops, and other goodies to empower you and help you feel more embodied in your self-care. >> www.christytending.com

 

That’s where the magic happens – and part of how we avoid burnout.

Today, I want to take a little time to walk you through my Free Resource Garden, a totally-free collection of self-care resources designed to empower, inspire and nourish you.

 

Browse the free self-care resource garden for workbooks, journals, planners, practice guides and more >> www.christytending.com

 

In case you haven’t strolled through the garden recently, here’s what’s there,
to help you bloom:

Planners and checklists

The Retreat Planner & Checklist shows you, step-by-step, how to create your own self-care retreat.

The Real Self-Care Planner has been downloaded 2,000+ times and used by people all over the world. Inside, create a practice from scratch, no matter how busy you are.

Workbooks

My workbooks, Crafting Your Life, Care for Every Moment, and Setting Intention, are all designed to help you make your self-care truly custom.

Listen

Enjoy mp3s to feel more embodied and empowered through breath and meditation.

There’s also a Spotify playlist, with some of my favorite music – my go-to playlist for unwinding at the end of the day or while I’m making dinner.

Read

The Liberatory Self-Care Manifesto was my first articulation of what I think self-care should be: custom, intuitive, feasible. There’s also a meditation toolkit, walking you through how to get started with a practice that feels engaged and compassionate.

*New*: video workshops, on demand

Since I’m taking a break from teaching my live workshops this summer, I’ve put some of my favorites inside the garden for you to enjoy on-demand.

You’ll now find videos for Introduction to Awesome Self-Care and Meditation for Self-Care, each about an hour long, inside the garden.

Other inspiring goodies

There are community practices, desktop wallpapers, and resource guides – plus more coming soon! These resources include the actual, real-life things that I’m reading, watching, listening to, loving, and feeling inspired by in my own practice.

The Free Resource Garden beckons you.

This is how I incorporate generosity into my work: by giving away as much as possible for free. By delivering value and a clear sense of what it’s like to work with me – before you pay a dime.

This is part what justice looks like in my work. These resources are available to all.

Of course, this work is also how I support my family. But I always begin with this:

How can I give as generously as possible? What does wholehearted giving look like?

I move into the world from the answers that come. And I’ll say: it feels pretty good.

Browse the free self-care resource garden for workbooks, journals, planners, practice guides and more >> www.christytending.com

Joy is an act of insurrection

February 6, 2017

“Joy doesn’t betray but sustains activism. And when you face a politics that aspires to make you fearful, alienated and isolated, joy is a fine initial act of insurrection.” – Rebecca Solnit

Joy is an act of insurrection. Joy is a gift, and embracing that joy can be an act of outright defiance and resistance. Get your free workbook inside! >> www.christytending.com

 

As I’ve heard from students all over the world, it is a difficult task to be joyful in the face of deep, collective, global distress, injustice, fear, and sorrow. Guilt surrounds any mention of things going well. But I want to issue us a challenge: do not give up on joy. Do not become so hardened and cynical that you are robbed of life’s beauty.

We may need to look for beauty in new places these days.

But it is there.

It is in the creative protest signs, the music we make in the streets, and the babies marching (or being rolled by) their parents, who are so brave in their hope of creating a more compassionate world. We find it in the cheers from the crowds when detainees are released, because we can taste what it will feel like when all cages everywhere are empty.

Joy reveals itself, unwittingly, in the potlucks and the hugs and the tender tone in which we ask each other, “How are you, really, sweetheart?”

That kind of beauty remains.

In fact, embracing that joy can be an act of outright defiance and resistance.

Those who would seek to oppress others want to create suffering. Yes, suffering is a natural part of life. But we do not need to succumb, necessarily. We can dance and sing and be unapologetically ourselves. In the face of a government that would seek to make those selves “less than” – to hold ourselves up in our beauty and our joy is a wildly optimistic, rebellious act.

In that spirit, we reclaim our worth as something which originates inside of us, rather than something others define for us. I saw a t-shirt the other day that said:

“WE’RE ONLY GOING TO GET BROWNER AND QUEERER AND WITCHIER AND LOUDER AND STRONGER AND PROUDER”

And I thought, yes!  We are only going to become more and more unapologetically, exuberantly ourselves in the face of repression. That is joy as insurrection, self-love as a tool of political resistance.

Joy imagines the world in which we want to live.

In Sacred Focus, I talk a lot about creating more of what you want, and less of what you don’t. Little by little, taking baby steps in the direction of what feels sacred to us. Joy does this on a subliminal level. It lights the way for us to create a new world.

Instead of only focusing on what we don’t want (which is important, too, but not the point of this post), we can take a more proactive approach. We can start building the world we want to live in by following where joy points us. It is a pre-figurative tool to create new models and a new world in which all people and beings are honored for who they are.

What brings you joy and comfort in these times?

Dare to do more of that.

Quite frankly, joy is a big “Fuck you” to those who would keep us small and afraid.

And it keeps us connected to one another – something else the powers that be would rather not happen. It facilitates and strengthens connection and the remembrance of interconnection. It lets us experience our small wins, rather than falling into despair and defeat.

Exuberant joy is, at its heart, a refusal to be small or silent or subdued.

In the dark times, joy is a gift to others.

Shortly after I got engaged, there was a sudden and great loss in a community to which I belong. It was heart-breaking and anything joyful felt sacrilegious. And yet. My sweetie and I had our engagement party anyway.

When it came time for toasts, a friend stood and thanked us for, among other things, giving the community something (anything!) positive to celebrate. She said that things had been really hard, but that our event proved that there are silver linings. That life, in some form, goes on. That new beginnings follow difficult endings.

So: do not be afraid to show your joy. Yes, rise up and resist, however that looks for you. But don’t be afraid to celebrate the small victories, the little milestones, and the small glimmers of hope.

 

 

 

Lovingkindness: an antidote in times of hate

January 30, 2017

I write about lovingkindness a lot. I’ve come to understand that such an interest and investment of practice in metta is unusual. What I also know is that it is a balm for my heart. It has never been more necessary than in the face of a new form of hatred and fear that is pervasive in my country’s culture and government at the moment.

Truly, lovingkindness is an antidote to not only times in which hatred seems to be swirling around us, but to the fear and uncertainty that arises from that kind of attitude and atmosphere.

Lovingkindness meditation is a sweet and simple practice. It is also an incredible antidote to fear, hatred and uncertainty. Plus get your free meditation toolkit inside! >> www.christytending.com

I’ve written before about what lovingkindness is.

And about how it can serve world-changing people in particular.

But, in recent months, it has served a very specific purpose for my heart. It helps me remember that I am interconnected with all other beings on this planet. It reminds me that I am not alone. When practicing, I experience a deep experience of my own preciousness.

Lovingkindness has been an antidote to every message I receive that I am unwelcome, unworthy, or less-than.

One of my teachers makes an amendment to the Metta Sutta (an original text which describes the practice of Metta Bhavana (lovingkindness meditation).

The line reads, “excluding none,” to which my teach adds, “including yourself, maybe especially.”

This is the beauty of metta: we begin with ourselves. We start with our own hearts. Like dropping a stone into a pond, and watching the tiny waves ripple outward, we begin exactly where we are.

In the Udana, in the Pali canon, we see the words:

“Searching all directions
with one’s awareness,
one finds no one dearer
than oneself.”

This is the heart of metta: a direct experiencing of our own worth and exquisite dearness.

The Lovingkindness Toolkit: because meditation can feel kind, compassionate and revolutionary. Download the free mini-toolkit to begin your practice today! >> www.christytending.com

But it points to something else: that we all are truly worth of this kind of affection. That we are united by our desire to feel loved. Each of us wants to feel safe and happy and at peace.

Practicing lovingkindness allows us to access and tap into this shared human experience. It dissolves the barriers of our hearts. By repeating the phrases of blessings in lovingkindness practice, we experience how alike we all truly are.

We’re not alike in some kumbaya-spiritual-bypass sort of way, either.

We are truly, inextricably linked with all of humanity. And if that is the case, isn’t the natural solution to offer love to everyone you meet? To work toward the liberation of all beings?

This means we have the power to act, to make change, to stand in love for all.

We have the capacity, no matter how far from one another, to offer these simple blessings for all beings everywhere. The current phrases I’m working with look something like this:

May you feel safe
May you feel joyful
May you feel courageous
May you live with ease

We repeat those phrases over and over in our lovingkindness practice. Offering them to ourselves, to our beloveds, and finally to all beings everywhere.

Then (and this is the key) endowed with that kind of fierce love, we move out into the world and act. With wisdom, with compassion, we take skillful action on behalf of our collective liberation.

This is the antidote to fear, hatred and separation.

 

Related:

The Lovingkindness Toolkit: because meditation can feel kind, compassionate and revolutionary. Download the free mini-toolkit to begin your practice today! >> www.christytending.com

Grow Where You’re Planted.

January 19, 2017

Grow where you're planted. >> www.christytending.com

 

Despite early attempts, I have had a difficult time articulating my own post-election strategy. I’ve been taking good care of myself, tending my heart where I need to. I’ve been connecting with people I respect about what comes next (on a broader level). If nothing else, this time, politically, has been an excellent one in which to refine What Truly Matters to Me.

But what does that look like in real life?

How would I articulate my strategy, personally, for how I’m moving forward?

(I am making the assumption, here, that you, like me, are interested in taking skillful and compassionate action in this time.)

In the days after the election, I noticed, very keenly, my own reactivity.

I’ve been struggling to my out my post-election strategy into words. It’s not “more of the same” or “keep doing what I’m doing.” Not is it (as was the temptation in the days following): “run around and try to put out all the fires with my bare hands.”

I know that I am lucky, on so many levels.

I am blessed by thoughtful community and years of deep practice.

(In addition to the inordinate amount of privilege I enjoy in this lifetime.)

Walking through the green hills of West Marin County last week on my meditation retreat, I was subconsciously mulling all of this over. Wisdom, compassion, skillful action, living into my values.

Sitting and then walking, followed by more sitting.

And finally, a small voice came to me:

 

“Grow where you are planted.”

 

This is not about more of the same. But not is it about abandoning the commitments I’ve made, the relationships I hold dear, or the spot where I’ve chosen to rise up in this lifetime. (A space I’ve more or less occupied for 10+ years.)

 

It’s time for us to grow.

Which is often uncomfortable, uneasy. But we can grow where we have planted ourselves. We can remain steadfast in what we have already chosen, and then dare to go deeper there.

It will not be entirely blissful. But that is what we are being called to do right now. In whatever way speaks to us, it is time for us to grow.

 

May we all be free.

 

* This series of mini-blogs is a new experiment. I’ll be sharing more bite-sized blog and personal reflections – not as advice, mentorship or counsel, but on how the themes I cover here are reflected in my own life.

Trust: my word for 2017

December 21, 2016

I love choosing a word for the year.

Last year, I wrote about the word Fly as my word of the year. Since then, I’ve taken it to heart. Taking flight. Feathering my nest. Allowing myself to soar: to create, to take on new leadership roles, and to step into the unknown.

This year, I’ve chosen a new word. It’s one that meets my heart where it is now, and creates space for what I wish for the year to come.

This year, I choose Trust.

Allowing myself to trust – and more about my word for the year. Click here for free self-care resources! >> www.christytending.com

When this word popped into my head, it was out of necessity. It was out of a deep craving for something solid and true and steadfast. Here’s how I’m calling trust into my life this upcoming year:

To trust in myself:

In this coming year, I choose to trust myself. I place an active faith in myself and my ability to step into all of the roles I’ll inhabit. In 2017, I’ll be taking on some grand new challenges. My trust is not that everything will go smoothly, or that I will be perfect.

Instead, I trust myself to keep my word, stay compassionate, and do my best. That’s all any of us can do really. I choose to remember that I, myself, am a safe space and a good ally in my own healing and life.

To trust my wisdom and knowing:

After nearly 15 years of practicing yoga and meditation, and after devoting myself to self-care now for 10 years, I have some wisdom. I am a wise caretaker for my own body and being. In the coming year, I commit to believing myself and in that wisdom.

My boundaries are sacred, because I know myself well enough to set skillful ones. My needs are not selfish, but the wise and incredibly human longing for connection and healing. None of this is arbitrary. It comes from my hard-won experience and the sincere wisdom of being my own best expert.

To be trustworthy:

Much of what I’ve said so far relates to how I will choose to trust.

But a big piece of this commitment is that I want to be trustworthy in return.

I choose to speak kindly. My word will be my bond. I will show up in a spirit of service and generosity. More than anything, I want to be someone on whom others can rely. I want to provide a safe space, through my presence, for the beings in my life.

This year, I will be a force for fierce compassion and for trustworthiness.

Browse the free self-care resource garden for workbooks, journals, planners, practice guides and more >> www.christytending.com

 

To trust the process:

Nothing is ever final. There is no “done,” really.

I choose to trust the ellipsis of life and to be present with that which is unfinished.

Life is a process.

We are all works in progress.

I choose to trust that and be present with that, rather than shrinking from it or trying to cover it over.

To walk into the unknown in courage:

By choosing trust, I step into the flow of life willingly. There is much that is unknown. In these turbulent times, and in my own life. None of us can see around corners. Rather than hiding from it or trying to armor myself against it, I choose it.

I trust that I am safe and loved and held. Courage will be my cloak as I step into this new phase of life, as a healer, as an activist, and as a human.

To experience grace:

None of us is ever alone.

I have a remarkable community and family of beings surrounding me. Sometimes, it can be difficult to surrender and to experience the immensity of that. Being loved requires vulnerability. This year, I choose to allow myself to be loved, held, and supported – to experience grace – with a sense of trust.

This is mercy. It is interconnection. This experience is why we are here.

For me, trust is the choice to step into an experience of my own power.

Browse the free self-care resource garden for workbooks, journals, planners, practice guides and more >> www.christytending.com

Isabella Zizi: Collective Care Interview Series

December 16, 2016

Collective Care is a written interview series with people who are changing the world. Most often, these folks are working at the intersection of creative, healing, and/or activist work.

I’m in love with the idea of amplifying the work (and self-care practices) of people who are building a more compassionate world. In this series, I get to chat with people who inspire me like whoa.

Today we get to meet Isabella Zizi!

Isabella Zizi of Idle No More (SF Bay) on listening to elders, sticking to her roots, and speaking from the heart. Read the Collective Care interview! >> www.christytending.com

I met Isabella through local climate justice work, and our organizations frequently partner together. She manages to be delightfully positive and incredibly powerful, all in the same moment. She is an incredible leader and it is an honor to organize alongside her in the spirit of climate justice, Indigenous sovereignty, and a livable future for all beings.

Isabella, take it away…

How are you changing the world?

(What is your change-making, healing, and/or creative work? This might be paid, unpaid or a combination.)

I have been giving the instructions and opportunity to use my voice, and to speak from my heart what is most important for me and that is to make sure that the human race steps away from the fossil fuel industry and starts to focus more on natural resources that Mother Earth has to offer us.

As a young indigenous woman in today’s society I understand the importance for sticking to my cultural roots and helping others understand the importance of respecting all indigenous rights and listening to those who feel a closer connection to Mother Earth and make sure that our future generations can live in a way where we have clean air, water and soil.

What challenges your heart in that journey?

The challenges I face are the big corporations and people of power in offices who simply deny climate change and only focus on the profit they make off of these industries.

We need to help shift their minds to understand life is not about the money it is about living, breathing, and appreciating the only earth and the only life that we have to offer and to use it to the best of our ability in a respectful and meaningful way.

What inspires you to keep going?

The children, the unborn, and those who cannot speak up for themselves (plants, animals, air, etc) it has became my duty to make sure that I speak up for our younger generation.

I help those who seem like they have lost all hope in humanity, to understand we have not yet given up, we will continue to be resilient as our ancestors did to make sure we are heard, who that we can live free, and we can continue this beautiful journey and pass it on to the next generation.

How do you support yourself or tend to yourself and your heart in that process?

What nourishes and replenishes you?

I understand that I am only capable of doing so much, and what helps tend myself is simply rest. Health is always top priority. If I feel stressed or anxiety, I simply disconnect from organizing and focus on my mind body and spirit.

Whether it is meditating or simply escaping for a few days away from the city, my mind is not distracted from the continuous work that is needed to be done, it is a time to focus on myself.

How do you experience care within community?

How do others support you in your journey and practice?

In my indigenous community, it is very uplifting and encouraging hearing from the elders. I appreciate all of the stories they share, the different life experiences they had to face, and the dedication in their hearts. I always look up to the elders for advice and knowledge because they have already been through it, and I feel it is so important to keep that intergenerational connection strong.

What’s your best piece of advice you have for people who want to make a difference?

Continue to be respectful and mindful for cultures, religions, and practices. The best advice I can give is speak and act from your heart. Do it with love and continue to share the love with the work that you are involved in.

Paint us a picture of the more compassionate world and future you imagine.

I imagine a world without the fossil fuel industry.I imagine the children, the mothers, and friends playing in the clean waters, digging in the soil harvesting everything that they grew, and everything having an even balance.

I imagine that people only see from what’s inside. I imagine that we as people can live without a government or a system telling us how we need to live our lives, as we are able to come together in agreement of peace, love, acceptance, and respect for one another, the land, our waters, and ourselves.

About Isabella:

Isabella Zizi is 22 years old, Northern Cheyenne Arikara (Uh-rick-uh-raw) and Muskogee Creek, and lives in Richmond California. She is a member of Idle No More SF Bay, and has helped organize many actions including refinery healing walks, supporting local indigenous rights, and support for Standing Rock in the Bay Area. She is also youth director for Earth Guardians Bay Area, which encourages youth to take on leadership roles within their community and to get involved and educated around environmental and social justice issues.

How to connect:

Idle No More SF Bay Facebook: Idlenomoresfbay.org
Earth guardians Bay Area Facebook: Earthguardians.org

More about Isabella’s work:

https://www.facebook.com/MenomanSound/videos/10207993704944856/
https://www.facebook.com/INMSolidaritySF/posts/1423233481055305
https://kpfa.org/player/?audio=246691

Related:

You can find all of the Collective Care interviews right here!

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