Dear IRL community,
In the aftermath of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, I am reminded that in the midst of a global pandemic, we were already in a much longer pandemic of structural racism, inequity, and injustice. In the meantime, COVID-19 continues to disproportionately affect vulnerable and marginalized groups.
In my work supporting social justice and health equity leaders to prevent burnout, I am often asked the question, “So what does it take to be resilient?” Yes, there are quick tips and strategies. However, I am more drawn to the question of how to cultivate real-life, real-time, imperfect resilience.
For me, practicing resilience in real time has involved asking myself two sets of questions:
- What am I doing to replenish my energy? How am I caring for, resourcing, and nourishing myself?
- What am I in the process of grieving, letting go of, and releasing? What support do I need in order to do so?
It may feel impossible to think about self-care amidst a world on fire. To care for ourselves is an incredible privilege, and the systemic forces of oppression and injustice often allow some more access to this privilege than others. And, our ability to continue to show up to the work of health equity and justice is inextricably linked to our own wellbeing. In the wise words of Audre Lorde, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Finally, “self-care” does not mean I need to do it alone. Mutual giving and receiving of support is vital to our interconnectedness and collective care.
…So, how are you giving yourself permission to care for yourself this week, not as self-indulgence, but as critical to the work you are doing and will continue to do for your communities?
It has been a huge honor to accompany many of you in the cohort webinars on resilience, and through one-on-one resilience coaching. Feel free to add me to your list of people rooting you on as you continue to create much needed change*.
*(For those of you who read this and think “Yes but I’m not doing enough/not doing much right now to create change”, I recently gave this talk on guilt and compassion fatigue. I invite you to acknowledge yourself for all the ways you are showing up in this time).
May the challenges and gratitudes you face in this time deepen your commitment to create a more equitable, just, and kind world. We can only do it together.
With deep care,
Eliza Ramos is the Founder and CEO of Circles International. She is CI’s principal leadership and organizational development consultant. An award winning social entrepreneur, activist, healer, and advocate for social justice, Eliza launched CI in 2017 to begin building a movement for emotional health and wellbeing amongst leaders and organizations working toward peace and social justice. More information: https://www.circlesinternational.org