There are a whole lot of people out there who are having outrage for breakfast.
Maybe lunch? Some save it for dinner. But in our super-connected world, many of us are noshing on outrage three times a day or more, and the stress of a couple of years of this diet is taking its toll.
Of course I'm talking about our political reality. While the news cycle has never been an unending source of joy, I think it's safe to say that there hasn't been a time, in our lifetimes, when it's been such a sustained stream of dread, shock and disappointment. And though I'll admit that I'm a pretty big fan of Schadenfreude, that's a dessert best enjoyed infrequently, too. So looking forward to a big plate of that isn't a well- balanced way to approach daily life, either.
It's easy to feel like in order to be an informed, involved part of the solution to the challenges we're all facing, we have to stay on top of everything that's happening—every deranged tweet, every demand for attention, every possibility that anyone might be held accountable. And there are so many people who need our help. People who are far more impacted by the policies of the current government that are we. This vigilance is impossible to sustain while remaining as strong as the situation calls on us to be.
I don't have a solution to all of this, of course. But I do know this: our inner strength and our self-knowledge are crucial to our ability to sustain ourselves for this long, sometimes dispiriting struggle. To be effective, we should replenish our reserves, and take the time to get to know what we're about, what lies at the core of ourselves. This inquiry leads to important discoveries, like knowing what drives us, what activities make us feel the most authentically ourselves, where we feel the most connection, and what our values are. Knowing these things means knowing how we can best be part of the solutions and changes we want to see, and how to apply ourselves to the problem in a sustainable, resonant way. In a way we can have the most possible impact.
The strength of our inward turn determines the strength of our outward turn.
This means real work. Work to find our place in the solution. Work to discover, tend and repair. Work to know when we need to put up some scaffolding, or re-dig a foundation, so that we can continue to be effective. This work is fulfilling and exciting, but also enduring—you need to keep at it with a sense of curiosity and dedication.
But the work is also delightful! Insight often turns up while enjoying creative pursuits, or during relaxation, or while doing activities that are particularly challenging. We learn so much from being in close connection with others, over shared, joyful activities. Mindfulness and journaling are a perfect complement to the dynamic of days spent in contented company. Self-discovery can be an incredible, life-affirming experience!
With this in mind, I've been working with two incredible collaborators, Mark Pieklo and Melanie Nicsinger, to create Gather Workshops & Retreats. Our first order of business: our 2018 Spring Retreat at Mas Pinet, a gorgeous 25 acres in the rural south of France.
All the amazing details are waiting for you at the special, Friends & Family-only Gather Workshops & Retreats webpage, and—of course!—I'm more than happy to answer any questions you may have on my Facebook page, or, if you want to ask more privately, you can email me. Short take: there will be easy kayaking, transformative guided journaling, bread baking, yoga, hiking, amazing local food and wine, music, art, and, for the daring among you, a chance to (safely) walk a high wire with the help and guidance of Jade Kindar-Martin and Karine Mauffrey, professional athletes/acrobats/circus artists and stunt performers.
We're opening registration early for friends and family, and, honestly, we'd love it if our first retreat was filled with people we know and love. Come join us! You'll come back stronger, more focused, replenished and, most of all, better equipped to be part of the good fight.