Last Sunday, I called myself out for an attitude I’ve had: that what is going on in the political world is so “cray-cray” (to quote Rachel Maddow), that I needed to take a break from it all for my mental health. I confess and repent! To opt-out in that fashion is privileged bull. I am grateful for all the people who have come before in our history, who didn’t opt out when things were disillusioning or heartbreaking. As a friend of Heather Cox Richardson said to her, “White people who believe in justice and democracy may have to learn resilience and patience.”
Many of us feel exhausted, helpless, and hopeless. But we don’t get to hit “pause” – the world continues turning, and right now in our country, it is turning in some terrible ways. Democracy is fragile. There is no guarantee that it will always exist. There is work to be done, and ours to do. For Unitarian Universalists, this isn’t political. It’s religious.
And … while checking out from what’s going on does mean, in my opinion, dereliction of our duties as citizens, not stopping to refuel means we’re aren’t going to have the stamina and resilience to stay involved.
So how do you refuel? How do help your spirit to recover from the discouragements and disillusionments of the world? How do you nourish your soul?
Everyone has different ways: reading certain books, going for long walks, running, meditating, being with friends. What is important is to make it a priority. And there’s the rub. How many of us consider “spiritual nourishment” to be so important, we should allocate time for it on our calendar, not just as an afterthought?
Democracy is not a spectator sport and there is tremendous work to be done – registering voters, supporting the census, contacting our elected representatives, writing letters, block-walking … if we had a busy day planned to do all that work, hopefully, we’d begin with a nutritious breakfast. Consider beginning your day with spiritual nourishment. Put a good book on your nightstand to read in the morning, set up a meditation corner, lay out exercise clothing – whatever it is that will help you feel replenished, centered, and ready for the work. Nourished.