Meaning, Purpose and Sense of Self in 2020

Meaning, Purpose and Sense of Self in 2020

Issue Fatigue in 2020
NPR describes this electoral season as “strange and tumultuous.” How do we each cope with “strange and tumultuous?”  Anti-racism has been a topic that has enveloped social media in 2020 and is part of this tumultuous experience for those embracing its reality for the first time.  Discussing and resolving issues of racism is hard enough, but how do we do this during a pandemic in the midst of an unprecedented and surreal election season?  In our Facebook group,  Coming Back to Center, new members gave reasons for joining that included “wanting to improve skills,” “transform,” “empower,” and “be connected.”  Fortunately, this group has not witnessed vitriol and disrespect.  However, the overall impression is that people are fatigued.  They are sincere, but lack energy.

Racism and Identity
It’s a comfort in 2020 that people are ready to actualize that they don’t have to accept the world as it is. They can play a part in moving forward and creating something different.  I’ve spent the past few weeks reflecting further on my part in that process and on the fact that we just don’t have as much emotional bandwidth in 2020 compared to other years.  Having great intentions and even hope is not always enough to sustain change.  Many are experiencing fatigue and overwhelm on a deep level.  Fatigue, burnout and overwhelm are prompts for slowing down and taking stock.
While my workshops have been impactful, the information has been challenging for some recipients. Some are still in limbo not knowing what to do.  Why is this so?  Racism impacts many aspects of being such as meaning, purpose and sense of self.  It profoundly affects our sense of self.  Identity is intricately woven into the fabric of innumerable factors that involve genetics, biology, psychology, philosophy, neuroscience and anthropology.  Who can handle all of that in one piece with a virus running amok?
Social Activism as a Long Term Project
Given the circumstances of 2020, I have modified my work and future trainings so that they are more ontological in nature. While I will continue to provide specific information with regards to antiracism and racial trauma, I will also provide more context regarding ontological issues relating to “self” and how to integrate information so that it is practical, purposeful and motivating.  The last thing I have ever wanted for my trainings is to encourage performative action or information dumps.  Transformation takes time. Especially when you are tired. You can’t be an activist without copious self-care.  Especially in 2020.
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