Are You Experiencing Resistance Fatigue?
In the wake of the first week of the new administration and the response to the massive and disturbing changes that have occurred, I, like many people I know have engaged in letter writing, petition signing, phone calling, rallying, getting on social media and spreading the word far and wide. I have a sign on my front lawn that reads “Hate Has No Home Here”. Daily I am poised to do something to ride the emotional tsunami. I have found myself listening to NPR, reading news stories from CNN, Daily Kos and of course, The Huffington Post, almost obsessively, feeling that somehow they are each a haven of truth, in the swamp of ‘alternative facts’.
I have been inundated by the same posts on my news thread that herald potential devastation, beyond what has already occurred. I pen articles that reflect my social sensibilities and share commentary on my Facebook page and in response to those posted by others. Most of the feedback is supportive, with a few trolling provocative comments that drip with disdain. I do my best not to match energies with them and instead, use measured and rational responses rather than attempting to put out the fire with gasoline, which could become even more incendiary. Sometimes they continue to cast aspersions on my beliefs in ways that have me rolling my eyes. The terms ‘libtard’ and ‘snowflake’ are cast about as if they were poison darts.
I’ve heard a new term going around ― ‘resistance fatigue’ ― a sense of becoming tired of protesting and being vigilant and on top of things. Last Saturday, I was one of the Philly 50,000 who took to the streets of ‘The City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection,’ as it is colloquially referred to.
Surrounded by kindred spirits of all ages, gender identity, skin hue and tone, size, national origin and religious beliefs, I felt reassured in the knowlege that together, we were stronger than hate. It was a foggy and overcast day, but the mist hovered above the buildings, kept aloft, it seemed, by our collective intention.
Yesterday, I wanted to go to the Philadelphia airport to join friends who were standing up in support of immigrants but didn’t have the energy to even get out of pj’s. I felt guilty until I realized that balance is needed: it’s a marathon and not a sprint. I queried friends about their experience in that realm and was heartened by their responses.
“Yep. Overwhelmed. Doing “Daily Action” helps ‘cause it’s just one item (phone call) & very easy.”
“Mindset and heartset…. being an advocate, minister in crisis areas, a special needs mom, a daughter and primary caregiver to a parent with Alzheimers living at home in advanced stages… well… many, many issues present themselves, that in classes I offer I present the difference between resistance and flow, and sustainable steps instead of explosive let me pay attention to all of it at once and feel compelled to act and to announce the actions. I am seeing tons of people who got shook from complacency into alarm and this created an urgency and lots of outgoing attention and energy. Meanwhile, despite them claiming spiritualness, the fear moving in them is clogging the flow inward, hence depletion experienced outward. Shift from fear and loss of control to allowing an intuitive flow and divine influx to aide in the divine orchestrations at the moment. Not everyone knows the drumbeat or the dance steps. And the number of people needing attention to process their feelings is fascinating.. this is draining the collective as well.”
“ Yes you much take a day or two off, get a massage, take a nice long bath and rest. Watch a funny movie, spend time with family. Do something that is not stressful, but stress free. Relax your mind. Sleep! it is all good. Others are helping you. you are not alone.”
“That makes sense…part of me wants to unplug bc each new piece i read sends me reeling and a sense of hopelessness. Trying to focus on the good people and that at least there is an awareness and fight in most of us. But I felt myself crash last night. To inoculate myself I pulled out paints and playing with that and
“ I incorporate my resistance with my passion… and I never grow tired.” of course…playing with the babies.”
“Taking some sort of action has really helped me with the hopelessness .”
“ I’m doing short shifts…..an hour of protesting instead of full day etc.”
“ I’m trying to do this too. Get there early, put in my time, go home, and still have time to enjoy the day! “
“ We can take turns. Sustainability is the key thing. “
“Yes, I believe moderation maintains the marathon. Need times to regroup and gather strength of body and mind. It can become so exhausting with no breaks.“
“ It will have to be in shifts. But I can only imagine what Americans are going through. I keep asking myself as a Canadian, what can I do? Any thoughts from my American friends here?”
“ Tired? It just began.”
“ Balance. You have to maintain some quality time for yourself so you can give it quality to what it is you’re doing. I wanted to go to a protest with Heidi yesterday, but I just had too much to do and I also needed a break from resistance. Although I put many posts regarding my disgust of the many things going on. Sometimes resistance is actively physical, sometimes it’s actively written through opinion, sometimes it’s an actively personal battle with yourself. We have to expect to having to take a break every once in awhile and to expect that others will take up your mantle for a time, just like you expect yourself to take up their mantle when they need quality time to recharge. This does not mean we are giving up, it just means we are taking care of ourselves. “
“ And I believe that is their goal – tire us out with an onslaught .”
“ It is like hypervigilance toward the abuse of others.”
“I was just thinking along those lines as well…there has been so much reaction this first week, that there is the concern that we will not be able to maintain this, and/or that it will become less meaningful because it is happening all the time- not sure what the answer is. “
“ I connect with Earth Mother and source her powerful energy. And take baths… Not really sure beyond that. It’s a day to day thing.”
“ I look into news that helps, not just infuriates me. I choose not to listen to DT in his speeches because I had an ex that lied a lot and I got sick of spending time deciding if the information I was getting was real. I look for the doers and find things I can do. Then I put limits on my Facebook time. I cleaned my groups and pages out earlier this year to help me stay focused on real news and things I can do and got rid of adrenaline inducing pages that were more about complaining than action.”
“ I felt guilty that I had tuned out of all social media on Saturday to do research on a book, and saw what had happened in my own hood! But ya know, they got the job accomplished without me! It was okay I wasn’t there. We all need to take care of our own lives alongside of being aware of what is going on and contributing where we can. We need to get enough sleep, turn off social media, and renew spiritually daily. Become spiritual ninjas! “
“ Nope. We’re only just begun. However, self-care for anyone is always important, especially if you are fighting for survival. At some airports, folks were showing up in what seemed to be shifts, that is what #TheResistance needs on a daily basis. You’re doing your part Edie! Can’t be everywhere all the time.”
“ Unattached to the result. Act because you are led to Act. Do NOT let what is happening get under skin .”
“ Maybe we should be working towards something we want instead of fighting a dying system.”
“ I’m planning a program for Wednesday Night on that very thing. I’m starting to wonder if we shouldn’t choose just one or two things to be passionately focused on. With the thought that through natural selection everything would be more than adequately covered. It seems that working TOGETHER we can accomplish far more than any one trying to do it all.”
“ I pay very close attention to my body, energy level, vibration and intuition. The key for me is to be vibrationally aligned within yourself and then act. I journal each day to release a lot of emotion and thinking around what’s happening right now as well as other personal stuff. I wrote this morning about the need for all types of reaction and resistance, in whatever shape or form it takes.”
“ I said I was feeling as such last week already. Just reading the information is overwhelming, and exhausting. I decided to set aside a certain amount of time pre day to catch up on the news, sign petitions, write letters, etc. And stop continually checking FB. This weekend I also realized, and came to peace with the fact, that I cannot attend every single protest. I currently have 6 scheduled in my planner between now and June. I’m sure I will attend more in that time frame, but I can’t drop everything and go protest every single day. As important as it is, the rest of life still needs attention. We ALL know if we don’t care for ourselves we WILL burnout, and we NEED to be in this for the long haul. We can do it TOGETHER.”
“ I try to do some sort of “action step” once a day.. for as little as 15 minutes. I try to have a goal at least once a week to attend a meeting, rally, etc… I find that being around like-minded people and doing an action in a group seems to energize me and strengthen my resolve. May we all hold each other up.. It is going to be a marathon.”
“ Absolutely agree; this is the long game. Rest, resist, rinse repeat.”
“ Thomas Merton: “There is a pervasive form of modern violence to which the idealist…most easily succumbs: activism and over-work. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his (or her) work… It destroys the fruitfulness of his (or her)…work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.”
“We are living in very intense times. Everyone is feeling something from somewhere all across the world. Each day, I start my day stretching and also a page of “healthy” reading and a prayer. Try and balance the day best I can, then at night a prayer of gratitude. Eat well, water, excercise…talk to people that lift you up.”
“ There are many ways to be “active”. There is no one “right way”. How many demonstrations does the Dalai Lama plan or attend each year? Yet his influence is in the millions and his spirituality is quite political in its own way, just in his being as a representative of Tibet. Vibrational healing can be as important as physical action. This world is constructed so that those motivated to “march” will do so, or other 3D things. In the 60’s it was the kids and hippies who protested primarily in non civil rights action. The Dem convention of 1968 showed the fangs of conventional society and contempt. When Reagan slaughtered thousands in Central America and committed treason, the majority didn’t care. Bush and Cheney were REELECTED after lying their way into a war killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and killing and maiming thousands of Americans. Now a huge portion of the country is up in arms. Trump is wildly unpopular after a week in office. This might be considered progress.”
“ I made a similar point to a friend today that there are many ways to be “active.” I like the optimism, too. I share it.”
“ Liquid amino acids and vitamins. Energy work takes a toll on the body. So does stress. Extra support during this time is good .”
“ Self compassion. I do what I feel I can, then remind myself I am human and can’t go/do 24/7. I have to rest and care for myself if I am to be any good to anyone! “
“ Pick your battles…long 2 years coming up (assuming we can flip things at midterm).”
“ Support all the protesters morally whether it’s women’s rights, immigrants, Muslims, Blacks, etc however physically pick those issues which are closest to your interests. Otherwise, yep we will get burnt out .”
“ Or you could ask any PoC how we’ve been managing it for the last 400 years. We call it racial battle fatigue. Welcome to our world. It ain’t pretty.”
“ Helplessness is another term that comes to mind. A sense that the problem is too big to do anything about it, so nothing gets done. Not to feed guilt, but to recognize that I imagine many people feel very trapped and frozen.”
“We must learn that passively to accept an unjust system is to cooperate with that system, and thereby to become a participant in its evil.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
I am choosing to resist the current state of affairs and the unjust system of which Dr. King spoke. I know that had he lived, he would have been right there with us.
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This post was previously published on huffpost.com.
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