3 Tips for Surviving Life as a Peacekeeper/Love-maker/Artist/Dreamer
Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. – Martin Luther King Jr.
It ain’t easy being a peacekeeper, an artist, a caretaker, a rabble rouser. Changing the world is not for sissies. It never has been, not in any country in the world, not in any period of history.
The peacekeepers are often persecuted, mistreated, and misunderstood only to be celebrated posthumously.
It’s lonely sometimes, rarely as sexy as the movies make it seem, and requires a ton of guts to stand by your convictions. So often peace is kept (even at the personal level) at the expense of the peacekeeper. It stands to reason that we should stick together with our (sometimes) unpopular opinions about the way the world should work.
There are so very many of you out there who keep the peace together in your own lives, to your own detriment, and remain entirely unsung.
I sing your praises
Today, in respect to one of the most revered keepers of peace in our collective history, I wanted to pay tribute to those of you out there who are keeping the peace in your own worlds, who are writing songs and painting pictures in a world that so desperately wants you to be an investment banker.
Sometimes, keeping the peace is not particularly peaceful
When the status quo is unbalanced or discriminatory or just plain wrong, sometimes that which is right requires us to rage up a bit.
In these uncertain times, we must be warriors of love.
That which is right and that which is easy rarely get to hang out at the same parties, but creating a world with less discord will always be worth it.
Are you a peacekeeper/artist/rabble-rouser/caretaker?
Here are some obvious signs that you might be:
* You are often a go-between amongst quarreling friends and family
* Loved ones (and strangers) come to you for help with their problems
* You create beautiful (often controversial) art
* You speak out against injustice
* You take soup to sick friends, visit loved ones in hospital or volunteer in any regard
* You have ever owned a Che Guevara shirt (warning: you may also be insufferable)
Here are some less obvious signs:
* You can’t stand to watch scary movies
* Babies and animals adore you
* You are often exhausted or drained or struggle with depression and/or anxiety
Here’s something many of us neglect to remember – the caretakers require just as much caretaking as everyone else. Sometimes more. The dreamers aren’t dreamers because dreamin’ is easy. We’re dreamers because it’s our calling. Because we believe the world can be better
Here are some of my (often hard-earned) bits of advice for the lovers, the dreamers (and me):
* Take good care of your vessel.
I’ve stressed this more times than I can count, but if you’re not taking care of your body, you’re not taking care of anything or anyone else. If you’re ignoring how you feel, how you feel will magnify until you can’t possibly ignore it any longer. Get some exercise. Eat good food. Drink green juice. Take your Vitamins. Whatever self-care looks like for you, take care of it and then get back to saving the world.
* Mind the company you keep.
You can’t save everybody and you shouldn’t try to. Often those who work the hardest at keeping the peace are the ones who are the most taken advantage. Don’t give the tender little shoots of your dreams to those who wish to stomp on everything new that grows. Give your hopes and dreams love and encouragement (including the kind that comes from supportive friends and loved ones). It’s not about keeping any part of yourself in the closet. It’s about choosing your friends wisely. How can you tell if it’s wise? If you feel like shit after you spend time with your pal, move it along.
* Don’t take it personally.
The sorrows of the world are both yours’ and not yours’. The drop can’t be separated from the ocean, this is true. But we also can’t take everything on and in without losing focus. Some of the best advice I ever received was to, “Bless them and send them on their way.”
I put myself out thereby writing this blog. Sometimes the feedback is bolstering and sometimes it is a little soul-sucking. This is the life of a dreamer. I choose to stay the course because it feels worse to me to diminish myself than to be big and receive criticism. It has by no means been an easy life – if you’re one of us, you feel me.
I wouldn’t change it for anything and I wouldn’t change you for anything. You are more important now than ever. Don’t ever give up.
With love and admiration for all that you do,