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Sustaining Spirit: Self-Care for Social Justice
Author: Naomi Ortiz
Release Date: Early 2018
Publisher: Reclamation Press
In working in social justice communities for over 17 years, I have watched as people enter into a community with enthusiasm and love and then leave exhausted and disillusioned. As they leave, history and talent is lost, often leaving activist efforts in an on-going cycle of bringing in young people and loosing artisans and elders. This cycle needs to be transformed, not just for communities and social justice work, but also for us as individuals. Transformation will take many efforts and this book is one of them.
The audience for this book are people who live in many worlds at once (people who experience intersectionality), for example, disabled women of color. The book explores where our energy goes, how to practice self-awareness around our authentic needs and creating boundaries to support our own sustainability.
Intertwining nature, our internal world of feelings and ideas, with practical daily living, this book delves into the many layers of self-care. This book weaves elements of earth, intuitive information from the natural environment we live in; with water, the emotional body of living in-between multiple worlds (intersectionality); with air, ways to think about the practical realities of self-care and social/personal interactions; with fire, the surge for justice. It explores the wisdom we already have and new tools to integrate self-care in our day-to-day lives.
We live in a world where any kind of care is given a price tag and limited resources. In discussions and 35 formal activist interviews, I have discovered a deep urgency around understanding what self-care really means, how to integrate it along with managing our complex web of experiences/identities in the world (including feelings of isolation and confusion) and how to fit in self-care with the work we do. Through stories, metaphor and questions for reflection/doing our own work, this book is a guide to reclaim our own power to care for ourselves.
This book will explore the following questions:
- How do our learned strengths of living, holding and understanding multiple truths at once connect to self-care?
- When we are deeply connected to our work, how do we prioritize the practice self-care?
- How do we reclaim balance to act from a place of love towards ourselves and others? Where do we find nourishment?
- What are natural ways to practice self-care on a day-to-day basis? How can we get creative about self-care so it’s not as tied to resources (money)?
- In what community-based ways can we shift social change work to support self-care?
This book explores the definition of self-care in-depth but my succinct definition is, "Self-care means being aware of ourselves, where we are rooted, aware of what is around us, and evolving from the lessons we learn in order to survive and thrive."
(c) Naomi Ortiz 2017