Peace, Healing, and Political Action For the Holidays

The last few weeks have been poingnant, confusing and tiresome, when it comes to trying to stay afloat in a politically destructive society while also trying to manage and sustain a decent level of mental health.

There is so much to be thankful for, but there is also hurt, pain, sorrow, injury and chaos taking place that sometimes transcends past the many things that we wish to celebrate and adorn. Many would prefer that you believe that all is well in our world and situations are being handled appropriately and justly–but this is not true. But on the other side of opposition, there truly are things to be grateful for, to be celebrated, and to be recognized and honored without needing to feel guilty or ashamed for treading upon the silver lining.

You can have passion for political justice while also wanting to celebrate a warm meal with your family. And you can have a righteous indignation toward oppression and unlawfulness, and choose to fight on the forefronts rather than spend time with your family. It's okay. We all have a right for what we choose to stand for and dedicate our lives to.

Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, I want others to know that there is always something that we can do whether we are outside rallying and protesting, or sitting in the warmth of our homes having good conversation.

This season I have decided to make a memo to myself to remember that grace abounds. Love, kindness, gratitude, empathy, compassion and fruits of the spirit can go a long way and it can even reach distances that are outside of our area codes. Grace reaches people, nations, and political leaders. It can cover iniquities and it can change hearts.  I urge humanity to share it with one another as we travel through what feels like a rough season for many. Across the nation many people are gathering under clouds of despair, terror, destruction, homelessness, abandonment, police brutality, and continuous let downs from whom we call family and the home we call America.

As you gather with you friends, families, or even if you spend the holiday season alone, there are ways that you can help change the political climate through fellowship, conversation, and action. 

I listed twenty ways to help with the sustainability of mental health, take political action and dismantle prejudice and oppression, while also embracing peace and joy for the holidays. And if you have other suggestions please feel free to add them in the comments below.

  1. Donate used/unused good to a local church food pantry.
  2. End the militarized aggression towards Standing Rock protesters in North Dakota
  3. During family grace, pray for the nation and our political leaders
  4. Listen to a podcast on how race, gender, faith and our identities intersect
  5. Make a charitable donation to Planned Parenthood and educate yourself on the much needed resources that they provide not just abortion
  6. Watch a family movie that'll make you laugh and increase your mental hygiene
  7. Learn fun facts and be educated on many American systems by watching Adam Ruins Everything for some knowledge and good laughs
  8. Say a simple "hello" or good morning" to a stranger on the street
  9. Participate in a Holiday Toy Drive
  10. Give intentionally and don't overextend yourself if you are struggling financially
  11. Log off of all your social media accounts to spend more intentional time with yourself and loved ones while also separating yourself from unintentional trauma
  12. Report any acts of hate, prejudice or violence
  13. Head over to Union Square Station and post a message of hope on the wall
  14. Write a note to one of the 18,000 homebound elderly
  15. Open up your home to a friend who has no where to spend thanksgiving or christmas 
  16. DIY someone a gift out of thoughtfulness
  17. Keep your mind and body physically fit and empowered by working out for at least 15 minutes a day
  18. Pick up some paint, paper and colored pencils and make art right inside your home
  19. Remember to take a moment to reflect on life and make a choice to continue to live as your best self
  20. Include children in on the topic of managing their feelings and learning how to express themselves and their emotions

This list may not be long, but it's a starting point. Feel free to leave your thoughts below.

PS: this post was inspired by Erin Boyle of Reading My Tea Leaves who also has great tips to share for political engagement this season.