Some time over the last year or so, you joined the Compassionate Activism email list. Perhaps you watched our webinar on Healing from Marginalization or Healing from Toxic Whiteness. Maybe you filled out our Contact Us form.
I'm guessing you were excited to learn some new tools to help you heal and address everyday oppression with love and justice, especially given all the scary stuff coming out of Trump and probably out of the people around you during this polarizing period.
And between Trump, natural disasters, and everything else burning in the world, you've probably needed the Compassionate Activism practices I teach more than ever.
But I wasn't reaching out to provide more support to you during this painful and overwhelming 2017 - and I'm sorry about that.
This may seem strange to hear from me since we don't really know each other and you may not even know that much about Compassionate Activism.
But I want to show up in my full humanity in all my interactions, including in a blog post like this.
Because right now with the world burning, that seems to be one of the few thing really worth doing to me.
So I wanted to share something deeply painful and deeply joyful in my life with you - in the hopes that it will support you in your life. I hope you'll read this email even though it's a bit long.
It wasn't that I didn't want to do more around Compassionate Activism. I felt the pull every time I spoke with my struggling friends and saw the news - and knew that Compassionate Activism could make a difference for so many people.
But with each time I thought I would be able to carve out some time for Compassionate Activism, I just kept being pulled back into Everyday Feminism. I had neglected it since launching Compassionate Activism and it was suffering for it.
So in early 2017, I turned Healing from Toxic Whiteness from a live online course to recorded videos only online course so it could continue to be offered without my focused engagement after I shifted all my attention from Compassionate Activism to Everyday Feminism.
And I won't lie to you. Pausing on Compassionate Activism was really emotionally hard for me.
I had felt that my whole life had led me to this point - where I could take all my hard-earned lessons from the past 10 years of healing and spiritual growth and put them into an accessible online program that would take you only 10 weeks (and not 10 years!) to do.
I loved teaching Compassionate Activism live, hearing from the members how transformative it was for them, and seeing the healing happen in real time in the online sessions.
This was even more needed with Trump threatening and attacking our marginalized communities and more and more people, especially white folks and men, waking up to the white supremacy and patriarchy driving our society and not knowing what to do about it.
But I felt like I had to abandon my calling in order to support Everyday Feminism, because I cared so much about the team and the invaluable resource our online magazine had become for millions of people.
As the Founder, I felt ultimately responsible for it - even though it was crushing my dreams.
In other words, I was coercing myself into staying at Everyday Feminism.
In Compassionate Activism, I teach that self-coercion is still coercion and even when it's coming from a well-intentioned place, it's still harmful.
So I spent most of 2017 in a brutally painful and long internal battle to deeply acknowledge how trapped I felt at Everyday Feminism since launching Compassionate Activism.
I was afraid of acknowledging it because I feared it would have me quitting on the spot - and leaving Everyday Feminism to crumble.
Thankfully I tend to turn all brutally painful situations into opportunities for healing and co-creation. And this time was no different.
I took all the reasons I felt trapped at Everyday Feminism and how that impacted the team's ability to show up and created a new (magical!) self-governing organizational structure and culture. (You'll learn more about all that later!)
That way, I knew that after I left, what makes Everyday Feminism so special of a workplace would continue without me.
In November 2017, I was holding out until we could hire my replacement when I finally hit my breaking point of self-sacrifice.
But I needed to embrace some deep fears coming true in order to fully embrace my need and right to be free from the organization I founded.
Thankfully, I had a team and community that held me through that moment and supported me in taking a sabbatical.
Since then, I have been discovering who I am when I have no urgent responsibilities and nothing to coerce myself around.
I haven't been in that situation since high school and it's been wildly painful and joyous!
I've been decolonizing my life - from my relationship to time, my body, my work, and my relationships - and creating a life that is heart-centered, spirit-led, and community-supported.
In all of this, I've relied on the Compassionate Activism practices to hold me as all the fears, anxieties, angers, and even hatred for this oppressive world has come up during this period.
These practices have allowed me to release them and be free to be the person I didn't even know was possible before.
Through it all, I've also been so lovingly held in community and they have made such a difference to my journey.
That's why I'm so happy to share with you that I am FINALLY ready to re-launch Compassionate Activism so you can be held in a similar community - both online and in-person.
I know that most people can't take a sabbatical and not have any urgent responsibilities like I was able to. So I want to use that privilege and resources I've been fortunate to have and offer all of my very painfully earned lessons of this past year in the next online program for you.
I hope that I can make your journey far less painful and much quicker than mine.
Phew, that was a long story! There's more but I'll be sharing what all that could mean for you over the coming weeks.
Thanks for reading about my both painful and joyful year. I hope my journey can be a support to your journey.
Sandra’s the Founder of Re-Becoming Human and Everyday Feminism. She’s committed to living into spiritual and social liberation in each and every moment. Sandra shares her (often painfully earned) learnings from her ongoing journey of healing and co-creation so that your journey may move faster and have less pain and more joy!