"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
This is the Serenity Prayer, which Alcoholics Anonymous uses as a touchstone for overcoming addiction.
And I see it as powerful when applied to social change, too.
In this new series, I choose one element of world-changing leadership, deconstruct it, and offer practices to build it.
Leaders who are fierce are guided by more than their personal desires and preferences (though they factor those in too).
They are keen observers, listening to reality. They give up on wishing things were different, so they can fully take in exactly how things are.
I took this photo in Thailand in January, outside a Buddhist temple. I loved it so much, I probably took 15 photos of this one umbrella.
And I’ve been wanting to use it as a starting point for a post on how cultural appropriation comes up for progressives and liberals. But it took me a while to sort out my mixed feelings on the topic.
Because from my view in the San Francisco Bay Area, I see how cultural appropriation plays out in weird ways within progressive enclaves.
And I think we need better conversations about this.
What drives your passion for social justice?
In one form or another, it's always been there for me. When I was a kid, I'd feel it pretty intensely anytime I saw someone being judged, excluded, or bullied for being different, by both teachers and students.
Sometimes I'd get pissed. Sometimes I'd feel scared, and sometimes I'd feel nauseous. It wasn't until I was older that I connected the dots, and saw how that strong reaction was linked to my own experience of feeling like a misfit.
And every now and then, I'd find the courage to take a stand.
There are two big ways we tend to view political organizing. One approach is from a place of strength. The other is from love.
I have written about this before, and I put together the infographic below to illustrate what Carl Jung called “the tension of opposites.”
It’s a big topic, but to help boil things down, I focused on this question:
How do you deal with people who say or do racist things?