Expanding Resilience in a Tumultuous Time

As we navigate through a global pandemic, massive wildfires and hazardous air quality, a racial reckoning, and an upcoming election, self care and finding ways to stay resilient are of utmost importance. At ClimatePlan, we’re constantly thinking about how to stay resilient as a network, as a team, and as individual staff members. It has been a challenging year to say the least, but we’re finding ways to stay afloat during these tough times and use these difficult times to innovate and create if we have the mental and emotional bandwidth to do so. It’s become increasingly clear that we’re undergoing major transformations from the personal to the collective level and we’re navigating through it - as bravely as we can - together. 

It’s not at all lost on us within the ClimatePlan network that we’re truly doing some of the most challenging work right now in ultimately trying to address and reverse climate change and it’s multitude of impacts. To do this work while the climate crisis is right at our front doors is sobering. Below are some of the ways that we’re navigating through this as a network and as a team. 

Individual Self Care

For our individual self care, on our own time, we’re following the lead of theorist Audre Lorde when she said “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” We know that taking care of ourselves allows us to show up with more presence, spaciousness, and bandwidth when we need to. 

We’re taking care of ourselves in the following ways: 

  1. Taking long walks and hot epsom salt baths (pro tip: try Dr. Singha’s Mustard Bath), 
  2. Journaling and diffusing essential oils throughout the day, 
  3. Eating nutritious foods as best we can and breaking up long days with 10-minute dance parties and good music, 
  4. Stretching and doing yoga at the beginning and end of each day.

Spring Opara at CompassPoint NonProfit Services also shares an incredible list of 5 weeks of self care that we’ve been following. 

But we’re also taking self care a step further - in a place that self care really matters. We’re putting our shared agreements into practice in very tangible ways. 

Living into our Shared Agreements

Transparency and Capacity - As a team, over the past 6-7 months, we’re being open and honest with ourselves and with each other about what we do and don’t have the capacity to take on. With some of us raising children or suddenly finding ourselves as teachers in distance learning programs, we’re striving to maintain a level of transparency with each other about what we do and don’t have the capacity to work on and we often delegate and/or fill in the gaps as we need to, even if that means something as small as saying to each other that we’d rather have our Zoom videos off for a particular call. By being clear with ourselves and others on our own boundaries and bandwidth, we’re actually freeing up more energy to get things done as a team. 

Observing and Learning - As a team, we’re learning and absorbing so much of what is going on around us right now. In a recent On Being with Krista Tippett podcast, Reverend angel Kyodo williams said the following about what we’re going through, “There is something dying in our society, in our culture, and there's something dying in us individually. And what is dying, I think, is the willingness to be in denial. And that is extraordinary.” At ClimatePlan, we’re noticing where this unwillingness to be in denial any longer is creating paradigm shifts in policy we never thought possible even 1-2 years ago. We’re also, however, noticing where ideologies and worldviews are very rigid, even stuck, and we still have a lot of work to do on the issues that matter to us. Just stepping back to notice how quickly things are shifting and changing while gaining our own footing and perspective has been key to feeling resilient in these times. 

Another major lesson in resilience for us as a team is taking the time to learn from those we find inspiring and to engage with new, innovative thinking to inform our own work. The Strozzi Institute says, “Resilience brings back a positive imagination for the future.” Just this past week, it was life-giving and affirming to watch allies like Tamika Butler and Charles Brown speak at the UCLA Lake Arrowhead Symposium. We’re connecting to and mulling over some of the new radical and imaginative ideas that are coming out of this time period as related to the issues we work on. 

Relishing in the Victories - As a network, we’ve had two major climate victories in the past few months, namely the Governor’s Executive Orders (EO) - one which requires all new vehicle sales in California to be zero-emissions by 2035, and another which sets a goal to conserve 30% of California’s lands and coastal waters by 2030. While these EO’s will take a lot of work to implement, we’re finding ways as a team and as a network to celebrate these major wins while not just mindlessly moving on to the next goal or initiative, but rather sinking into and relishing in what these EO’s can mean for our state and even for the country. Bringing that spirit of abundance and the potential for great change to take place (rather than a fear or scarcity mindset) seems crucial to expanding our resilience during these tough times. 

In conclusion, there is a certain level of insanity to trying to navigate through these unprecedented times in any way that feels normal or “like things used to be.” To do that would be missing some of the important lessons and breakthroughs that want to be catalyzed through us. Our bodies, our mindsets, and our nervous systems are truly adjusting day to day to the changing circumstances. We’d love to hear how you’re personally or organizationally building resilience during these times and we hope one or more of the ideas above will resonate with you and your team!

Our Strategic Direction


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