I’ve declared 2017 the Year of Beautiful Resistance. Here are some of my personal favorite tools and techniques to inform, inspire and act – with a emphasis on what business owners or those in leadership can do.
What Works? Building the New Paradigm
Subscribe to my two favorite publications, Conscious Company & Yes! Magazine. When that dark pall fell across the globe on November 8th, I knew I had to surround myself with inspiration and courage throughout the year. As an activist entrepreneur, I deeply value the insights of the fairy godmother of localism, Judy Wicks, in her book, Good Morning, Beautiful Business, and the deep kinship I feel with the people I’ve met through an independent business organization she founded, the Be A Localist movement. If you are a grassroots advocate or conscious business person, these are YOUR people.
Engaging with the Last Great Gasps of the Old Paradigm
Don’t ignore the shadows creeping upon us, develop night vision with Collapsing Consciously by Carolyn Baker and Truth or Dare: Encounters with Power, Authority & Mystery by Starhawk. I also love Starhawks other books: The Empowerment Manual (great for groups & businesses), The Fifth Sacred Thing (essential resistance in fiction form) & The Last Wild Witch, a fictional children’s book on resistance and activism. Power vs Force by David Hawkins is another illuminating volume.
Beautiful Resistance is Pro Active *Visible* Acceptance
Normalize different with this badge declaring inclusivity on your doorstep. Open For Service is rapidly building a worldwide community of diversity – supporting businesses, churches, organizations, employers, and consumers to celebrate inclusiveness regardless of politics. Regressive organizations have long used symbols and policy to signal who is welcome and who is not. Without a counter-symbol that shows progressive social values, bigotry becomes acceptable because silence is the face of oppression is consent.
Don’t just let that sticker be a token though, now is the time to update your internal policies (or ask your employer too) on transgender bathrooms with courtesy menstrual products, and paid parental leave. (Heck, welcome breastfeeding mom’s while you’re at it.)
Recent racist and sexists incidents at eateries and retailers across the country should have us all discussing how to train staff or respond as fellow patrons to sexist, bigoted and racist customers. (If you’ve got a resource, let me know).
Do an audit on wages to make sure they are equitable across gender and race. Really look at cultural appropriation from a business perspective and update your marketing plans and evaluate your product line to make sure you are not supporting oppression in any form.
Finally, evaluate your suppliers, service providers and internal hiring & promotion practices to discover where you may have been unconsciously bias in the selection process – are you surrounded by a monocrop of the same basic human or do you have a diverse representation of genders, ages and heritages in your network? Do your business partners hold the same progressive ethos as you? Your bank is a great place to start that evaluation.
Working for “da Man” ain’t workin … listen to & co-create with mama for a change in tune
Most “new age” tools are all light and serene, but those of us charged with disrupting power need tools that acknowledge and address the shadows with fierce grace. My daily practice is to check with The Code of the Goddess (online oracle) (out of print book) by Carol Bridges on how to orient my day ahead. I also consult the Medicine Woman tarot (also by Carol Bridges but not pictured) and the Sacred Rebels by Alanna Fairchild for creative exploration of any issue. The Wisdom Keeper is a new deck I just got & I can tell it will be a wonderful tool for cultivating emotional intelligence and resilience.
Online Courses leading us out of Domination and into Partnership
When I first came into a leadership role in my early 20’s, I found myself speaking to employees on occasion in a way that did not feel right. It seemed like a foreign entity – coming from me, but not actually of me. We live in a culture where rule by alpha domination is the most rewarded style (see Trump presidency) and have to actively seek to replace bullying behavior with respectful engagement. I came to call this the weird commanding voice in my head “the dominator” and sought to replace the authoritarian knee jerk responses with authoritative care, compassion and respect.
Enter Riane Eisler’s work on shifting from domination to partnership, where I learned I wasn’t the only one identifying an internalized conditioned dominator. Her Center for Partnership Studies has online courses on Partnership, Leadership and the Caring Economy. Non-Violent Communication is another incredible practice for undoing the inner bully & Sound True offers a free online course here. Finally, workplace bullying is epidemic and mobbing (online and off) is getting out of hand. A critical read on handling bullies by anthropologist Janice Harper on her own experience with bullying and mobbing delves into gossip, groupthink, false memory, animal behavior and warfare.
The best possible leadership on this subject happening right now, is the example being set by the water protectors at Standing Rock. Look to the indigenous peoples worldwide and follow their lead.
Sync with natural cycles for optimal success
One of my fundamental beliefs is that in order to change what Charles Eisenstein calls the Story of Separation (you know the one: where man has been given dominion over Mother Earth) into a Story of Reunion (where humanity remembers they are part of nature and not separate from it) is to become attuned to the cyclical and multi-dimensional nature of time. The most important element of any project is knowing what each moment is ripe for. Nature shows us the way, if we only know how to interpret her signs.
By tuning into the seasons, moons and solar system you can get in the flow with nature and work with the energies of the moment instead of struggling to make things happen at the wrong time. I don’t just believe it, I make it my business with a series of calendars I design and sell on Etsy. The exquisite Spirit de la Lune oracle deck compliments this practice, while The Great Work: Self Knowledge and Healing through the Wheel of the Year by Tiffany Lasik is the most thorough take on the Wheel of the Year I’ve yet to come across.
Important reads on the story of separation & age of reunion I can recommend:
- The Ascent of Humanity by Charles Eisenstein
- The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible by Charles Eisenstein
- Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
Lastly, encouragement for getting your bad ass on in 2017: