How sustaining ourselves by transforming our inner voices can help, in a Trump era

The revolution begins in the mind.

How are you coping with the overwhelming news of attacks on women’s rights, on environmental protections, against immigrants, Muslims, refugees, discrimination against the LGBT community, and on and on? How are you sustaining your spirit to endure the trials that are testing your resolve? We all acknowledge we fear for the future of our country and the survival of our communities. But consider this possibility: what if this is not a moment of despair, but a moment in which we are being invited to awake a higher version of ourselves, to step into our full power ― and our full talents? 

We are already seeing how incredibly courageous our community can be. From the massive women’s marches, to the demonstrations at airports across the nation demanding the release of Muslim travelers that were detained over a Muslim ban policy. They are all a manifestation of the resilience being awakened in hundreds of thousands across the nation. But let’s face it, it’s so easy to slip back into gloom and doom outside of those moments.

We need to find ways to tap into that energy of vision and inspiration that we sorely need, even when we’re not in those protest spaces. In that spirit, I offer that now is the perfect time to dig deep within ourselves and find ways to cultivate the energy that we’re going to need to fight for the long haul. My path in discovering tools to do precisely that was not a direct one, nor did it happen overnight ― in fact, it’s still unfolding.    

I’ve always felt like being a story teller is my passion. That’s why I got into Communications. That’s why I got into online organizing. And that’s why I became a community organizer in the first place – to use the power of sharing personal stories to ignite change. But after a decade of this work, I felt stuck, oftentimes exhausted, burnt out, and jaded. It got so bad, I was having bursts of anxiety at the worse possible times. So, I embarked on a search, for something that could help me feel not so … trapped.  

But I didn’t know where to start. As activists, we are taught to channel anger and oppression into action, in the name of social change. It’s a strategy that is proven to be effective, and necessary – to change a city ordinance, to get people to resist injustice, to mobilize the community out into the streets. But we never learn that using anger and tapping into our experiences of trauma unlocks a whole other set of personal issues, not to mention that it’s unsustainable. 

We never learn how to complement our activism with a different, more centered energy to explore those deep questions about ourselves that can help us have more clarity and drive when it comes to not only the work we do, but in our daily lives. We are at a loss, lacking the tools to explore the kind of personal journey that can help us tap into our fuller talents. So, when I heard about the concept of the “monkey mind” —  the concept of those voices in our heads that we all have and use to self-sabotage ourselves — I was immediately interested in learning more.

Enter the Academy for Coaching Excellence (ACE), whose whole curriculum revolves around the concept of overcoming the monkey mind. They offer one-on-one online sessions with a personal coach, in-person teachings, like their Mastering Life’s Energies course, and webinars — with one of them coming up February 9th appropriately titled Hope: Find Your Center and Empower Your Purpose in Times of Trouble. ACE is led by Maria Nemeth, PhD, MCC, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and a former Assistant Professor at UC Davis School of Medicine Dept. of Psychiatry, and her team of professional coaches teaching material approved by and accredited through the International Coach Federation.

The type of material ACE covers offers insights, tools, and a framework to overcome the personal barriers that prevent us from being — among other transformational qualities — the visionary leaders we can become, the kind of contributors that the organizations and communities we belong to need, and the courageous innovators that we all aspire to be. Most importantly, it can help you uncover the hidden mechanism continuously shaping your perceptions and actions — and learn how to use it all to make your mind your greatest ally instead of your worst enemy. 

This can have powerful ramifications in your work as an activist, and organizer, and if you are a communicator, as a story teller. It could not be more relevant at this moment, when it feels like we are in a constant crisis mode. Under such distress, it can be so easy to limit our imagination to tactics and strategies that come more from a reactionary place of fear, rather than from a place of vision and inspiration. It’s like drawing using one or two crayons, when you don’t realize you have a whole box of them.  

ACE gave me new tools to help me get out of my rut, and thus be freer to tap into my fuller set of talents. Because as a Communicator I rely so much on my talent as a story teller, this was of incredible importance to me. I also learned some insights on how to quickly respond, adapt, and persevere — instead of struggle or give up — when things don’t go as planned. This doesn’t mean that I am immune to experiencing fear and hopelessness. But it does mean that I am better prepared to face those moments, and understand how I can sustain my energy to better serve the world. 

So how are you making sure that you sustain your energy to bring your full power into the moment of challenge we find ourselves in?