This is the first post in a series called Resilient Resistance. Want next weeks's edition, entitled Pick One Thing. Do It Well? Click here to subscribe to get my weekly love notes filled with resources, musings, and inspiration about walking this path of yoga and liberation.
The world, while always pretty skewed, has felt particularly bleak and intense these past few weeks. I have found myself saying, “The world is burning,” many more times than is reasonable. Or rather, I’ve said it an exactly appropriate number of times, and that is unreasonable. I’m sort of joking, but in that dark humor is a real fear.
Despite how terrified I sometimes feel (particularly for my Muslim and Latinx friends right now), cynicism is not an option. Cynicism is a luxury we cannot afford. I am not implying that we must all be happy kittens and rainbows all the time. But we also cannot afford to let ourselves drink the poison of cynicism.
Here’s the thing: Cynicism is a tool of the oppressor. They want us cynical and discouraged. They want us too tired and fatalistic to fight. If we believe that things can’t change, things won’t change. The system requires that we believe what is happening is inevitable and that there’s no way to stop it. As Terry Eagleton puts it, “After all, if you do not resist the apparently inevitable, you will never know how inevitable the inevitable was.”
Cynics say "Why bother?" Put another way, “The cynic thinks that he is being practical and that the hopeful person is not. It is actually the other way around. Cynicism is paralyzing, while the naïve person tries what the cynic says is impossible and sometimes succeeds.” That's Charles Eisenstein.
Cynicism is deciding that there’s no hope. And we must continue to have hope. What gives me hope is US. Everyone who showed up to march last weekend. Everyone who’s been calling your senators and representatives every day, multiple times a day. Everyone who, without any planning, at a moment’s notice, heard there were people in need at the airports and heeded that call. I have hope when I look at art being made by my community members. I have hope when I hear friends sing a beautiful song.
We need inspiration, belief, faith in order to fight. To stay engaged. To show up. So feel your feelings, yes. Feel all the grief and anger that’s welling in your heart. But don’t let it harden you. Don’t let your rage steal your belief that things can and must change.
For as long as there has been oppression, there have been resisters. We are supported in all directions, from the past and the future, by those who believe in freedom. We are on the right side of history y’all. Let’s go.