I feel the message above so strongly. When I was in university, I studied International Relations and thought I’d head into a career in human rights law. I am passionate about justice and equality and dismantling the systems that would keep certain people’s well-being from them. We each have the right to be happy, healthy and whole.

My quest was interrupted by a personal battle with depression and anxiety. When you feel stuck in your own head and heavy in your heart, peace in the world seems so far away. Even five minutes of peace in your own mind would be a gift. And so I began my journey inward.

What I learned on my healing path is that the skills required to cultivate peace on a personal level are not so different from the skills that are required to cultivate peace in our relationships, households, workplaces, communities, and ultimately, in the world.

We need awareness and the ability to see things as they are. We need a compassionate witness for our struggle. We need to allow our feelings to move through us, and we’ll come out the other side with a stronger sense of self and clarity about what matters most. We need to learn to stay connected to our values and speak up for our needs, even if they make others uncomfortable. 

With the recent debacle that was the US election, I am reminded of this. We each have power. We each have work to do. In order to bring peace, we must first cultivate it in our own hearts. Because your experience matters.

It’s time to insist your own well-being.

When things make you feel bad, stop doing them.
When guilt and obligation are your main motivators, call a time out.
When spending time with certain people leaves you feeling drained and depleted, choose differently.

They’ve got you convinced that you have no choice. When you remember that you do, the whole game changes. It’s no longer a game – it’s truth.

It’s oxygen in your lungs and freedom in your heart.

It’s your life and it’s your choice.

To those who would have you forget your own power, with all due respect, I say with enthusiasm, “Bye!”

I know it’s scary. This is a boat-rocking proposition and I know many of you have become quite adept at not rocking it to stay afloat. You could just capsize the ship…but if that’s not your style, that’s ok. This movement is for you too.

One step at a time. One choice at a time.

Stop “shoulding” on yourself.

Sense your truth. (You can feel it in your bones.)

Feel your feelings. (Take your time – the only way is through.)

Find your power and your voice.

Speak up for your needs and your wants, and consciously create a life that includes YOU.

And then gather with others who share your values and create a community that reflects what matters. Insist on the well-being of humanity. We have the power to do that. Always.