ABOUT LOVE ACTIVISM
Love Activism is a daily, radical, and holistic activism of kindness. It is a very present and powerful activism. Practicing Love Activism brings positive changes and rewards as types of everyday magic. It is a fully alive way to live against cruelty and violence. Love activists strive to live as much as possible outside of and in opposition to systems that promote violence and exploitation. Love Activism blooms most beautifully when there is no bullying, meanness, sexism, racism, greed, or ruthless competition.
Trying to dismantle large and unjust structures, corporations, and institutions can seem daunting. We can feel discouraged, but Love Activism offers a way we can all make real and positive change in our daily lives. This is realized through how we perform our work, what we do in our communities, and how we go about our days mindfully and with kindness. As we practice Love Activism, we must honestly examine our lives, which may lead to making difficult changes or decisions, but will ultimately bring us lasting joy, peace, and balance.
In Franciscan spirituality, there is a practice of seeing with the eye of our hearts. Looking at others and our world through this mindful, inner heart eye is the root of Love Activism. By embracing and practicing THE EIGHT BEAUTIFUL ELEMENTS OF LOVE ACTIVISM we move closer each day to this profound way of seeing others and our world with our hearts.
Each of the eight elements below are unique, yet they overlap with the larger whole. For the most harmonious practice, all eight should be meditated on and become part of a thriving activist life.
THE EIGHT BEAUTIFUL ELEMENTS OF LOVE ACTIVISM
Service occurs when we perform acts of kindness for our loved ones, our communities, strangers, and the environment. Even what seems to be the simplest act of service can light someone’s heart, which will also light our own.
Empathy is a deep form of compassion. When we are empathetic, we do not just know about or relate to another’s pain or suffering, but we feel the person’s pain and suffering deeply as if it were our own.
Non-violence is an essential practice for a compassionate life. Verbal assaults, not just physical acts, are forms of violence. We must consider all acts of violence in our lives that we are complicit in and move toward eradicating them. This includes eating food that comes from violence or performing customs and rituals that our culture may celebrate, such as hunting, that result in killing a living being.
Self-care makes us strong and better able to care for others. There is nothing selfish about taking time and energy to do things for ourselves that will ultimately result in bringing more joy to those we interact with. When we are physically and emotionally healthy, we can offer more love to others. Activists who do not practice self-care can easily experience burn-out.
Hope brings us out of despair, even when we may see so much around us that suggests our activism makes no difference. One of the best ways to cultivate hope is to perform acts that propel us toward possibilities and a better future.
Creativity as an element of love activism happens when we ourselves create art or we support the art of others. We are all artists and each of us has the ability to create.
Feminism happens when we do not place gender restrictions on others; when we embrace equality; when we allow all humans, regardless of gender, to reach their full potentials; when we don’t make assumptions based on gender; and when we speak out against violence against women.
Mindfulness is when we are able to remain in the present moment and free our minds of anxiety, fear, depression, and other harmful emotions that are often the result of worrying about the past or future. Mindfulness may not come easy to us, but may be cultivated through meditation, yoga, or other practices.
Visit the PRACTICES page for inspiration and ideas related to the above elements.