Earth Holder’s Mindful Advocacy: A Panel Discussion

Earth Holder’s Mindful Advocacy: A Panel Discussion

The Meditation Hall at Deer Park Monastery in Escondido, CA awaits Earth Holders during the first-ever Plum Village Earth Holder Retreat, April 2016
The Meditation Hall at Deer Park Monastery in Escondido, CA awaits Mindful Advocates during the first-ever Plum Village Earth Holder Retreat, April 2016

The first-ever Earth Holder Retreat in the Plum Village Tradition was held April 28-May 1 at Deer Park Monastery in Escondido, CA. I was on the organizing committee. I also served as a panelist in a conversation about Mindful Advocacy. Check out the YouTube video below to hear the presentation.

Mindful Advocacy is a topic dear to my heart. As the long-time director of a conservation not-for-profit, I spent my early years as a traditional advocate. I rushed, got angry, and argued my case. During my later years, after I had discovered Mindfulness practice, I behaved more like a Mindful Advocate. I practiced fierce compassion, cultivated inner and outer sustainability, and listened more than I spoke. It took time for me to develop a new way to be and I talk about that transformation in the video. But today, my approach to advocacy is completely transformed.

During the talk, you’ll hear me describe  “advocates” as people

  • who have had their hearts broken, and
  • who want to ease the suffering they witnessed.

By this definition, anyone righting a wrong on behalf of themselves, a child, a family, a community, or Earth is an advocate. Also–by this definition–advocates have an emotional trigger–something that riles us deeply and sets us into motion. So, we advocates are wise to recognize the strong emotion at the root of our action. It is an emotion that needs tending. I talk about the need and process of self-care.

And of course, the “mindful” part of Mindful Advocacy is found in spiritual practice. To me, the practical lessons of the ancient teachings passed down through the generations are great gift to advocates.

In this presentation you will hear lots of ideas about how to apply spiritual practice to advocacy. Something I offer is a list of advocacy actions I am unwilling to take (because the actions lay outside the  boundaries of practice). Also, I reveal the list of Mindful Advocacy actions I do take every day to bring peace and healing to the world and stay happy as I do it.

 

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