Part of my mindfulness practice is to live my life with intention. I have a strong intention right now to be more of a social activist because 1) this is no time in the U.S. to feel helpless and 2) I might be able to offer something positive, however small, to the world. Also, following up on my last post, I have made a point of being more conspicuous. I have been a pretty outspoken person since about 5th grade when I first remember my teacher commenting (not negatively) about my feminism.

I find myself now, however, not just being outspoken about my beliefs but also being outspoken about my behavior and linking it explicitly to my political activism. Honestly, the U.S. presidential election initially left me feeling betrayed by a substantial proportion of my fellow citizens.  When I left my house the morning after the election, I made a concerted effort to count every act of kindness that was directed toward me. It helped me feel safer.

I have continued to do this but I have also tried hard to do positive works. And since I am putting this within the context of social activism, I have let people on social media know about what I am doing and why. I include charitable contributions, phone calls to congress, and small acts of kindness that I do with intention of creating loving social connection. Announcing my actions is my version of carrying a sign in a protest march. What if I decided to protest in the park, by myself, without a sign and without saying anything? How would anyone know what I was trying to do.  I am labeling my action. Others might feel inspired to do similar things. I know that I have felt inspired by others. I also know that when I announce my intentions in public, I am more likely to follow through.

Objective labeling is a big part of observing and being mindful. I have learned the practice of labeling my mental behaviors during meditation. When my thoughts are judgmental, I can label it by saying, “That’s my judgmental mind making judgements”. I have been taught that this is a way to stop the brain puzzles that keep me out of the moment and I have found it to be an effective technique. To be aware of myself makes it easier for me to act with intention and to respond to life instead of simply reacting to it. Sometimes I have to make a sign to myself to understand myself better.

I think of this as a practice of using signs, some turned out to the world and others directed inwardly. Both are extremely useful to me.

What’s your sign?

Peace to you, friends