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This afternoon I listened to an interview with Laura van Dernoot Lipsky on what she calls trauma stewardship, which she described as the process of not just working through, railing against, and interrupting trauma and injustice at every opportunity, but simultaneously understanding that pain and trauma have always existed, and will always exist, and that our efforts are not going to (and can never be expected to) eradicate it. It is exceedingly difficult to hold both of these truths at once, and to keep on going.

When Laura described some of the signs that a person might be experiencing some negative and dangerous effects of working with trauma (cynicism, feeling overwhelmed, constant exhaustion), the interviewer astutely observed that this is currently the state of our whole society. Events of the past couple of weeks have put a rather fine point on it. How could we not be collectively traumatized, cynical, overwhelmed and exhausted?

She talks about some practices for dealing with this: breathwork, exercise, practices of just “being” for a time. All things I tell other people to do regularly, and all too infrequently practice myself. So I’m making a promise to my readers that at least for this week, I will do one or more of these things every day. Friends, I ask you to agree to do the same. Whatever it is that you know you need, that you know is a good idea, but somehow don’t have time for, make time for it this week. We cannot afford to be careless with our Selves.