Heyo! Welcome to today’s Monday Muse. Sorry it’s a bit late; I’ve been elbow deep in my worldbuilding.
Last week was all about resistance. The fight, the battle, the struggle to make sure we don’t lose America to the worst version of ourselves. How we’re going to throw ourselves into this war of ideology and humanity.
This week is all about the other half to resistance: keeping yourself healthy.
I don’t mean eating well and exercising, though those are always recommended. I’m talking about avoiding activist burnout, which is absolutely a real thing and absolutely to be avoided. That’s the point of all this: to exhaust us. To make us stop fighting because we are too tired to fight anymore.
So… while we should all resist–and resist hard–let’s also keep in mind to rest. To keep our mental health intact, our physical selves healthy, and to find a place within ourselves that is completely free from this constant bombardment.
For me, that place is in writing (I know, I know… what a surprise. I need more hobbies.) and classical music. Last week, I had the absolute privilege of seeing Yo-Yo Ma playing Dvořák’s Cello Concerto. It’s one of my favorite pieces by one of my favorite composers featuring my favorite instrument (I’m biased, of course). And the second it started, the beautiful tones of that most wonderful of pieces washing over my ears, there was quiescence in my soul for the first time in weeks. Go ahead and listen.
It was sublime.
I’m not like most writers; music does not inspire me to write the way it does for others. The best pieces send me into a sort of transcendental place, beyond thought or cognition of any sort except a kind of internal glow. There are no worries, no fears, no anything except the feeling that I’m part of something greater than myself. The Buddhists might not approve of my methods (or they might, actually… it is a bit no-mind), but it is a definite case of zen.
Of course, I can’t spend all my time there. Nothing would ever get done, and the point isn’t to hide from the resistance, but to find a place to recuperate for the next battle. To retreat to your corner, take a breather, squirt some water into your mouth and on your face, get a great pep talk, and then get out there again once the bell rings. (That’s how boxing works, right? I’ve only ever seen movies about boxing. Two people trying to hurt one another isn’t my thing.) So I also write.
In particular, I world build. I fill in the blanks, color in the lines, get to know my characters and their culture. I lose myself in something else… some PLACE else. A place much, much better than the one we’re in right now. I showed this to everyone on Twitter the other day, but… tell me that this doesn’t look like amazing mental health?
And now I get to trace this to create a blank version for a political map! MAAAAAAAP! (OK, that one was a blatant excuse to show off how hard I worked. Did you see how hard I worked? I’m very proud of this. Esmeihiri is my baby. It’s like my child! My brain child! I LOVE IT.)
This is my escape. Make sure you find your own. Or else your resistance will only end up destroying you.