it helps to say that i’m on the edge of burnout. in the past i flew right by all the telltale signs and right into the flames, almost welcoming the rest that came when i relinquished all ability to live in my life.

right now i feel like i don’t want the rest that comes inside of, or post, burnout. i want to intentionally bring my attention to my well being, and make adjustments so that i can sustain. i want all of us who are tired to learn how to stagger our efforts with each other.

when i think of staggering, i think of geese migrating long distances, and how they take turns holding the lead position because it is the hardest labor. cutting against the wind, setting the direction, setting the pace – it’s maximum effort. we all need to hold that position sometimes, and we all need to fall back in the formation sometimes, in order to all make it, to collectively go all the way.

that means collectively paying attention to the signs of burnout.

my signs include feeling tired and irritable and uninspired to connect with others or engage new ideas. i recently found myself rewriting the words to that song “if you don’t know me by now”, adding the lyric “i may never ever want to know you.” crispy.

in groups i often see signs like flakiness and haphazard communications, constant conflict that people accept as inevitable, and a shape of power under – no one wanting to take responsibility for impact, everyone feeling like victims of the world, powerless to shape the future.

i’m naming this precarious personal state as an invitation to stagger. i recognize that i am not alone in my exhaustion and we all need to name how we are and what we need so we can sustain our efforts.

for now, if you don’t need me, let me rest. there are so many incredible people out there! i list many of them in Emergent Strategy, and there are lists of awesome people at Social Transformation Project, or this list Mia Henry just pulled together.

if you have energy to lead, i am down to follow and support.

free labor feels heavier right now, so if you just need information, consider picking the internet instead of my/others brains.

if you do need me, be gentle and spacious with it – urgency feels like a serrated knife right now.

i’m practicing emergent strategy and resting and stretching and taking my vitamins and hydrating and shifting my diet and adding turquoise and ceremony and easing my schedule and all the other unglamorous things which make it possible for me to give what i can right now, and give more as my cup fills back up.

it already feels better.

to talk to gods

lately i have been overwhelmed by the need
to talk to gods
to humble myself with mountains
to normalize my insignificance

to say i may not have believed in you the way you wanted, at least not long enough
but that one time
with Aretha playing in the car speakers
the moon on my right
the dead body under a white sheet to my left
i understood at a deeper layer than words
the need for god
and i believed
but i didn’t surrender
and here i am, no white flag
and i need your counsel

to say that when i did pray so often it was only with half my heart
the other side convinced it knew something
that the universe did not
a path without suffering
a love without shadows
gentle things that were never broken
perhaps all of that is just greed
or the limited capacity of my generation
feeling everything
we can do almost nothing
and yet this must matter
it feels so bright
it feels like you

so. it’s always been a world of stars
when i look ahead
in a dream or just cast my eyes up through the years, so many stars i can’t hide
but lately it’s a night fog
slowly swallowing all the light
and i want to know what it means
can i rest? can i exhale sometimes?
is it black brilliance, is it a new move for light?
for us, for my people who have found the miracle of blackness
is it the beginning? is it the end?
are these ever separate?