Contemplative Activist

Walking the Activist’s Way – a course for change makers

Who is the woman depicted above, with one foot inwards, and one turned out? She’s my hero… I’ll tell you more just now…

After such a wonderful time running the first course of the Activist’s Way, I am keen to share with a broader community some of the qualities and practices of the Contemplative Activist. If you’re keen to join in, get in touch here.

My Aspirations

My wish for this course is to offer support to everyone who wishes to stay engaged in the world around us, and become a force for change. At first sight, we may appear to fall towards one end of a spectrum. We may be an extrovert, or have a natural activist orientation and are energized being out in the world, getting things done, working in social or climate justice arenas. Alternatively, we may be more naturally drawn to the contemplative side, sitting quietly, alone or in nature, and every now and again get pulled, perhaps unwillingly, into a more activist orientation.

We need to find a way for these two seeming opposites to come together as the embodiment of the Contemplative Activist. In this way, we can harness the power of both. For me, the archetype is the woman pictured above – Green Tara. She is a bodhisattva, who has taken a vow to help alleviate everyone from suffering. She meditates and tames her own mind (the one foot inwards) and then jumps swiftly into action when she sees that harm is being caused (the other foot out). I’ve written about her in this blog post.

Who is the Course for?

I have been inspired to collate this material for all the open-hearted and caring people I have met through my work. These are people who:

  • are overwhelmed with the suffering in the world
  • want a better future for their children and are trying to raise future-fit young adults
  • care about social and climate justice
  • understand the meaning of sustainability, both inside and out
  • are disillusioned with the current state of global business and politics

This is a course for those who see activism as a relational practice, rather than activism as conflict. It is activism as feeding, not fighting. When we learn how to feed ourselves, while feeding others, we touch into the powerful truth of interconnectedness.

Course Structure

This six week course will take the form of weekly 2-hour meetings. We will gather, as bodhisattvas-in-training, to provide the support we need to change the world from the inside out. It is so easy to blame others for the failure of global democracies, for the climate crisis and issues of social injustice, but we need to ensure that we are not perpetuating these in our own lives.

Each meeting includes a time of meditation, as this is such a tried and tested way to improve our attention. We also take a chance to share our successes and our struggles, and determine action steps for the way forward in our work.

Week 1: Sense of Purpose
Week 2: The Contemplative Activist
Week 3: Types of Activism
Week 4: The Activist’s Achilles
Week 5: Practices for Activists
Week 6: Moving Forward

I have had two major influences in preparing this material: Julia Cameron’s ‘The Artist’s Way’ and Andrew Harvey’s ‘The Hope’ a book on Sacred Activism. I will also share inspiring texts, such as the Karmapa’s book ‘The Heart is Noble’, and Rebecca Solnit’s ‘Hope in the Dark’.

My wish is to allow many self-supporting groups to develop throughout South Africa – and beyond – in order to support change makers and activists in their challenge to stay strong, even when the road is very, very long.

If you would like to join the course, or for me to run this as a retreat for your community, please get in touch here.

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