It is common knowledge that one of life’s important components is the care of self, from our personal accountability to our actions. We grasp that we cannot properly tend to another if our own energies are depleted. When we have taken care of our needs, we’re better equipped to support people and duties. Some may tag this as ‘self-care,’ ‘self-preservation’ or a means of radical love. Now how did the mania for “self” foster inequality, segregation, greed, economic and psychological disparities? Why did we let it get to a point where some have become so cynical, or worse, apathetic to the unjustness that surrounds us? How can we bulldoze the conditioning of a zero-sum mentality and enact fairness, principally for those most vulnerable? 

Learning to care for our communities’ needs as part of total well-being extends bountifully in all directions. We are capable of doing both: caring for ourselves while being of service. (In fact, we cannot do one without the other.) A service that moves beyond selflessness; one that recognizes our needs as inextricably linked with that of others.

We shout for independence, yet not loud enough for the dignity of our neighbours near and far. Averting our eyes to compounded realities stifles growth and limits our perceptions, while issues remain left for somebody else to solve. Its consequences – whether placid or hostile – affect everyone and the diffusion of civil responsibility only intensifies them. Our problems demand our engagement, in so far as possible, our deep awareness. No amount of ‘self-care’ indulgence, consumption, isolation or privileged safeguard compares to the inherent values of connection, kindness, and commitment to the human family.

The clearest reality is that we are ALL in this together! 

So yes, change starts with us, within us. But it does not have to end there. Interpersonal acts can be as simple as giving food to someone homeless, reaching out to others, organizing a communal group, donating to a local shelter, signing public urgency petitions, buying groceries for someone who is sick, sharing vulnerability with a friend, or welcoming someone with a smile. While we’re here, let’s do life through the full breadth of love with the realization that it must be done as a collective. Let’s turn to the relationships, communities, and world that hold us with a cup that runs over. 

Refuge in Austin, Texas.