How I Became a "Spiritual Activist"By:
Editors’ Note: We are thrilled to welcome Celia Alario, a writer and longtime activist, to our panel of regular bloggers here at SpiritualityHealth.com. In this new blog, The Spiritual Activist, Celia will take us to the frontlines of some of the biggest social and environmental issues of our time. While its easy to feel helpless in the face of the world's problems, Celia's experience offers hope—inviting us all to become "spiritual activists" by striving for lasting change through a heart-felt, holistic framework of love, compassion, and awareness.
“Spiritual activism.” “Sacred activism.” “Conscious campaigning.” “Transformative organizing.” These terms refer to a powerful style of “work for good.” The practice of spiritual activism is grounded in core tenants like compassion, integrity, a commitment to the process, nonattachment to outcome, interconnectedness, a love for all beings—even those with differing views—being present, and the transmutation of anger, fear, and despair into compassion, love, and purpose.
Spiritual activism invites us to embrace the unique and powerful role each of us has to play in the unfolding of justice and peace, to be a force for cultivating what we want, not just stopping what we don’t want. A spiritual activist acts from the recognition that we are all powerful, that what we attend to we become, that where we place our attention shapes our world, that our word lives. And in surrendering to the reality of not knowing, a spiritual activist opens herself up for the spontaneity and wonder of collaborating with The Divine in the quest for transformation.
A new e-book anthology released this week called Occupy Consciousness: Essays on the Global Insurrection looks at what some are calling the emergence of “Spiritual Activism 2.0.” I guess you’d need to call me an early adopter then. I found my way to this practice when 1.0 was in beta. And today there are books, organizations, videos, boot camps and list serves to unite a community of us committed to such endeavors.
I can honestly say this way of approaching social change work has saved my life—seriously! Only by bringing Spirit into this work has it been possible to sustain it for more than 20 years and counting. And I’m committed to the sustainability, because after all, I want to be a Raging Granny someday. Many mentors have helped me on this path, but today I thank the Surfing Doctor.
Nearly 20 years ago, I met Dr. Gordon Labedz, a family doctor and one of the original founders of Surfrider Foundation . I was fired up and just beginning my journey as an “activist.” Burning the candle at both ends, like many of us do in our 20’s, I pushed my body to its limits, ran on too much adrenaline and too little sleep, and believed on some subconscious level that if I just could work hard and fast enough I could help humanity get out in front of the various crises growing exponentially and threatening life on this planet.
I was one of the youngest attendees at a conference for wetlands advocates, and Dr. Labedz was