What to do now as things fall apart? What we love, more fiercely and strategically.
In times of fear, the knee-jerk instinct is to do what is ‘right’, ‘needed’, ‘radical’.
We can be shamed into thinking that there is ONE way of doing things, or THE way to fight, resist or protest.
We can stop listening to ourselves because we don’t think we know any better.
We can be dragged into work that is not ours out of guilt, obligation or even pride.
We can choose to do the kind of work that we think will ‘serve’ or ‘help’ others.
We can fall back on work that “has always (seemed to) work for us and others”, because it’s safe (or is it?).
Often times, that kind of work is not sustainable long-term: its flame burns out and it burns us out with it.
What if in times of fear we could… rest in the fear a little longer. Swim through those rough ocean waters breaking into the sand and get to the calm depths. Realize that fear is asking us to surrender to our latent desires, to be more ourselves than before. To be more human than before.
And surrendering to our desires is the most dangerous thing we can do, especially as marginalized people of color.
Not because desires are sinful (as judeo-christian et al. doctrines would like us to believe) but because they make us more ourselves. More human, more sensitive, more attuned, more powerful. And that is exactly what may threaten the existing power structure. That is exactly what makes us unpredictable, creative and unable to be manipulated and controlled.
At Turtle Tank, our Radical Enterprise Incubator, we often say this:
“Let desire be your compass.”
We learned to “let desire be our compass” in some of the most radical queer women of color creative works and spaces.
The more deeply we grow into our work as Radical Entrepreneurs, the more we know that: true desire, when unpacked, almost always points us to radical change. Even when it may not seem like it is at first, it eventually leads us there.
At Turtle Tank, as the first and most important act of sovereignty and freedom we’ve vowed to: spend more time doing what we absolutely love and deeply desire, daily. To do what brings us alive, daily. Not what others think we should be doing- from the most well-meaning radical activists to the heads of the corporate boardrooms.
Personal desire is our guiding principle to real revolution and change.
We do not believe that we can reach a state of collective freedom and power without honoring each of our unique desires in community. And we will not get to true collectivism and social justice by bypassing personal needs, wants and desires. It is through embracing what we each love that we will reach radical collective power.
Desire is what gives us purpose, what brings us alive, what makes us and the gifts/talents we bring, unique.
Unfortunately, personal desire and individual purpose are not commonly emphasized as the central social organizing principle, perhaps out of fear of losing collective perspective.
That very thinking may be preventing us from accessing truly holistic, collective, multi-directional, multi-faceted strategic approaches that engage us all where we are most powerful. And where we each come most alive and can all fit together organically.
Desire is the flame that sustains us and also protects us.
And true desire never burns out or burns us out — it always shifts us towards our most basic needs when we surrender to it. When we learn to listen to our desire and trust it, we are guided to our best next steps..
And that means we might not all be fighting at the front lines of activism, out in the trenches at public protests or even in the voting booths (because some of us can’t, with all due respect to our warriors on dangerous frontlines who risk their lives as part of their purpose). All of our fights don’t look the same — that doesn’t mean that we’re not fighting.
Today, as things seem to be falling apart: we need to surrender to our desires and use our tools, gifts and talents strategically, in all areas of our lives. Some of us will dismantle, some of us will clean-up, some of us will re-build and some will float around to bridge all three and keep the cycle going.
We urge you to “let desire be your compass” — to let it guide you to the work that will free us all.
If you’re interested in learning how to reconnect to your desire and create your best next steps, check out our free virtual 7-day incubator.