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A few good things (my weekly round-up of good stuff from across the interwebs)

Friday, February 10, 2012 by Marianne Elliott

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Activism in a ‘Post-Occupy’ World

There are some great ideas in this article on activism and social change in a “post-occupy” world. Including this gem (which I would love to see go viral, if anyone has any idea about how to make that happen):

“…every time you find yourself grousing: “Why isn’t someone doing X, dammit?” your next thought should be to assume that someone already IS doing X. Because the odds are good that they probably are. And your next move is to find out who that person is, and offer to extend, help with, or replicate what they’re doing.”

The Complex Business of Buying Ethical Footwear

Speaking of the challenges of doing good in today’s complex world, I’ve long resisted buying into the shoe-craze of the yoga world, TOMS. Why? Because their ‘charitable’ model kind of sucks. Actually, from a development perspective, it pretty much blows. As usual I’ll leave it to Saundra to explain why because she does it so well.

And yet.

Last week I bought my first pair of TOMS, despite serious misgivings about their ‘charitable’ model. Why? Because I needed comfortable, affordable shoes to wear when I’m working on the floor at the restaurant. And I couldn’t find any other ‘socially conscious’ options.

I spent the better part of a really hot, sticky Monday walking up and down King St in Sydney’s Newtown looking for shoes that were made ethically and found only TOMS. So I bought them. I figured they were the better option, despite the flaws in their model.

And then I read Saundra’s article again, and followed the links on her site to this list of socially conscious shoes and thought, for the bazillionth time in my life that it’s a complex dance this business of aiming to do no harm.

It’s a tango between rigid fundamentalism that can descend into self-blame, on the one hand, and helpless apathy on the other (and, those two hands sometimes feel pretty close to each other, which makes for a saucy tango). These days I’m learning a new dance: the dance between doing my best, and accepting that I won’t always get it right. It’s a humbler dance, and a much kinder one.

Next time, though, I think I’ll pass on the TOMS and get some of those Nisolo loafers.

The Less Complex Business of Children Freezing to Death

Actually, I’m sure someone out there could explain to us why this is complex as well. Of course, it is complex on some level, everything is when it comes to food justice and land rights. But at the same time, children in Afghanistan are freezing to death (Here’s another article, in the NYT, but fair warning: this article is very sad). And that’s fairly simple.

The good news is that there is something we can do about it (this link was shared with me by a friend who lives in Kabul and whose judgement I trust about suitable charities to support). And that part feels simple enough to me.

Yoga, Meditation, Mental Health and Chronic Illness

(wowza, these links are kind of heavy this week, huh? but worth reading, I promise)

This is an old one, but a good one. Healing Life’s Traumas – yoga and PTSD. I was reminded of it this week and have been thinking about it quite a bit (my next HuffPo post may even get into the territory of the nervous system, if the Impact editors are up for it).

Also this week, my meditation teacher (and friend, and sometimes housemate) Peter Fernando is offering a special course in meditation for people with experience of chronic illness. This will be deeply wise and profoundly kind. If you or someone you love lives with chronic illness, I highly recommend it.

You can also check out this great interview with Peter from my partner in Curvy Yoga, Anna Guest Jelly.

Where Else I’ve Been

One of my goals this year was to produce more hefty, less frequent posts and to post more often on Huffington Post. I kicked things off this week with a follow up to my thoughts on Why your passion is not enough, featuring Maggie Doyne. The full transcript of my interview with Maggie is also up here.

I was also very humbled and honoured by this article, written by one of my 30 Days of Yoga students, who included me in a list with Mother Teresa and Thich Nhat Hanh…

“Recently, someone asked how I defined my faith. I told her, “Mother Teresa, Thich Nhat Hanh and my yoga teacher”.

Well, with that I think I might just retire (to bed)

Night lovelies.

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One Response to "A few good things (my weekly round-up of good stuff from across the interwebs)"

  1. Roxanne says:

    I am SO glad you are doing this, Marianne. I love your weekly round-ups and now that I’m home for R&R, I’ll soak up all your links. I especially love your words about the aid dance…

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