I talked to my brother the other day who is still looking for a job in his hometown of Melbourne, Australia. It’s starting to get to the point where he’s getting less picky about what job he ends up getting cause, well, he’s got a mortgage, and a wife, and a kid, and they all need him to make money, though probably not in that order. Anyway, he did say he was gonna get more flexible about where to apply, cause he needs a job soon, but that he was in good spirits cause he’s applying his secret business and life strategy, one that we kinda came up with together when we were working on a project and it’s the one word panacea for work, money, health, love, business, and life challenges in general: SEGUIR.
Seguir means to continue, to keep going, to carry on. While it’s a bit of a joke cause it sounds too dumb for us to mean it seriously, it’s actually quite profound as a life strategy. First of all, it acknowledges the power of action. It doesn’t mean to literally continue doing the same thing over and over and pushing like a maniac, it just means not stopping… not giving up, not throwing your hands up in the air. Staying in motion has a power to it, a taste of momentum, and a curiosity about whether the road might be leading.
Seguir is beautiful in its simplicity. It’s not about sitting around and planning the next week or month or year, it’s opening to where the flow of life is taking you and following it along. Seguir also means “to follow”, but in this case it’s not about following a specific plan or a particular person, it’s about following your instincts, your intuition, and the movement of Life herself down whatever rabbit hole we find ourselves in, because it’s probably leading somewhere amazing, and that we could have never dreamt up ourselves if we didn’t have the attitude of just following life, of seguir.
I’m also thinking about our cheesy little life motto in the sociopolitical context I live in in the US, though parallel situations can be found around the world: a rise in hate crimes, xenophobia, racism, misogyny. I live in a country that a short few decades ago looked (I’m not saying it was, I’m saying it looked) like a reasonable model of democracy and freedom, and today has completely lost face and all veneer of decency. As many folks have the day off to celebrate independence day, it’s hard not to feel desperate and powerless thinking about what to do about CONCENTRATION CAMPS in the US – AGAIN. If you have been living under a rock, let CNN, The Atlantic, and the BBC catch you up on what’s going on.
I have worked on many social change campaigns throughout my life, and as much as I want to offer a silver bullet or 5 easy things to do to help you feel better, to tick off a couple of boxes and then continue with your regularly scheduled life, there is no easy answer. But there is a whole lot we can do to stop this. First of all: do not look away. Denial doesn’t work, it will come back to bite you in the ass, and by then it will be too late. When there is no problem there is no solution, so admitting we have this problem is a necessary first step. You can get informed and tell everyone you know about it, you can call and write your members of Congress to insist they intervene to close the camps, in fact you must do this if you are a decent person, you can participate in a protest, you can boycott and bully the corporates that are profiting from this and throw sand in the gears of this horrific machine like the Wayfair employees have.
My point is that it doesn’t matter that you don’t know exactly what to do, or what would be “the most impactful” or “effective” action, my point is that you must do at least something, and keep at it for as long as it takes to get where you wanna go. You may make one call to congress this week, and by the end of the year you might be making one a day. You may even influence others around you to do the same. You may become super active or at least a lot more courageous in having conversations about difficult topics with your friends, family, and colleagues. You may choose a quieter approach of donating money to help kids at the border, and to the many people who need support in doing this work, like RAICES, and the ACLU.
We have no idea if any of this will change things. What we do know is that if we don’t try, we are absolutely going to fail. And so my brother’s chances of getting a job to support his family increase in direct proportion to how many jobs he applies to, and our chance of dismantling the white supremacist patriarchy that leads to “detention centers” also increase the more we understand that our only choice is seguir.