The key to our collective liberation: we're all together in this and we're all interconnected.
It sounds very generic and cliche, I mean it quite literally.

I’ve been talking about this for decades, and I will continue to talk about this for decades, because it holds the key to our collective liberation: we’re all together in this and we’re all interconnected.

It sounds very generic and cliche, I mean it quite literally.

When you have a problem that is not yours, but it’s ours, you alone are not going to be able to solve it.

I was coaching this leader of a team today, and they’re having some issues with the team. And as I’m learning about the issues, I had to tell them: “Listen, I can coach you until you’re blue in the face… And you might develop some incredible managerial skills, incredible leadership skills, you might really improve your interpersonal communication game, you might become a lot more present, a lot more aware of how you relate with others, you might become a lot more careful about your relationships with your team members, and none of that is going to move the needle enough, if the problem is systemic”.

If you are the only one that’s doing the work on a systemic problem, it’s gonna be r-e-a-l-l-y hard to make a change. Because you can only do so much. I’m not saying it’s not going to help. It’s definitely going to help. It’s just not gonna help as much as you would like it to help.

The same is true for larger systems. For example, if you’re struggling with depression, and you realize that your depression is because the system that we live in doesn’t support you. It’s designed to keep you down. It’s designed to alienate you. It’s designed to marginalize you. You can take the best pharmaceutical medicine on the planet, you can take the best plant medicine on the planet. You can have the bestest shrink or coach or psychiatrist and you’re not really gonna get long term relief because the moment you’re back out in the world, everything that’s designed to, quite frankly, fuck you over, is still gonna be there…fucking you over. I’m not saying this to make you lose hope at all. I’m one of the most optimistic people I know if I may say so myself. I am saying this to emphasize that you need to take care of yourself. You need to get all of the external resources you can, you need to follow people on social media that are talking about how to look after your own mental health, you need to find help for yourself. AND. Big huge “and”. And you might want to get involved in efforts to shift the system also, because you may not make the change for you at a systemic level right away, but you’re starting to make that change.

When YOU start to make that change, the next generation of people like you have a little bit lighter struggle or even no struggle. Imagine that, liberation is accessible. I believe it’s happening and it can happen. This is what our ancestors have done since the beginning of humanity. They have not left the world in an amazing shape…but they have tried (some of us have). This is why we’re still here. Otherwise, we could have probably obliterated one another a long time ago, we’ve had plenty of opportunity.

So I just want you to think about: is my struggle individual? To what extent is my struggle collective? To what extent? There is a spectrum that moves between the exclusively individual, and the totally collective. Where in that spectrum does my challenge sit? At what level do I need to approach this first? What’s gonna be the most effective action for me to take? I’m a firm believer putting on your oxygen mask on yourself first, and then on your favorite child and then on your second favorite child, because if you’re not breathing, both kids are going to pass out from hypoxia, right?

When you’re thinking about at what level am I approaching a challenge or an issue, the question becomes, what’s killing me the fastest right now? And spend some time on that. Sometimes that looks like reading a self-help book. Sometimes that looks like organizing a book club to read the self-help book. Sometimes it looks like lobbying city officials for better access to mental health resources for the community.

Don’t take systemic shit personally. If you’re poor, for example, it may be because you’re “fucking around”, sure. But it’s probably for a gazillion other reasons that have nothing to do with you. And your job is to keep your soul intact and to not believe the story that it’s on you individually because the entire neoliberal capitalist system is designed to exploit you So if you’re actually being exploited, and you’re having a hard time making ends meet, I’m so sorry. It’s fucked. It should not be that way. But it’s definitely not your fault. That doesn’t mean that there’s not something that you can do about it. Even in this system, we have cracks that we find that’s how the light gets in.

What can you do for yourself? Where can you find allies, comrades, that can behave with solidarity to support you as you try to get access to a better situation for yourself, while not blaming yourself? For stuff that is not your fault? Find them, and then look for other people that need the help and help them. It’s not your fault, but it is your responsibility. It is all of our responsibility.