Choosing Ourselves

By Hilary Allen

The following is exercepted from content presented as part of the “Staying the Course” workshop at the New Day Rising Conference in February 2021. The full workshop is available to conference registrants through Whova and to new participants who enroll in the “New Day Rising” course on UULI .

Friends, if you are not already feeling so, please know this: you are going to get tired.

Fatigue is real, especially when we are doing the work of dismantling white supremacy.

The etymology of the word fatigue comes from French and refers to the labor of the military. It means “a feeling of weariness from exertion.” This describes us, doesn’t it?

We are weary and experiencing fatigue in part because the work is unrelenting — and because we have forgotten the need to take breaks. So tap out for a moment, trade off, and exercise other practices that will allow for some rest and rejuvenation.

If we don’t take the rest we need, the temptation to act out of white supremacy culture is that much stronger. When we are operating from fatigue, any one of us — white or BIPOC — is more likely to fall into default white supremacy modes.

We encourage you to access whatever wisdom will help you remember that not only can we take breaks, but we must. We recommend:

yellow background with text that reads "Exhaustion will not create liberation." by the Nap Ministry

We need to be unwaveringly committed to and invested in our resilience. We are not all powerful. We deserve and require rest.

Rabbi Tarfon taught us, “It is not your duty to finish the work, but neither are you at liberty to neglect it.” And if I may add on: It is not our duty to suffer indefinitely in the work, and no one else will create breaks for us.

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About the Author

Hilary Allen

Hilary began her tenure on Congregational Life staff in 2013 and is part of the programmatic team bringing the Practices of Spiritual Leadership to UU congregations. Originally from the Carolinas, Hilary delights in those magical facilitation moments when a group experiences some new insight or...


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