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Anticapitalist Practices: Relationship

So much of the wellness industry’s orientation toward purpose, the coaching, the classes, the articles, the inspirational quotes, are oriented toward individual behavior and thinking. We talk about creating a better life, getting in touch with what you want, finding fulfillment when you’re attuned to your deep desires.

And while I agree that shifting how we think about ourselves and what’s possible is important, since capitalism shapes our daily life and imaginations towards its own ends (endless profit for a few, exploitation of various degrees for the rest of us), I also think that focusing on changing the behavior/thinking of individuals is incomplete. Often the gaps between where we are and where we’re longing to be, deep down, are a systems problem, not a personal failing. (This sense of systems problems being felt as “personal failings” is a result of neoliberalism, which I’ll be writing about more soon.)

Systems, and how they shape us, are one reason my orientation as a coach is towards relationship. Relationship with our selves - the parts of us that show up in our bodies that all of us would really rather not look at. Relationship with the people around us, our beloveds, the people we dislike, random strangers. Relationship to the earth and the life on the earth. With the ancestors, blood and chosen, who came before us. And the beliefs that we hold - all the ways we make sense of this time here together.


When we're in alignment with ourselves and our deep longings, we can be more in tune with the world around us. We can be in relationship differently, show up at work or organizing or home or the grocery store - wherever - differently. More oriented towards each other, and less towards “achieving” some kind of “better” life for ourselves (which can very easily mean accumulating material things that signify success).


What does it mean that from the time we take our first breath we are held and provided for, unconditionally, deeply, fully, by this planet that is animated and full of presence?


If we belong, already, do we have to strive so hard to prove we are enough or not too much?


Can we instead turn toward the work that is ours - individually and communally and collectively - to do? Tending to the relationships and needs that move us at a spiritual and material level, rather than endless accumulation and exploitation?


Not a single leaf, but the whole plant. Not the center of an ecosystem, but a necessary part of one.

If you’re interested in learning more about my coaching, or know someone who might want to work with me (angst about your job or what the heck you should be doing with your life is a good indicator), there’s lots of ways to connect with me - I send out bi-weekly email notes, have sliding scale monthly check-ins through Patreon, and offer 1:1 coaching work for people leaving their jobs, seeking career changes, working on writing or other creative projects, or who feel stuck around work or purpose under capitalism.

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We reach for individual choices, individual actions, individual intentions, but if you go it alone, the system will beat you, every time.