Resting When It’s Hard

Resting When It’s Hard

If you’ve been reading my work a while, you’ve probably heard me talk about internalised capitalism: the equation of our worth with our productivity or with what we produce.

You see, capitalism is built on three principles:

1. The pursuit of infinite growth on a finite planet (#climatecrisis).

2. The artificial creation of scarcity, to drive said growth.

3. The devaluation of beautiful, living, complex systems to lifeless resources. (Think jungles, or the forest, or even our own bodies).

When we live inside a system where these principles are normalised, we internalise this message in a myriad ways… one of the most obvious being that feeling of never doing enough, and struggling to rest, unwind or take time off.

I got a friendly reminder of this the other week when I woke up a few hours before my 26 hour flight to Australia, horribly unwell with Covid.

Now, I was lucky.  My airline was willing to cancel my flights and give a full refund, and I was able to rebook for a few weeks later.

So all I had to do was rest… simple, right?

Except – like many of us – those thoughts crept in…

All my emails! Surely I could send a couple today.  

I haven’t written a newsletter! I was going to do that on the flight.

I need to reschedule those meetings! My diary has completely changed.  

OMG, resting is boring. Also, the house really needs cleaning – I could clean, right?

It’s so unprofessional to change all these bookings… what will they think?

Round and round and round.

Different variations, some more anxious, others more sad, all telling me that there was work to be done, and yes I’m sick, but not that sick that I couldn’t do the things.

Once, I would have believed these voices. (I remember years ago, on my fourth bout of tonsillitis in as many months, chomping down painfully on steamed broccoli and hitting the gym because no sore throat and fever was going to keep me down! Besides, I was doing healthy stuff right?!)

This time, I offered myself the grace of rest.

I’ve spoken a lot lately about how the work of “Getting Free” is a practice. It’s not a one time event or single moment, but the active choosing of who and how we want to be.

It’s letting go of all those “shoulds” and stories of urgency, and honouring the truth of this moment.

I heard those voices, those stories, those “shoulds” telling me that things are urgent! And aren’t you bored?! And are you even that sick?! and chose to offer myself the medicine I needed.

It wasn’t that I didn’t hear these stories… it was that I chose not to invest in them.  

I know what happens when I do (#burnout #illness #exhaustion)

Instead, I chose to offer myself the rest and ease I want for all of us.

To stay on the couch, under the duvet, and leave my out of office on a couple days longer than I even needed.

Now, not all of us have the privilege to be able to do this.

I was raised by a single mother who for a long time did not have the resources or support to take a day, let alone a week, off.  But I also know that so often even once we have the privilege to do so, that we struggle with the practice.

There is no virtue in ‘keeping busy’ or ‘pushing through’ though. Morality, goodness and worth are not attached to how much we do.

And as changemakers, whatever it is that we want for the world, we must be willing to offer it to ourselves.

This is how we seed change into existence.

So if you’re in need of a little rest this week, or this virus creeps up on you soon too, here are a few reflection prompts for you:


1. What does your body want right now? Sleep? Water? To stay inside or go out? Note, notice your bodily sensations and feelings when asking yourself what you want. There’s a difference sometimes between what our mind wants, what we desire, and where our body is at.

2. What’s the worst that could happen from putting on the Out of Office this week and just being?  Is this thing truly more important than your health and wellbeing?

3. Can you offer yourself the grace of being human? Of being a living, breathing being that needs food, water, sleep, care and rest?

Love & courage,


Abundance Practices for Changemakers

Abundance Practices for Changemakers

I come back to the work of abundance because scarcity – like shame – isn’t a driver for a more just and regenerative world.

Capitalism will tell us that scarcity is a driver of innovation, a force behind creativity.

But I wonder where the stretches of our imagination and creativity could lie if we were to rest in being safe and satisfied? If our needs were met, what would still call upon each of us to be created or born?

Abundance is an experience we have not collectively felt for a long time. It was removed from our systems, the word branded as new age fringe, or woo.

Now is its time for reclamation.

So here are some simple abundance practices you can begin, designed by and for changemakers.

1. Share Resources.

Our world enforces scarcity in part by teaching us that everyone ‘needs to have their own’, and removing our shared common resources & spaces.

So let’s rebel. Join a:

  • Shared tool shed
  • A library
  • Community garden
  • A clothes swap
  • A co-op
  • A Pay It Forward group.
  • Stock (or use) a community fridge
  • Attend free concerts, lectures, seminars and webinars.

2. Beauty.

Find symbols of beauty, and place them everywhere.

Enjoy fresh flowers & art.

Fill your home with beautiful things (whether from a thrift store, travels or elsewhere). Beauty reminds us of what matters.

3. Money.

What makes you feel like there’s enough? What makes you feel abundant? How much do you need to thrive?

Consider practices like:

  • A certain amount of cash in your wallet,
  • A dedicated savings account & practice (regardless of amount)
  • Donating to people & causes that move you
  • Surprise gifts for friends & family
  • Spending money on what you actually desire.
  • Subscribing to papers, magazines & patreons you care about
  • Supporting the arts
  • Contributing to a pension fund
  • Ethical banking (divesting)

A note: Money is often wielded unethically in the name of capitalism or power-over structures, but is not the same thing as capitalism itself. Billionaires should not exist, and simultaneously struggle does not serve the you or the world. Much of our experience with scarcity relates to money, and so cultivating an abundance practice with money – ethically, with care, intention and honouring collective values – is not at odds with anticapitalism or changemaking.

4. Practice Pleasure

As the wonderful adrienne maree brown says, ‘pleasure is not one of the spoils of capitalism’.

The more we can practice pleasure the more we cultivate a sense of enoughness & satiety: requirements for true collective abundance.

This might be eating a blueberry, enjoying the sun on your skin, watching the birds, drinking a latte, enjoying touch & sex, a slow yoga practice, dancing, singing or dinner with friends. Take your pick.

5. Use the ‘special occasion stuff’

Light the candle.

Serve the nice glasses & plates.

Put the dress on.

Wear the sexy underwear.

Open that nice soap.

Drink that champagne in the fridge.

6. Ask for more.

This might seem counterintuitive, but many of us aware of the injustice of capitalism are conditioned to ask for less (this is doubly particularly so for women, queer folx and people of colour).

Asking for more (money, time, resources, respect etc) is about knowing what we need to flourish, and believing that it’s possible.

Because your thriving is not at odds with a more beautiful world. Indeed, it’s a requirement.

What would you add? Let me know on Instagram here. 

Self Help, Collective Liberation… and Capitalism?

Self Help, Collective Liberation… and Capitalism?

I often say that self-work is world-work, with many layers to its meaning.

I believe firmly that the two are interconnected.  That all the self-work I have done (therapy, coaching, plant medicine, seminars, books, meditation, travel) has benefitted the world and my activism.

Without it, I’d still be carrying infinite amounts more shame, guilt and rage. I would still be a greater part of cycles of violence and harm, approaching conflict with a combative lens.  I’d still believe in my powerlessness, rather than embracing my own agency.

But self-work in our culture has often been coopted by capitalism.

And self-help without collective liberation, without a vision for the freedom & love of all, is often just capitalism in disguise. 

So this week, I wanted to highlight some common self-work teachings that bring big-C energy, and offer a little more nuance to them.

1) Manifestation.

The first is the big one, manifestation.  I believe that our thoughts shape our reality, that the stories we tell ourselves about what we can and can’t have matter.

I believe that we can and should create lives that are flourishing, and that we have far more power than we let ourselves believe.

And I believe if we’re teaching ‘you can have anything you want’, without also understanding & framing it:

a) in the context of the climate crisis & wildlife loss we’re facing; &

b) that what really matters is that we manifest things that bring us joy, meaning & fulfilment, not just the endless pursuit of ‘more’…

Then it’s capitalism in disguise.

2) Enlightenment as a one-time, singular, personal experience. 

Freedom, enlightment, liberation – however we call it – ultimately is both inner and outer work.

The inner work to know, love and experience who we truly are. Outer work to create the conditions to express who we are safely and authentically in the world.

As Lilla Watson famously said, our liberation is tied together.

3) “You’re responsible for everything you experience”

Nobody chooses to experience illness, grief, sexism, racism, trauma, war, poverty.

This message doesn’t address the reality that sometimes bad things happen, and it’s not our fault.

Rather I believe we have agency over how we respond to our experiences, not everything that happens.

In acknowledging our agency, we understand we have the capacity for inner power and freedom, even if not externally yet.

4) Personal growth as an endless quest for self-improvement

It’s easy to become consumed with ‘fixing’ ourselves.  To orient our lives around our pain, to believe if we just do the next course, read the next book, join the next online course, that one day we’ll feel better about ourselves.

We’re searching for freedom & healing in the arena of scarcity and not-enoughness, and we can’t find them there.  Healing is wonderful, but as @iamtonijones powerfully sings, it is not our purpose. Maybe it’s time we ‘stop orienting around pain and start organising around pleasure’.

So this week I want you to get curious about your self work. 

How does it benefit you? How does it benefit community?

And how can you add a wider collective lens of justice & liberation to your inner work?

Laura x


Self Care Should Be a Driver to Community Care

Self Care Should Be a Driver to Community Care

I was on a podcast this week with Royal Homecare in Dublin on the topic of Caregiver Burnout, and I was asked an interesting question about what self care is (you can listen to it here if you like, though please excuse the poor audio quality – said mic has a funeral this week, and will be replaced).

It got me thinking – there’s a common misconception about what self care actually is.  It’s often sold to us as yoga, or green juice, or facemasks and bubble baths.  In other words, self care has become equated with wellness, and more specifically, with the wellness industry. self care is a driver to community care

This isn’t self care though.

Not to say yoga and green juice aren’t great or good for you, but real self care is the act of meeting of our physical, emotional and spiritual needs.

Real self care isn’t always pretty or comfortable.  It might be having that long held-off conversation with our partner, because we’re scared of the outcome.  It might be saying no to that project that we really want to do, because we don’t have energy right now. It might be going dancing or hiking instead of to the protest because we need something that nourishes us, even though the cause is important.

Self care also isn’t selfish – in fact, real self care should be a driver to community care.

You see, the more we practice care for ourselves, the more we are provided with the resources and energy to care for others.

We can’t pour from an empty cup – self care allows us instead to fill our cup so much that we can spill over and pour into others.

So the questions I want to leave you with this week are, what would an act of self care be for you right now?  What emotional, spiritual or physical needs are asking to be met?

And can you allow yourself the space to practice real, genuine care for yourself, knowing in the end, it’s not for you alone, but providing you the resources to go out and care for the world?

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