Heartivism is a movement that exists at the intersection of activism and heart.
We believe that how changemakers approach their work in the world is as important as the work itself; the journey is as meaningful as the destination. The heartivist path invites changemakers to look inward and cultivate practices that sustain activism over the long-term, while also building greater peace, connection, and kindness in the world.
Ari Nessel, Founder of The Pollination Project, meets with Nora Kramer, Founder of Yea Camp and TPP grantee, and discusses heartivism and activism. What does it mean to be an activist today? How would we like activism to change?
Listen to TPP’s Founder talking about the founding principles, the approach and the meaning of “heartivism”.
I am a servant, not a savior
Heartivism is an inner recalibration of activism, centered not on saving the world but serving it. Saving the world is about “me,” and reflects a set of judgments about what others should be or do. A stance may become a fixed part of ourselves, and judgments about others flow from the values we want to signal that best align with this posture. In this scenario, we are self-righteous and most focused on changing everyone else.
Serving the world isn’t about ego, but about boundless love. This loving kindness shakes us from the mirage of disconnection and allows us to meet each other beyond the binary, in our true fullness. A servant’s heart decouples our ego from activism, freeing us from the need to be “right” or to make judgments. We can hear different views with curiosity and openness. Here, we are self-reflective; the person we are most focused on changing is ourselves.
I offer my silence & attention
Heartivists listen. To truly listen, we need two things: silence and attention. Silence is not the absence of sound, but the presence of everything: infinite possibility; and attention is a state of openness that assumes there is something worth discovering. In fact, the word itself comes from the Latin “ad tendere”, meaning “to stretch toward.”
I am in love, not in attachment
Heartivists let go of self-centered attachment to what people “should” be or do. Attachment clings tightly to beliefs and systems, seeks power, and drives us to compete with each other. We lean into attachment out of fear, and some of us never let it go. We might even mistake it for love, even as it builds in us like a dam, preventing the river of actual love from flowing freely. Detachment isn’t apathy or indifference. It is a unifying acceptance of ourselves and others that acknowledges both our interconnectivity and the vastness within each of us.
Do heartivists sometimes feel anger, or weep for the suffering of others? Of course. But when our chief motivation is loving kindness, the very things that we care about most aren’t also the things that rot our empathy. We can be joyful, even playful, and infinitely more effective. Fueled by love and unchained by attachment, we grow and change as we serve a world that is made more compassionate not just by the outcome of our efforts, but in the very fact of our existence.
Our hearts can be soft and also wild, knowing that the beauty of love is that it continually renews within us, even as we give it away.