Compassionate and creative resistance

Max St John
2 min readFeb 2, 2017


On the 31st January at 8.30pm UK time, we held a conversation on ‘What does creative and compassionate resistance look like?’

Five people across UK and Europe, working in businesses, massive government institutions and crazy initiatives.

It came out of my nagging guilt that I should be ‘doing’ something more, about what I’m seeing and experiencing. In the thought that ‘I can’t just stand by and watch’, I might be standing by and watching.

I can’t do the conversation justice, but I’m going to share a few of the insights I got. You might like them, you might not. Both are good learning opportunities.


If you feel capable, the most subversive and radical action is practicing unconditional understanding. Meeting every single person, however different to you, with an open heart. Offering a (genuine) smile to every person you meet on the street.

This is not ‘doing nothing’.

The world has to cater for many worldviews. The world has to hold different approaches. There is a place for resistance, for marching and petitions. There will be fighting. Don’t deny the anger and fear. It is what it is.

And there is a place for compassion and staying out of the narrative. Creating the possibility for connection, a sense of ease and a space outside the maelstrom of fear that’s whipped up.

Just as we have people fighting and resisting, we also need people to offer the space for something else, too. To care for ourselves, come back to ground, so we can provide care for others too.

To claim one of these is wrong is to argue with reality, and believe you have the answers. There are no answers. This is complex. The world is chaos.

And if this is your practice, if this is your work — don’t wait for a workshop or a training course. This is every day shit. Every. Day.

Show up in the office, hold people together.

Show them that you can speak your truth and survive conflict.

In a world where we exist in bubbles, behind screens, feeding ourselves and each other a diet of fear, the risk of polarisation is massive. The potential to be sucked into the collective fear is always there.

Build bridges.

Go where you need to go, be where you need to be.

Be real. Be true. Whatever that means to you.

Don’t get sucked into the oppressive voice in your head.

Live moment-by-moment. Because that’s all there is.



Max St John

I teach people how to navigate conflict and have conversations that matter.