Some people see limits where other people see possibilities. Some people say, “I can’t” when others always “can.” Some people give up and others never quit trying.
Somewhere in the pain of life we find our path. We fight against our circumstances which are always more than we ever knew. We curse God. We hurt the people we love the most. We run until we realize we can never outrun ourselves and there is nothing to do but to sit with those circumstances and learn the lessons.
How lonely we all are in our own lives, swinging away at our demons and fighting off the monsters that stalk us through the night. How much easier life would be if we could only stop working so hard at keeping up our image that all of life’s lessons seem to assert as the only thing worth fighting for. We have to be strong. We have to be successful. We have to be perfect… even when all we want to do is cry. Continue reading
Ask a roomful of people to consider a toothpick within a 2 minutes timeframe, to come up with as many uses for it as they can think of, other than the purpose for what it is made, and you will be amazed. The combined ideas will create a long list. Some of the ideas will be common in most people’s responses and some will be unique to maybe one or two people. That group of people will be pleased with their efforts.
Now, if you were to replace those people with a new roomful of people and ask them to do the same thing BUT you show them the first room’s list, you will end up with even more suggestions.
Brainstorming is a very useful tool when a company needs to get the creative juices flowing. It is a great way to stimulate new ideas for answers to problems that are not responding to the usual answers. But this practice also demonstrates how we see things. We often only see the purpose for which we think (our education, our upbringing, our beliefs)it has been created. In the exercises above you will always have those people who struggle to come up with any other ideas, or who produce only a couple more than the original use for which it was intended. And yet others produce a list full of really different ideas that everyone can agree, would work. Should an object not be perfect, it is often considered useless and is discarded. In the example above, if you opened the box and found a broken toothpick, most of us would throw it away. Some might even take the whole box back to the store and demand our money back. Continue reading
Who says that people do not care and that compassion does not have power to change lives. All it takes is just for each of us to do what we can where we are planted.
What really matters in our lives? What is worth our time and energy and what is just an illusion? None of these people may ever have fame or wealth. They may never be known, but they will be remembered. They will be remembered and loved for having made a difference in the lives of the people they lived amongst.
(Our Lady of Sorrows, painting by Tianna Mallett)
Around us so many people are facing such difficult times and more people are suffering with debilitating depression. I found this to be such a timely reminder of how difficult depression is and that so little can mean so much to a person who is struggling.
“Depression is humiliating. It turns intelligent, kind people into zombies who can’t wash a dish or change their socks. It affects the ability to think clearly, to feel anything, to ascribe value to your children, your lifelong passions, your relative good fortune. It scoops out your normal healthy ability to cope with bad days and bad news, and replaces it with an unrecognizable sludge that finds no pleasure, no delight, no point in anything outside of bed. You alienate your friends because you can’t comport yourself socially, you risk your job because you can’t concentrate, you live in moderate squalor because you have no energy to stand up, let alone take out the garbage. You become pathetic and you know it. And you have no capacity to stop the downward plunge. You have no perspective, no emotional reserves, no faith that it will get better. So you feel guilty and ashamed of your inability to deal with life like a regular human, which exacerbates the depression and the isolation. If you’ve never been depressed, thank your lucky stars and back off the folks who take a pill so they can make eye contact with the grocery store cashier. No one on earth would choose the nightmare of depression over an averagely turbulent normal life. It’s not an incapacity to cope with day to day living in the modern world. It’s an incapacity to function. At all. If you and your loved ones have been spared, every blessing to you. If depression has taken root in you or your loved ones, every blessing to you, too. No one chooses it. No one deserves it. It runs in families, it ruins families. You cannot imagine what it takes to feign normalcy, to show up to work, to make a dentist appointment, to pay bills, to walk your dog, to return library books on time, to keep enough toilet paper on hand, when you are exerting most of your capacity on trying not to kill yourself. Depression is real. Just because you’ve never had it doesn’t make it imaginary. Compassion is also real. And a depressed person may cling desperately to it until they are out of the woods and they may remember your compassion for the rest of their lives as a force greater than their depression. Have a heart. Judge not lest ye be judged.” Depression is not a synonym for being sad or having a bad day/bad week.” – Pearl
Too often we get caught up in the enormity of the need around us. We see so much work to do, with limited or unknown resources. We don’t know how to begin, where to begin, when to begin. We doubt ourselves. We doubt the value of what we might do and so we do not do anything.
We get overwhelmed with the macro and fail to ever see the micro. Continue reading
It is easy today to point to people in other countries and situations and talk about their shocking lack of compassion. How could they kill innocent children like that? How could they do that to women? How could that woman have done that to her child?
But I live in a world, in my small corner of life, where there are people living their lives without compassion. Their happiness seems predicated on making other people suffer. These are not random acts that occur that one could say it was a mistake, they didn’t mean it …. these are systematic, prolonged efforts to destroy other human beings with unkindness. These are people who are not only openly practicing hate in their own lives, they are teaching their children how to do the same. Continue reading
Eric Whitacre is one of the good guys. He may not seem like the obvious choice for singling out in regards to compassion but that is exactly why I have chosen him.
Most people see compassion as something outside of the themselves, something extra, something heroic that they do to help others. Some people argue that they have nothing to give or nothing more to give. They will say they have nothing to offer. Compassion is about making who you are and whatever you do . . . a gift. It is almost the process of valuing that in yourself and your willingness to share it with another that transcends all the barriers and transforms it into this magical energy that touches the lives of all it comes into contact with. Continue reading
A Spiritual Revolution – Compassion.