Good morning, dear readers. It’s 5:44 a.m. here in the dark woods. No need to kindle a fire in the woodstove this morning–temperatures promise to bless us with Indian summer for the next five days (60 degrees F, 15 degrees C, and some days even higher.) Snow has all melted into memory!
I want to talk about compassion this morning. About the vital importance of compassion in our imperfect lives.
Many folks think compassion is an external act first. You extend it outward toward friends, neighbors, family. It’s a quality that–hopefully–we share with the world. That may be so with many of us.
But it seems utterly important that we need to start with compassion for ourselves, too. For not endlessly beating ourselves up when we mess up. For forgiving ourselves day after day. For allowing our imperfect humanity to exist within.
For most of my life I have struggled with self-compassion at times. It has always felt like I am here on this planet to learn to love and do the will of the Holy. And it has often felt like I fall short, over and over again. I used to beat myself up on a regular basis with this heart yearning to “do right” and live a life my soul would desire.
A couple of years ago I took an online class with a remarkable spiritual teacher, Jeannie Zandi. She experienced a “dark night of the soul” for more than four years before her heart opened to a very inclusive experience of universal love.
Jeannie showed that it’s possible to truly have compassion for all the different, dark, unconscious, screwed up, miserable, despairing, confused parts of our human selves. To learn to meet them with compassion and say, “Hello there, little ones” and truly listen instead of condemning them.
These days it’s much easier to simply allow it all to be, to feel compassion for the ways I didn’t succeed according to the heart’s desire, to say “Hello, human” instead of beating myself up.
This then naturally leads to compassion overflowing outward into others–family, friends, strangers, the world. It’s a compassion that radiates outward. It goes out and out and out because it starts here first.
OK, you vaxxers and anti-vaxxers, those of us who might take a vaccine for compassion, and those of you reacting in horror at the idea–it’s a joke. I sit here in the dark house in the mornings here in the woods thinking of blog titles that might intrigue a reader to pause and ponder compassion. This one popped into my mind and made me laugh out loud.
Can you fathom a world where we were all vaccinated for compassion? What a different place this world might be. But I believe the whole point of our earth-venture is to learn to naturally develop compassion. To keep trying. To learn to transform the viruses of fear and suffering that keep coming toward and within us. To meet them with equanimity, or at least a soft “hello darkness my old friend.”
In the meantime–let’s be kind to ourselves. Super kind. Amazingly kind. And then watch that spread its immunity out into the herd who is our brother and sister. (And for those times when we can’t be kind to others in thoughts, words or actions–let’s be compassionate toward ourselves and simply vow to do better next time.)
Day 19 of a seventy-five day journey to connect more deeply with God, Spirit, Holy, Love…to explore “What the Heart Knows” during the waning days of 2020.