Compassion: a gift for you, a gift for the world!

A friend of mine posted on Facebook “What breeds compassion?”  I love this question.  If we are looking for compassion in our lives one of the most important questions we can ask ourselves is what can I do to offer compassion.  First let’s define what compassion is and isn’t.  Compassion is empathy, listening, support, asking what you can do to help the person through action, words, touch or time.  Compassion is not feeling bad for someone, asking what they are doing wrong, trying to fix it for them or judging them.  When we show someone compassion we create a space for them to be in their truth without judgement and when we are shown compassion we can come to the table without defensiveness and can show compassion in return.

So many of us are feeling a lot of negative emotions right now- fear, loss, confusion and uncertainty.  How can we “breed compassion” in the midst of these emotions?  One step at a time!  Take the time to offer yourself compassion first, then others, then compassion to the thing or person that you are having difficulty with.

When we feel that we are receiving compassion when we feel seen, heard and loved.  So how do you feel those things?  Acknowledge what you are feeling and going through.  See yourself in your dynamic, full paradoxical self.  Ask yourself what you need to feel held and seen.  Do for yourself what will fill your cup and/ or seek out the people who support that for you.  When we are able to show ourselves compassion the compassion we show others becomes more authentic.  It can be hardest to show ourselves compassion because we often judge ourselves harder than anyone else can judge us.  Compassion is not loving someone because they are without fault, it is loving them in the full spectrum of who they are.  The wounded pieces of ourselves that can create our shortcomings are the pieces that need compassion the most.  How can you love your “unlovable” parts?  Compassion.

For many of us, showing others compassion is easier than showing compassion to ourselves.  Being compassionate to others gives them the platform to show up in an authentic and honest way.  Having compassion is not saying that they are perfect or that some unacceptable behaviors are ok. Rather, it is saying “I see you in your complex humanity and you are lovable, you are worthy”.  Imagine how this can transform shame.  When I am in a shame place I am not showing up to express my love or passion.  When I am in shame, I am judging myself so harshly that I fear being seen. When I am shown compassion in this place I become comfortable enough to look at this piece of me and transform it into something that can serve me and others.  I believe we are born love, out of love and into our expression of love.  This love is at the root of our desire for connection and when we show others compassion we are inviting a human connection as opposed to judgements that separate us.  Connection says we are alike; this is compassion.sunSHINE

The hardest things/people to show compassion to can be the things/people that we fear or possibly even hate.  How do we show compassion to the person who so completely lives in disregard to everything around them?  How do we show compassion to the things or people that do things that directly cause us harm?  Now this is a touchy subject.  I by no means believe that people should ever accept abuse or harmful behavior from someone under the guise of forgiveness or compassion.  For my own spirit and mental balance, I may hold compassion for that person.  In my early 20’s I spent 1 ½ years in an abusive relationship. For most of that time I held myself in shame which made excuses for my abuser.  Today I hold compassion for him in my heart.  I have not seen or spoken to him in 12 years but I know he is a wounded soul.  My compassion shows me that because he was raised in an extremely physically and sexually violent home he had no choice to learn these things as a child (which does not excuse him for not learning a different thing as an adult).  I have heard that he is still living the same life he was when I was with him.  He is miserable, self-hating, self-destructive and lost.  I don’t know if he will ever find love for or from others, yet I pray he will because just as you are part of me, he is part of me, we are all connected.  Through seeing the connections of everything we can find compassion for everything.  Through this compassion, I can look at my abuser and know that he acted out of fear and when I am in a place of fear I can also present from a place of anger.  The seeds are within all of us- we are all human.

When we are compassionate to ourselves, our loved ones and our “enemies” we open a healing within us that promotes healing and humanity in our relationships and the world.  I think of the saying “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link” and I think humanity is that chain.  Every link I help make stronger, the chain becomes stronger.  Every link I make weaker, the chain becomes weaker.  What do I want to do with my tools and abilities?  What differences can I make in my family, my relationships, the world, this chain of humanity?  What changes can I make within myself by using compassion?    My hope for the world is that you have compassion for yourself, that is the starting place of a true revolution!

 

No More Resolutions! Resolve to change your life!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!

So, do you have a plan for this new year.  Are you looking for a new beginning?

This is the time of year when everyone is making resolutions to do something different.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t really work that way.  To make a real change in your life more needs to happen than just making a resolution.  Let’s talk about this.  Let’s figure out how to set you up for success.  Really the success is waiting right around the corner for you.  Whether you are interested in starting something new or stopping something old we are going to go through some tools to help you succeed with transforming your life.

Whatever it is you are embarking on it is important to understand how you got where you are and any underlying issues that have contributed to the manifestation of this particular issue.  Know that through healing what is injured within you, you can begin to make changes in the areas that are effected by that injury.

When I am quitting something or beginning something new tFeatured Image -- 126his is a process that I created that works really well for me.  I answered all these questions on paper and took pictures with my phone so that I always had the answers with me in case I needed to look at the answers to remind myself why I was doing this.

Why quit/Why start?  – Ask yourself why.  Why would embarking on this be a good idea.  How would following through with this help you reach your goals or live the life you want to live?

When I stop doing this thing or start doing this new thing, what will I have that I don’t have now? – What freedoms or joy will I gain?  I ask myself what I will gain in all areas of my life.  I want to really paint a big beautiful picture of the many wonderful things you will gain through making this change in your life.

What am I releasing that no longer serves me? – This is so important.  So often the thing that needs to be released is an old story or old trauma.  Sometimes this can be as simple as making the decision to release this “old” thing sometimes there is real work for healing that needs to be done.  Here you can start to name the things that you need to release in order to be successful in your endeavor.  If you are plagued by shaming self-talk then work on releasing shaming self-talk and start healing what has created that dynamic in your life in the first place.

What am I claiming – THIS IS THE BEST PART!  What are you claiming!?  What things are you inviting into your life that are being blocked by doing/not doing this particular thing.  There can be overlap between this list and the “What will I have?” list but this  list should definitely be longer and full of inspiring words that name what you are claiming.

What can I do or do instead? – If you are giving something up it is important to replace it with something else.  Look at the list of things you will gain from giving this thing up.  When you would usually partake in the thing you are giving up, instead do something that helps you progress towards the things that you are claiming.  Whether working on giving up something or beginning something new it is always important to set yourself up for success.  If you are deciding to quit eating sugar don’t go to a bakery.  If you want to start going to the gym daily be sure to schedule it and schedule it for a time when you will be able to go.  If you are not a morning person don’t commit to going to the gym early in the morning.  Ask yourself “what things can I do that will make it easier for me follow through with this decision?”

Affirmations – I create affirmations that speak to the mental, physical and spiritual aspects of the change I am making.  When I am having a difficult time with something it can be useful to use these affirmations in conjunction with tools that I am gaining through following through with all the above questions.

Is this easy?  Sometimes but frequently not.  Can you do it?  Yes!  This is more than a resolution.  This is you making a decision to change your life to create the reality that you want. You can make the decision anytime it does not take a new year.   Sometimes you may have a setback.  This is not a failure.  You can start again anytime you want.  Really, every day you have the opportunity to make a choice.  What are you choosing today?  What is your resolve?