Compassion vs. compassion

My new years resolution was to blog about compassion (in support of Karen Armstrong’s charter). Specifically, my daily attempt to maintain a compassionate outlook and breath a new life into living truly compassionately. I’ve found both the writing and the action more of a struggle than I’d like to admit.

The writing struggle was easy to explain, I just had a baby – good luck being productive with a 2 month old! But compassion? Well I just wasn’t feeling it… Reflecting on a day I couldn’t pick out one example. It was as though I wasn’t able to tell what was compassion and what wasn’t – which just seemed ludicrous. It was like being blind to only one thing.

Initially I chalked this up to a lack of sleep and hot showers. Two very underappreciated necessities until they disappear. I even drafted a blog post about how without these basic needs being met it was nearly impossible to see beyond one’s self. That of course is pure bullshit. People with much less manage compassion on a far grander scale than I ever will.

Now, looking back, I believe it to be a matter of not seeing the forest for the trees. When we look for Compassion (big C) it can be quite intimidating. The word takes on a life of its own. It becomes something so great we only expect to see it in the wake of a disaster such as Haiti. It’s too big to be happening to or by a very ordinary me.

I needed to change my point of view to remove the blinders. I started looking for compassion (little c). And there it was, all over the place. A “thank you” or “I’m sorry”, an acknowledgment of another you might have otherwise overlooked, giving into the bedtime story request when all you want to do is sleep. These are also acts of compassion. They are the seeds that nuture what allows us to ultimately feel and act on Compassion. Don’t overlook these small acts, search them out. I believe it’s the small c’s that will ultimately change everything.

And on that note, I’d like to thank the little one who liberates me from sleep on a regular basis 🙂


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