Category Archives: Writing

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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confessions

I’d almost forgotten what it felt like to write for pleasure. I’ve been writing a lot for work lately but it’s just not the same. I’ve realized too what a wonderfully cathartic process writing is for me. I know this because I’ve felt very much not at peace since I stopped. I find my mind gets muddled by little petty things and I start to loose focus on what really matters.

Reading is the same way, and that I have been doing. But the religion theme was weighing down on me and I had to move on to something lighter. What I ended up reading was a book called “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”. Hardly light if you’ve read it. But something everyone should read. I made my book club read it and vowed to give it to everyone I knew having a birthday, which thus far has been my brother.

For me it was one of those eye opening books where you go “holy crud, does our government really do this??” Now I’ve had people tell me I’m naïve and everyone knows this is how our government behaves. Which frankly is a lame answer because it betrays a sort of “oh well” attitude. I actually bought a different car because of it… my immensely small effort to get away from our dependency on oil (despite the fact that those I love most work for oil companies!)

So my guilt’s been getting the better of me. I’ve almost completely stopped going to Catholic Church with my ex and the kids. It’s more than just being lazy – I do feel like it’s just not honest. And if I want to teach my kids honesty shouldn’t I demonstrate that? My ex has also been pissing me off lately by subtly playing the guilt trip of my non attendance. Which only made me not want to go more!

I’m still not sure what to do about my feelings or how to talk to the kids about my spiritual needs vs. theirs. I still fully support their church attendance I just want them to understand two things: 1) no matter how right you think your religion is, someone else feels just as strongly about theirs, 2) no one can prove any of it anyway. These are harder things to teach than they might sound like. And since I still believe very strongly that I’m totally right about things and others are wrong, I’m having a hard time figuring how to live out this particular theory in a very kind and generous way. Any ideas are appreciated!

notes from the edge of the river – II

These writings were from my solo vacation to a little red caboose cabin near Bandera, Texas this past week. A long weekend of relaxing, reflection and exploration.

I find that sitting out here in this quiet spot makes me want to write – you know, like with actual pen and paper! At home I always use the computer and I find manually writing to be tiresome. I just can’t go as fast as my brain wants to.

But here, the thought of turning on a computer almost repulses me. There is something calm and relaxing about moving the pen across paper. The brain moves slower as well – no longer trying to keep pace with the typical busy day. It’s relaxing and thinking evenly.

I thank God that I have the time, money and inclination for these excursions. There was a time with I had none of those things. It makes such a difference for my mental health.

The sunset is lovely. I’m looking forward to actually seeing stars tonight. I’m always amazed by the real night sky. The one hidden behind layers of city filth that is invisible to me. It’s that awesome expanse of stars and darkness that rekindles my thoughts of and thankfulness to God.