Compassion

Inner-Light
Photo by Joseph Vasquez

Yesterday I was flooded with Light at the writing workshop I facilitate at the county jail. We may not think of Light being in there. I’ll be honest: many times it doesn’t seem to be. But that’s not because there isn’t Light inside everyone there, it’s because as souls living in this human experience we keep shutting that Light down out of fear.

If we recognize and dissolve fear sooner, maybe we never have to suffer. Maybe the struggle thrives in the fear of releasing what we know, which is, all too often, fear itself. It’s the fear that holds us back, and then it’s the fear of fear that holds us back even further.

There are some people that don’t know “there’s a huge difference between a dog that is going to eat you in your mind and an actual dog that is going to eat you.”*

Here’s the miracle: we get to decide what’s real for us. That choice is part of our journey.

Yesterday one woman wrote about being in fear to actually articulate any of her “sins”. It resonated with me; I grew up in a Midwestern town where “confessing sins” in front of large groups of people was thought to be healing.

What’s healing for you is exactly what’s healing for YOU. So if confessing your errors in front of groups of people can free you, than that’s healing. But for this woman, she was so wrapped up in a need of approval (as so many of us are) that the idea of “confessing” to a group was debilitating. It created more shame for her.

She can’t yet see that the healing is between her and herself. All she has to do is forgive herself for whatever it is she’s so afraid to say. She’s not a violent criminal; she’s never physically harmed another being. She has shortfalls that are human and that just happened to land her here.

She was brave enough to share one of her “confessions” with us: One day, she got home late from work and found a bowl of peanut butter on the counter with a spoon in it. She asked her husband why it was there. He said, “That was your son’s lunch.” She has been carrying shame around about this peanut butter lunch for years. THIS is the sort of thing she’s been holding onto.

So many of us are mamas, so many of us are fathers, so many of us are caregivers, are wives, are partners. Life asks a lot from us, right? I will say my son has never eaten only peanut butter for lunch, but that’s only because he’s allergic. He’s eaten carrot sticks and cheese sticks for lunch. He’s eaten cereal on occasion. He’s eaten goldfish. And some days we just snack around all day with apples and things from the garden and popcorn with a movie and a little guacamole: random things around that are healthy enough. Things that are fueling his growth in the same way peanut butter could.

The biggest take away from my day was the judgment we all too quickly pass on one another. I can assume that if I didn’t live alone at length with a toddler that meals might have looked different. But as a mom, my job is to feed him and nourish him. We don’t have to cook all day long. In fact, if we do, we cook and clean and cook and clean and cook and clean once more. If this is powerful for you and healing for you, it’s a victory. For others of us, we have a need to express, and we need to take time to put ourselves out in the world and live in our purpose. And really, what could be more nourishing for our children than us actually taking the time to Love ourselves?

I could tell hearing this woman’s voice that it wasn’t healing and powerful for her to make perfect meals. She said herself that she had trouble letting go of that, trouble letting go of trying to be the perfect mother.

We ARE perfect mothers because we ARE perfect mothers. The moment we begin to compare our story to another’s, it’s no longer us; it’s our ego. The moment we’re in ego, we’re in fear. And in fear, we can’t nourish anyone.

Compassion is a choice of Love. Yesterday in that group, progress was made for every person in the room. I’m grateful. It was another day of miracles.

Try starting the day out with an intention. I started yesterday (thanks to my tea bag) with compassion. And I ended up here full of gratitude. It’s a choice.

* quote by Jim Carrey, Graduation Address to the Class of 2014, Maharishi University

 


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