This one starts with you…

Jul 02, 2013

I have all of these wonderful, insightful, interesting stories swirling through my head about July’s word of the month. I just can’t seem to figure out where to start, which leads me to go right to the heart of the word and it’s definition.

Compassion: sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate itRed Christmas gift box and baubles on background of defocused golden lights.

Summer is here, the weather is hot, the outdoors beckons with promises of fun, adventure and vacations. Yet for some people life is happening. Illness, broken hearts, job loss, chronic pain, just feeling irritable/depressed/frustrated/stuck, overwhelmed, lonely, no vacation allotted, working two jobs to make ends meet, and so on.

It is the perfect time of year to cultivate compassion, awareness of suffering and the desire to alleviate it. Begin with yourself. Whether your having a bad day or experiencing something larger and more difficult or uncomfortable, offer yourself your own compassion. What small steps can you take to alleviate your distress? I like naps, walks, phone calls to a friend, watching videos of puppies or babies laughing, restorative yoga, asking for help with something if I need it and giving myself a day off when my body or soul needs deep rest.

I find that practicing compassion with myself helps to see when others need it from me. It feels a lot like “I’ve been there, I know what that experience is all about” or something close to it.

There may be nothing we can do to change someone’s situation, but we can always offer something to help relieve distress. A smile, a card, a meal, a phone call, a trip to the movies, flowers, hugs, allowing the other person to be without needing to change/fix/reprimand/problem solve.

I love this quote:

When we are being compassionate, we consider another’s circumstance with love rather than judgement… To be compassionate is to move into the right here, right now with an open heart consciousness and a willingness to be supportive.
― Jill Bolte Taylor, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey

As Dr. Taylor and the definition suggest, a vital key to compassion is the willingness to be there for someone, in some way, to brighten their day.

Take time each day this month to give and receive compassion to yourself and others. I’d love to hear your stories of compassion and how your life or someone else’s is better because of it.

If you enjoyed or were inspired by what you read, please comment below, Like, Share, and Tweet. With Gratitude, Cathy

2 Responses »

  1. Thank you for such a love-filled and gentle post! Compassion does not come naturally to me all the time. I’m rough and tough so I expect that of others.
    I have learned that the people I thought were weaklings were actually living, breathing examples of how I could learn to listen to my body and begin to cultivate compassion for myself!
    The truth is, I’m not as rough and tough as I like to think!

  2. You’re welcome!

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