Compassion has been hard to come by lately.
Swimming through such extreme transformations from moment to moment leave me feeling a little ungrounded, frazzled, unsure of my steps.
I find that I’m more inclined to beat myself up rather than commend myself for the immense leaps I’ve been taking and for the exceptional ways in which I’ve been growing. I’m becoming more and more aware of my growing sense of guilt—but for what?
Expanding? Finally allowing myself to explore the ideas of more, of possibilities that I had previously shut out, telling myself I wasn’t worthy, that I had enough, that I should be happy and satisfied and grateful for what I already have?
Well, I should. And I am, for every single little detail of my life. But there’s that nagging guilt when I allow myself to want to push through barriers and see what happens. To allow myself the time and luxury of baby steps rather than seeing things in black and white.
Change comes in many different forms. It comes swiftly and ripping at times, if that’s what we invite. But it can also come gently, sweetly, compassionately and with forgiveness, if that’s what we want.
It’s all up to us.
We find compassion in patience and the spaces we create for change and growth.
The more we see and treat ourselves as precious, the way we would a new-born baby or a small animal, the more compassion we allow to flow, because we are precious.
I don’t know how it’s come to be that we see ourselves as permanently flawed (which we are—and there is so much beauty there), striving to meet impossible expectations that come from outside of ourselves instead of within, always trying to be some super human that doesn’t exist. Because we’re so much more than that—we’re miracles of energy and nature and the universe. We’re the divine, physically manifest. We can do anything we put our minds to, and the first step is realizing the walking, breathing miracles that we are.
“Life flows from above-down, inside-out.” ~ B.J. Palmer, D.C., Ph.C.
The real first step is remembering to show ourselves the same love, support, kindness and forgiveness that we would extend to a loved one. We need to put ourselves first so that we can extend the best of ourselves to the rest of the world. We need to exercise raw, unadulterated compassion toward ourselves first and foremost, and then share and teach it. We need to become walking billboards for self-love, self-forgiveness, self-acceptance, and of course, that troublesome “C” word…
That being said, I think Webster’s has it backwards…
“Definition of Compassion: sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.”
I think it should read more along the lines of “a sympathetic consciousness of one’s own distress with a desire to nurture, care and heal one’s self, whereby allowing the extension of healing and the general alleviation of stress, pain and sorrow within humanity.”
Compassion also bring with it the underlying message of unconditional receiving. We’re so conditioned to give, give, give until it hurts, that all we have to give may never be enough. But that’s only because we’ve never been programmed to receive, to really be thankful for and appreciate the bounty we receive without the pang of guilt. If we don’t receive, we’ll have nothing more to give. We’ll interrupt, or worse, put a complete stopper on the natural flow of the universe. We were made as energetic instruments of give and take, of natural energy flow. When we feel unworthy, or beat ourselves up, or block the energies of compassion, gentility, forgiveness and empathy, we erect a fortress of defenses fueled by fear and lack. We create isolation and separateness, the two ultimate banes of universal flow.
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” ~ Dalai Lama
It’s all tied together—compassion, lightness, allowance, clarity, love, charity, generosity, healing. Block one and you block them all. Go through life devoid of one and you shun all the good company that follows. It all comes back to self-love and accepting the notion that it’s completely OK to be human. It’s what we are, in one form or another. We’re not made to be perfect, but somehow we’ve become stuck on the impossible idea of flawless existence.
But we’re already flawless. We’re perfectly imperfect, and that is one of the most basic, most beautiful truths we can ever give ourselves the gift of accepting.
Releasing guilt about emotions experienced, flourishing thoughts and energies manifesting, words expressed and truths finally acknowledged are the key components to freedom. Lately, it seems that freedom is the ultimate goal, the highest good of the heart and mind: freedom to dream, to aspire, to feel, to think and to love, without limits. To break free of the societal restraints we impose upon ourselves and to allow ourselves to really hear our soul song is to finally open ourselves to the true music of nature, the sweet lullaby of the universe that speaks to us all. And it resides in all of us, right in our bellies, just waiting for us to turn up the volume and clean out our heart’s ears.
As we release guilt, we see the gleaming face of compassion, maybe for the first time. We can embrace it, squeeze it, hold it tightly to our chests, hoping to absorb and consume it and become it.
We can…and we should.
The cooling flames of compassion can lick our wounds, cleanse our worries, detox our fears. It’s the universal salve to our soul’s sorrows, and all we need to do is invite it in and allow it to work its healing magic.
It all boils down to this: remain open. Allow entry to the energies that are swirling tirelessly around us so that the universe can do its work.
It’s all so effortless, when you think about it. We just need to stop trying so hard to block it. We all try so hard every day to rise above, to soldier through whatever we’re faced with. Maybe all we really need to do is lighten up, surrender, let go, release, and allow ourselves to experience the tingling warmth and all-encompassing love and forgiveness that compassion is guaranteed to bring.
We don’t need to carry the weight of the world on our hearts and minds. We’re allowed a break, and we’re very worthy of it. We can never afford to lose sight of that.
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Ed: Brianna Bemel