I have vacillated this week between knee-jerk reactions of moving to Canada, of sadness, and of disbelief.
Then my go-to move takes over as I sink deep into compassion with the news of Iran, funeral processions with dozens being trampled, and a plane inadvertently shot down. A country on fire for months with a Prime Minister who denies climate change, and I can only think this seems to be a theme among the greedy.
I want to sob about the souls lost. Referring to casualties has always baffled me—I believe it came from a reference to the casualty unit in a hospital—but nothing about souls lost is casual to me. No, not even those deemed evil in this world. Never has a soul been killed with vengeance have I found a cell in my body wanting to celebrate.
Casualties, whether they are referred to as one billion animals in Australia or 176 souls on a plane leaving Tehran, are not casual. They are catastrophic. The 40 souls following a funeral procession trampled, horrible. The lives lost to gun violence, gut-wrenching. I want to wail in mourning, and I think at this moment my voice would be drowned out by the voices of keeping our country safe, our borders protected, and making sure others know not to mess with the United States.
One of my favorite pastimes is compassion. It has done me wrong a few times when I easily conjure it up for another, only to be disappointed by their actions or words. But hey, their behavior isn’t about me. Remembering this cycle keeps it easier for me to find compassion.
I do not have to dig that deep for compassion—it is inherent in me. It also hurts like a motherf*cker and makes me depressed or at least causes my emotional state to flatline once in a while. I messaged someone today when we were sharing the news of the world and my urge to move away and take my sweet boys with me. I also said I know I must stay and show compassion. There are many of us with this superhero cape of love and understanding—even though deep down we are pissed off that an eye for an eye seems to be most government protocol centuries later.
I feel pushback when I voice my fundamental beliefs about compassion. When I tell others our mindfulness practice is for the greater good of all beings no matter what. No matter if you would never vote for them or invite them to dinner, compassion is for all beings. I think this is the real test of compassion and some of the key elements of spiritual teachings. It is not easy and it is not, “Hey, you are a horrible person and do horrible things (insert many leaders and politicians in many countries) but you are off the hook because I have compassion for all beings.” Rather, it is understanding that deep wounds run just like that—deep. And we are often dealing with generations of what others find evil.
Compassion reminds me when others are touting the good old U.S. of A. and “don’t mess with us,” there is another country full of souls terrified their children and sacred loved ones may meet demise with rockets sent to make a point. I feel the same fear in the boundaries of our country. We are the same, and yet my despair at times is because many think we are separate.
We are not.
I do feel deeply that no matter who the enemy is on the latest news report, who the terrorist is, whether from our country or another, we all begin as someone’s baby. I think we would find it pretty hard to blow up a baby. So may we not blow up each other.
We act from fear or love. Our compassionate army must continue to come from love. And the last several years or perhaps decades (think Vietnam War) we must move forward from a place of activism and advocating.
Compassion, activism, and advocating. We march with our words, with our intelligence, and with our calls to congress. We march with our hearts, no matter what comes piercing at them, and we remember we are a global community. Regardless of walls people want to build or border jails built in a frenzy of fear or votes. We march with love. We do not harm but take no sh*t and we do not condone violence of any kind.
The cycle of violence began centuries ago. We hold tight to our moral compass of love no matter what, and fierce pens of protest until the ink runs dry. Then we write more. We call, we write, we march, we educate, and we begin again.
What to do if you are an empath, a compassionate soul by nature? Get very quiet for a while. Very quiet and determine where your soul can best serve. Do you need to write to the politicians elected? Do you need to focus on your smaller community and ensure the next generation is informed and loving? Are you able to travel and let our global family know we care and we will advocate for peace?
What I do know and as uncomfortable as it is—we do not move away. We move in closer, we hope, and we build this Compassion Army for all souls on this earth, not just the given country we reside in.