“It is easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business.”
The bee in the above picture is just “bee’ing”. It is not worried, nor afraid. It doesn’t think about how it will find another flower, or another garden. It just is. It is mindful while gathering up the nectar for its hive. Is it happy? I don’t know, what I know for sure is it is following its instinct to know what to do next.
Lately, as I read, sift through my Facebook news feed, and meditate, the word compassion keeps popping up in my line of vision. I see it everywhere, even when I close my eyes. So I found it was no coincidence that the next Chapter in The Artist Way, is yes, Recovering a Sense of Compassion. Being so passionate about research (that’s the Scorpio in me) I decided before writing this post, to go on a quest: A Compassionate quest! Here is what I found:
Compassion, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is:
:sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it
Albert Schweitzer states:
“Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.”
Many of the online dictionaries also insert the word “pity” in their definitions of compassion. I did not include those as pity in my mind refers to seeing the other person as lesser than I am. No one is lesser. Eckhart Tolle explains it well in a video I was watching this morning. He says in order for compassion to be present, the portal of surrender must be open. Compassion and allowing go together, they are linked to allowing what is to be. In other words, self-compassion, is allowing yourself to be exactly as you are right at this moment, in the moment that you are in; just like the bee!
When it comes to others, it is the same thing. When we demand that another person be different, or “more enlightened” as soon as our thoughts turn to “OMG! He/she should know by now!!” we are not being compassionate towards them. We are judging their place in the world. We are trying to convince ourselves, that they should be making different choices, seeing things in another perspective (maybe your own) and we, in fact are projecting all this on ourselves because we do not want to see the truth of who we are: flawed in the most perfect ways.
Imagine if I starting complaining about the bee: “OMG Bee, you are on the wrong flower, 10 bees passed before you on this flower, you will get the best pollen in the garden accross the street. And oh. while you are at it, flying diagonally only stops you from going faster, why don’t you try…”. and so on!?
In her book The Courage to be Yourself – A Woman’s Guide to Emotional Strength and Self-Esteem, Sue Patton Theole explains:
“Accepting our feelings as they are provides an inner climate that’s conductive to growth and change. Safe in the arms of acceptance, we no longer need to pretend. We can speak out and bring secrets into the hope to be healed. Acceptance nurtures, and nurturing allows us to flower into the beautiful blossoms we are meant to be.
Honoring where you are and what you’re feeling allows you to choose to move on to something different if you want. Give yourself a break. You’re okay, and you’re on the road to being even more okay.
Accepting yourself as you are is an act of forgiveness (and I say compassion) toward yourself. Forgiving yourself makes it easier to forgive and accept others” p. 71
Compassion, allowing, acceptance.. they go hand in hand. If I think about all the times I sat up worrying about what will be, it drives me to drink. In the end, the future happened and LOOK, I am still here. I know, it is the greatest challenge not to worry. It is one of the most difficult things I have to work on.. Letting it be, to quote the Beatles, is compassion at its best, yet, how can one “Let it Be” when someone close to them is dying, when there are people starving in the world, when there are wars going on RIGHT NOW we have no control over. When we are struggling, like I am, to feed our families. How can we not worry when our child is hurting, or when our parents are fighting. HOW?
How can I totally love and be compassionate with myself when worry takes over? I can’t!
If I dig deep, real deep, I see fear. Fear that if I accept the state of my household, the state of my town, the state of Syria, or the state of the world, that I am giving up! I am waving the white flag and saying.. “Nope I don’t care anymore about what goes on in the world, I hate you all!! “ The opposite is true. If I, Kim Larocque, sit here right now and allow compassion, I will realize first, that none of this is my fault (who am I to be so egotistical anyway?). That the world is still turning, and yes, there is love going on everywhere you look.
Flowers are still blossoming, people are holding hands, and puppies are being born, yet also, people are dying, some are suffering, and acres and acres of land is either being burned, flooded or drying up. I have no control over this. If I allow the state of who I am to be, I am allowing the state of the world to be.
What can I do to change the world?
LOTS, absolutely lots. Yet, it must start right here with me. Cliché, yes, impossible no!
How does this tie in with my journey through The Artist’s Way? It is all about creation. The artist in me wishes to create a world free of worry and full of compassion. Yet, if I seek to do it perfectly, and I am not being so kind to myself am I? If I want to take that perfect picture, or write the perfect post, I will never write or take pictures.
“The need to produce a great work of art makes it hard to produce any art at all” – Julia Cameron
The need to be perfect makes it hard to be. That is what I sum up compassion. Allowing myself to just be, even when I have just 1 dollar in my bank account for the next 20 days. That is my challenge for this month. Allowing the obstacles to be there without judgement. Sending compassion every single time I berate myself. Allowing and being willing to accept what is right here and now. To know that “all will be well” and by releasing my doubts and worries inside a bubble of my own making .. Most of all by surrendering, not waving a white flag in defeat, but by raising my own flag of greatness!
This is this week’s challenge. I wrote for FemCentral last week, the post: I’ve Been Waiting for this All My Life. talks about my dream vacation. Basically, I am not going anywhere in particular, what you will read, is my vacation from my brain. Away from what pops up to tell me I what is wrong with my life.
If I am going to practice any form of compassion in this challenge, it will be towards myself. So that I can be compassionate with the rest of the world.
“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”
―Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia