“When you allow yourself to be moved by somebody’s story, even when you leave council, even when you step out of the room and onto the yard, you can’t pass by that human being in the same way again. They’re not your enemy anymore because your heart has opened and you feel empathy towards them.”
Story is so important. Compassion and empathy is an amazing bridge between people.
It takes away the facade of “other.” We have no problem passing judgement and making assumptions about “those people.” Especially when they’re driving slowly in the fast lane, or taking forever at the register writing an ever-loving check.
What if everyone wore their story on a t-shirt? Or on a scrolling marquee in the back of their car?
“I may be rich and white, but I’m miserable and some days it’s hard for me to even get out of bed.”
“I had cancer when I was a kid and because of my medical bills my family is really poor. And I’m pretty sure they resent me for it.”
“I stole diapers today from Walmart because I was too embarrassed to tell my wife we couldn’t afford them.”
I’m just saying, we wouldn’t be so quick get all asshole on people.
Since no one’s lobbying for t-shirts, I say we just practice compassion anyway. How bout we just assume that they have it just as rough as the rest of us regardless of their situation?
We have watched countless actors and singers overdose. And we think, but you had everything! How could you just throw it all away?
The truth is, we will never know what it’s like to walk a day in someone else’s shoes, so why not just give them the benefit of the frickin doubt.
Why not just be love.
We have many many heroes who have proven that love works. Ghandi, MLK, Jr., Princess Diana, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Leo Tolstoy, Dalai Lama, Eleanor Roosevelt, Florence Nightingale, and so so many more. We revere them and put them on a pedal stool, yet the principles they lived by are totally attainable.
I’m not saying go save the world, I’m just saying be more patient, more loving, more kind.
The crazy part is: Love feels better. This is not rocket science; believe me, if it was, I wouldn’t get it. We get the benefit of extending compassion! Which is not of course why we do it, it’s the added bonus. And yet, it’s not our first instinct.
In fact, it is our prehistoric or tribal brains that insist on separation. It was a survival technique for centuries I imagine, but since there is enough food and shelter to go around (for the most part), I think we can chill out on the tribal bit. Don’t you think?
Watching the above vid, did you notice your mind wondering who did what? So we can box them into the appropriate categories. This makes us feel safe somehow. Again, tribal brain. A protective mechanism that serves a purpose at some level, but then draws deeper lines beyond that.
Sure, for safety purposes, pass a little judgement, but in the grocery store line or at a restaurant … how bout some compassion instead.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Mother Theresa, this is an ongoing practice for me. Elisa too. She loves to yell at incompetent people over the telephone;)
When she hangs up the phone, she always looks at me and says, “I know. Compassion. I get it. But that lady was a frickin idiot!”
Practice. It’s all part of the practice.
I leave you with this: Get your compassion on. Everywhere.
#Onward to love