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Daily Archives: February 5, 2013

Compassion

Thich Nhat Hanh provided this beautiful quote about compassion and embracing who we are in this world. I need to be inside of someone else`s skin to build compassion.

The essence of love and compassion is understanding, the ability to recognize the physical, material, and psychological suffering of others, to put ourselves “inside the skin” of the other. We “go inside” their body, feelings, and mental formations, and witness for ourselves their suffering. Shallow observation as an outsider is not enough to see their suffering. We must become one with the subject of our observation. When we are in contact with another’s suffering, a feeling of compassion is born in us. Compassion means, literally, “to suffer with.”

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Imperfection

I re-blogged an Elisabeth Kubler-Ross quote this morning about resiliency. I am not always comfortable with new things or taking risks, yet I took huge risks in my adult life. I went back to university as a married adult with a family and, to some extent, we reversed roles for several years in our family. Kathy was the primary bread-winner. We sacrificed things others around us took for granted, but in the long run we ended up where we wanted to be, here.

I learned on this journey called life that bumps on the road are more worthwhile than perfectly planned and executed outcomes, if those happen. I found, the past few years, as hard as I wished for things to be a certain way did not make them that way. I hope it makes me a better person learning that things do not work out perfectly and that is part of the joy of life.

Elizabeth Carlson wrote this beautiful poem about falling in love with my imperfections. I am more complete with them.

I am falling in love
with my imperfections
The way I never get the sink really clean,
forget to check my oil,
lose my car in parking lots,
miss appointments I have written down,
am just a little late.

I am learning to love
the small bumps on my face
the big bump of my nose,
my hairless scalp,
chipped nail polish,
toes that overlap.
Learning to love
the open-ended mystery
of not knowing why

I am learning to fail
to make lists,
use my time wisely,
read the books I should.

Instead I practice inconsistency,
irrationality, forgetfulness.

Probably I should
hang my clothes neatly in the closet
all the shirts together, then the pants,
send Christmas cards, or better yet
a letter telling of
my perfect family.

But I’d rather waste time
listening to the rain,
or lying underneath my cat
learning to purr.

I used to fill every moment
with something I could
cross off later.

Perfect was
the laundry done and folded
all my papers graded
the whole truth and nothing      but

Now the empty mind is what I seek
the formless shape
the strange      off center
sometimes fictional
me.

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