There are probably has been no other time in human history where we are so rich in resource but can get so easily depleted in spirit. We live in a competitive world where a sense of self-worth can be contingent upon outer criteria (SAT’s, Schools, grades, appearance…) Live in a world where disconnect is rampant, with every available tool to connect instantaneously!
In my limited life experience, the moments where I have experienced the most powerful source of human compassion and contribution was during traumatic experiences: accidents, trauma, natural disasters, where people go way beyond themselves. There is an incredible and seemingly effortless energy that exists. Incredible work gets done without ego and a need to recognized. What is most unfortunate, is that we sometimes need to experience a loss so great, to experience and appreciate our deeply human commonalities – compassion for self and for others and a deep sense of self.
At the Core of who we are, is a vital resource called Compassion: sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it. Compassion for the self and compassion for others is a higher level quality that needs to be cultivated and practiced. It is not sympathy, empathy, or just simple listening – but all of these together synergistically. When we help people and connect others suffering, we not only experience something positive, but a chemical reaction. Beyond releasing endorphins, experiencing euphoric feelings, we realize a very natural sense of healing from deep within. Compassion is what links us together… it is the bridge.
So how do we take all of this on? How do we nurture spirit? Can we take a step individually to connect to a commonality of human experience and a collective shared reality. Let’s start with self!
Compassion for yourself:
To be your “self”, you must be surrounded by others who will accept, stimulate, and nurture you – (Bob Wiersma, my friend and mentor)
It is important to drill down to the resources we have internally, as well as appreciate the forces we don’t necessarily see, but can feel if we better attune ourselves. Recall a moment when you felt fully understood and supported. A who, what, where approach to how did this help you feel valued.