Monday, October 20, 2014

The Little Things

I am drinking wine.
I should mention that I hardly ever drink anymore.  I would truly make the world's worst alcoholic.  I long ago decided that the migraines those drinks bring on are NOT worth the couple hours of fun I might have while imbibing.  Bring on the kiddie cocktails!!
However, sometimes, I make an exception to my rule.

Lately, I think my sisters and I have been enjoying a little "wind down with the wine" time more frequently than usual, as we go through this challenging journey with our mom.  Sometimes it is good to just allow yourself to forget about your problems for a little while.
Or, if your day has been particularly bad, it's not always a horrible idea to cut loose and throw all yours sorrows to the wind.
However, this tends to be an action you may regret the following day.

I think I will stick to one glass of vino, followed by some sweet tea. :)
Nothing like a sugar rush before bed.
I was furiously looking around my room today for a notebook with some important information jotted down in it.  I, of course, have NO idea which notebook it is in, and since I own 584 notebooks, I may never locate it.
However, I did locate a list I made some time ago, while doing some exercise from one of my gazillion "self-help" books.  I vaguely remember the assignment.  They listed a bunch of words, and you were to choose ten that represented your personal values.  I thought it was a pretty interesting exercise.  I might even go try and figure out what book that was in so I can list the words here for you, and you can give it a try.
Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to use each word as a post topic for the next ten days.  Since they are things I feel strongly about, they would probably make good subjects to pontificate on.  
So, today, I will start with number 1 on my list:
A friend once told me he had noticed that whenever he was upset about something, or if things weren't going well for him, he could see me take on his pain.  It seemed almost upsetting to him, like he couldn't understand why I appeared to hurt when he hurt.
And it was true....I really did take that on.  I feel bad when something hurtful happens to someone I care about.  I wish I could be like that character in "The Green Mile" who has the power to suck all of the pain out of a person.  
At times, I think I may have a little bit of an overload in the compassion department.  I am sure a lot of us have that same affliction.
I can not bear to see an animal who is any less than completely pampered and loved. (You may have picked up on that by now.)  I can barely watch the news anymore, because it is just too horribly overwhelming for me.  I can't stomach the atrocities occurring everyday.  
How has humanity stooped to the levels it is at?  How are there so many people out there who seem to have no idea what compassion even is?

If everyone in the world would embrace the idea of feeling compassionate toward one another, can you even imagine what the outcome would be?
It doesn't mean we have to agree on everything.  Heck, we don't have to agree on anything...but instead, be sensitive to the feelings of others, and genuinely care about their well-being and happiness.

I think the difference between a person being compassionate or not, is their ability to let go of their own desires and needs, and concentrate on the needs of others. 

 Of course, we all have responsibilities we need to attend to, and we have to take care of ourselves as well.  However, if we are so wrapped up in only thinking of ourselves, we never allow the good in us to flow out into the world, and touch the people around us.  I'm pretty sure that is why we are all here in the first place.  To connect with each other.  Not to make a gazillion dollars, and live in our mansions, tucked away from the public eye.  We all have a purpose, and it is bigger than ourselves.
^^^^^^I LOVE THIS. ^^^^^^

The other day I was talking to my dear friend about "feeding her soul."  For me, it has always been easy to find things that fit that bill.  Music is such an obvious choice...and since I am the epitome of "artsy fartsy," I just stick with all of the "creative" endeavors that I have always loved.  
It's kind of like running for a beauty pageant.  (I know, I know....SCHOLARSHIP pageant)
If you aren't a musician or dancer, what the heck do you do for the talent portion, right?
I love the creative things these girls come up with....but I can see where finding whatever it is that feeds your soul could be similar to that.  I think we often feel like it has to be something super creative.  But it really doesn't. It could be solving math problems!

I love the quote above, because I think the combination of passion and compassion is beautiful.....and the thought that it leads you to your true purpose...well, that is just cool.
I think that is what this blog has done for me.  Writing it is very therapeutic.  It makes me sit down and think for an hour or two everyday (depending on how long it takes to pick out graphics!) it allows me to connect with people, and the feedback I have gotten FEEDS MY SOUL.  I have been reduced to tears over some of the messages I have received, saying that my words have made a difference in someone's life.  That is exactly what I hoped would be the outcome.  And I also think that is exactly what passion+compassion can accomplish.
Some days, however, words just don't do the trick.  And that is when we need to just open our hearts, our ears, and our arms, and be good listeners.  I think that is one of the best gifts we can give anyone.

I feel that compassion is something that typically comes quite naturally to us.  (And for those that it doesn't, hopefully we can be good examples of it, and soften those hard hearts a little bit.)
The hardest thing for me, however, was self-compassion.

How many of us have struggled with this?  I am guessing all of us.  It is a lifelong process.  It is also a really important process.  How can we be compassionate toward others when we don't feel compassionate toward ourselves?  I think that learning to love yourself, and take good care of yourself (physically, mentally, emotionally) is the best way to strengthen your ability to love others.  If we feel free from all of the burdens we load ourselves down with, because we are unable to forgive ourselves, respect ourselves, or even like ourselves, we can finally look at the world through new eyes.  To feel peace and love within yourself opens you up to the opportunity of sharing all the wonderful qualities you hold within you with the rest of the world.  You are a special gift with an amazing purpose....never underestimate the good you can do.  Society makes us feel like you need to be rich and famous to make your mark in this world.  I think that is ridiculous.  I think of all the amazing things those people could be doing....but instead, so many of them are just living their lives in their $18 million dollar mansions, eating caviar, getting mani/pedis.(Kudos to those who DO use their good fortune to help others.)
We, on the other hand, have the opportunity to make a difference in other people's lives every day.  It doesn't have to be something big.  It really is the little things that make the biggest impact anyway.  
I have been challenging myself to make eye contact and smile whenever I walk past someone.  (I actually have a hard time with that...I feel too shy.) I always go out of my way to talk to the person working the cash register whenever I am shopping...and try to find some way to brighten their day.  Whenever an opportunity presents itself, and I can help someone, I do.  A few months ago, I was helping a man in a wheelchair at the laundromat.  After holding the door for him, and then helping him get his clothes into the dryer he said "You sure like to help, don't you?"  Then, he came over and talked to me for an hour while our clothes dried.  (I wasn't expecting THAT much reaching out!) But, it did feel good knowing he was happy to have someone to talk to....even if we did talk about cars the whole time. ;)
It really is just the simple things.

So...embrace compassion.  And embrace your passion.
And find your true purpose.

And I will go look for that darn book!

Happy Monday. xo

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