In reading the recommended book for the month, The I of the Storm by Gary Simmons, I was reminded about the value of perspective. In the book, Simmons suggests that when we are in conflict or worry or fear often it’s not an actual threat but the perspective we are viewing the situation from that disrupts our peace.
My sister-in-law, Keira, is one of my greatest examples of walking the talk when it comes to compassion. As a new mom, she often felt overwhelmed when dealing with her crying infant in public. That experience gave her tremendous compassion for other young mothers. One day while visiting the San Diego Zoo with her family, she noticed a young mom with an infant and a toddler. The mom couldn’t quiet the crying infant. Nothing was working and Keira could see the young mom’s frustration and anxiety mounting. Keira left her family with her husband, went over to the woman and offered to hold the crying child. She prefaced it by saying, “I know you don’t know me, but I promise I will stay right here and just give you a break.” Within a few minutes, Keira had calmed the baby and given the mom a moment to calm down, regroup and collect herself.
To me, Keira acted with courageous compassion and from a place of Oneness. At that moment, she allowed God to work through her, as her, to provide support to another human BEING.
Simmons offers that most conflicts arise from the perception of “competing needs, wants and values – combined with misperception, defensiveness, and the need to be right.” Keira didn’t judge the woman’s parenting style. She didn’t say, “I would never take a toddler and an infant to the zoo without help.” Instead, she simply noticed a situation and did “unto others and you would have them do unto you.”
That really is compassion in a nutshell, right? Without judgment or ridicule, simply treat those around you the way you would want to be treated.
As I was reading Simmons words, I thought of a great opportunity to practice compassion every single day: driving. I can judge, criticize and potentially say some unkind things about fellow drivers or I could give them the benefit of the doubt and choose to see them as an example of the Divine. I could think, maybe they honestly didn’t see me or any number of other thoughts that will allow me to find the compassion I need to forgive or forget or at the very least offer some grace.
Compassion. All it takes is a willingness to see past our own definition of ourselves and instead see the oneness in others. Namaste