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Filtering by Tag: compassion

A Practice in Compassion

Emily Porta

You are checking out at the grocery store, fumbling for your wallet,  you pay and leave, never really noticing the cashier. The waiter takes your order....did you get their name? You wait at a red light, people crossing the street but you stare off, wondering about what is for dinner. No big deal really. You are just living your life, doing your thing, but in these routine activities there is another person involved - another living, breathing, human being. 

They have a story to tell. That cashier is working 3 jobs so she can pay the rent on her 1 bedroom apartment and go to school part time while raising her 3 kids, alone. That waiter spends all day asking people what they want, but inside, no one ever asks him what HE would like or want. Those people crossing the road are going somewhere special to celebrate with friends. 

While self compassion is so vital, so is compassion for others. When we see others around us, we begin to see the world differently. It isn't just about you. It is about all of us. Next time you are at the grocery store, look up. Look into the eye of that cashier and genuinely wish them well. Or if you see the waiter, talk to them and just ask them how they are doing. Those people crossing the side walk, send them well wishes and peace. Taking a moment to be present with those around us is a life giving experience. It will energize you, I promise. 

Set the intention and practice sending love to others...even that person that cut you off in the fast lane. 

Self Compassion

Emily Porta

I go to this event monthly, called Laundry Love. A bunch of us take donations that we get over the month, take over a laundry mat and pay for people's laundry. We don't care if you are rich, poor, can't speak English, have a car, ride a bicycle, live in a mansion or in a box on the beach...we will help you do your laundry. 

I was talking to one of my friends that spearheaded this event, who happens to also be an amazing yoga teacher. We were talking about compassion, it's importance, it's power and how it transforms. I truly feel Laundry Love, in its essence is about compassion. Through it, I see people receive love and dignity. Even the most hurting, just for a couple of hours, get their clothes cleaned and feel a part of a community.

So take the compassion and turn it inward...what do you get? Self Compassion. Showing yourself kindness and care. Imagine once how you were an infant, needing love and care. You are in a way, still that small babe that needs to be treated tenderly. How often we berate ourselves, judging our emotions as not worthy, looking in the mirror and hating what we see, and treating our emotional, spiritual, and physical selves as less then. 

Self compassion can be administered daily, but it is up to you. Take a moment each day and do something nice for yourself. Forgive yourself for imperfections. Smile at what feels like a failure when in fact, you are just human, trying to make your way in the world. Imagine yourself as that infant and treat yourself well - paying attention to your needs and meeting them. This is not selfish but this is essential in order to be able to give compassion to others. To love others, you must love yourself.

When you want to turn your self compassion outward (trust me, it feels good to help other people) try something like a Laundry Love, donate (money, time, well wishes and prayers) to a local charity, or just look to meet a need in your neighborhood. Be careful though, your world might get a little brighter. 

Compassion - A Two Way Street

Emily Porta

I was having one of those days. Life felt like a country song. The car was having issues, family was sick, work was piling up and then some things at the house kept breaking. I wasn't even aware of the frustration level that I was experiencing. I was taking each thing as it came and at one point ended up laughing hysterically with my husband at how ridiculous it all was. 

At one point, amidst the chaos, someone became frustrated with me. Circumstances were beyond my control and I was doing my best to manage, but it fell short of what they needed. While I realized the person's frustration was out of their stressors and issues and knowing that it must be hard for them too...I realized how much I needed compassion. I wanted to be seen for my humanity and loved in spite of my failings. 

We all need compassion. I would say it is in part the purpose of our being. My need for compassion brought me in tune with evermore how important it is for me to give compassion to others. Before I would be compassionate because it was the 'nice' thing to do. But then I saw how it became a necessity, to give to another. While that person never really gave me a moment to explain what was going on for me, I found compassion through others. It energized me and gave me hope. 

Never underestimate the power of giving a moment of your time to care for another. Never underestimate your purpose and the power of your love.