Posts Tagged ‘compassion’

Ourselves / Our Gratitude / Our Challenge

April 2, 2012

Last week I went for a walk with a friend. It was one of those Vancouver days, after weeks of rain the sun was shining, fresh snow on the mountains, the ocean was glistening. It seemed like a perfect morning to relish in our beautiful city and appreciate the time we had together since we don’t see each other enough.

I hadn’t seen my friend for quite a while so we spent some time catching up on our lives our kids our latest news, it was all good. Then we began talking about a dear friend of hers who is terminally ill. I know of this person and I realized this is the 5th person in the past 2 weeks that I have heard about who is very ill.

It is a very strange phenomenon when we hear about another’s suffering, we tend to pause and take stock of our own life. We usually feel a surge of gratitude about our lives.

It is strange to have conversations about people we know of who are very sick or challenged by something because it activates our deep fears and leads us to thinking about ourselves. This is when we tend to acknowledge our own lives and our desire to be more grateful for what we have. For many of us, the desire to be more grateful about our own life seems so profound in the moment but then it is difficult to hold onto because daily life struggles take over. We get caught up in our own stuff, stress, irritants and the profound moments of gratitude slip away. We want to hold on to those profound moments, we really do but it is so hard.

This is true in our relationships too. While we have times when we are grateful for our partners, our children our parents we often forget about what is really important and let the negatives dominate.

Our challenge of course is to allow the feeling of gratitude and what we have with our partner and our families dominate. We need to allow our focus on what is right in our lives to take up more space and stop letting what isn’t right take up so much of our energy.

We all know that negative thinking leads to just one thing, more negative thinking. Yet we can’t help ourselves, that’s what we do and where we go. What’s not going right, what bugs us, what we want to be different that’s what we spend too much time on.

I am going to propose an idea.

Instead of waiting until we hear about someone we know is ill, or that something sad is happening to someone we know, why not try to be MORE grateful about what our life is really about…everyday.

How do we do this? Actually it is very simple, just not easy! Such is the stuff of life though…

Dare ya –

For the next 2 weeks at the end of every day think about what you can be grateful for related to people in your inner circle. Whether this be your partner, child, parent, other family member or friend make sure you communicate to them what you feel grateful for about having them in your life.

Just say “What I appreciate about you is…” or “One reason I am grateful to have you in my life is…” or “One thing you have taught me that I really appreciate is…” Do this EVERDAY, that is the trick! Be proactive and you can live your life without regret.

Yours truly,


P.S. After I wrote this I just saw the film Jeff, Who Lives At Home. What a delightful, wonderful film and if you see it and know I wrote this before I saw it wow, things happen for a reason, destiny, synchronicity, mepoem (mysteriousexquisiteprecisionofeverymoment) whatever you call it, I think it is way cool! Loved that film!


Dali Lama Style

February 8, 2010

arjuna_zbycho / Flickr

Have you ever wondered where the word compassion originates?

It’s a Greek word which means “to suffer with”.

T learned that at a forum on compassion held in Vancouver in the Fall of 2009 in which his Holiness, the Dali Lama, was in conversation with Nobel Laureates.

How does this relate to my relationship you might wonder? Is it just us or do many of us forget the compassion when it comes to their beloved? Why is it such a challenge for most of us? Compassion seems so simple. That may be true it just isn’t easy!

We believe this is the reality for most of us. It’s really hard to let our partner’s experience just be. Instead we usually slip into judging our partner. Yet we can often show deep compassion for other people in our lives. We are sometimes more compassionate to strangers and even animals than to the person we love and commit to most.

What’s up with that?

Consider this.

Most of us think we have the right to judge our partners. We tell them what to think. How to think. What they think. What they should do. What they should not do. We even tell our partners who they are.

So to “suffer with” my partner, to show compassion, really means I have to experience and accept my partner for who they actually are. Wow, that means I have to accept that they are really different from me.

What’s hard about this is that we think to feel close and connected to our partners means we have to be more the same than different. But often this is not the case. We are actually very different. What happens next? This brings up insecurity and fear for most of us. When we feel insecure we start to judge our partner and blame them. Oh yeah, don’t forget my (T) personal favorite…disapproval and trying to change them.

My story: For me (T) I came to realize that to show real compassion meant I had to find a place in my heart where I could accept Sarah for who she is even when I do not like how she is being. Believe me there are many moments when this is more difficult than childbirth. Yet when I can really let go and not give into the energy and anxiety of my reactions, I really let go and I am free.

On a great day I can feel acceptance for Sarah, real compassion for her, and know deep inside we are two, not one. Breathing helps.

Dare ya –

Close your eyes and visualize your partner in your mind. Their smile, their eyes, their laugh, all of their sweetness. Notice how you feel in your body when you do this. Remember how safe you can feel in the presence of your partner when you allow yourself. Breathe in compassion. Compassion for their life story and all of who they are. Give yourself permission to let your partner be exactly who they are. Allow the feeling of compassion for who they are to flow through your body. Do this every day at least 1 time per day for 2 weeks. We promise, it will start to feel really good.

Yours really truly,