So fellow travelers, have you ever committed to do something and afterwards realized you have no idea how you are going to pull it off?
Smith Rock State Park, Oregon
In one of my first posts of this year, I wrote about not allowing fear and anger to cloud compassion. Compassion fuels kindness and kindness is my chosen focus in life.
Being a rather strong willed human the gentle aura of kindness might not be the first frame of reference people associate with me.
After all, “Though she be but litte, she be fierce” * was the runner up choice for my Senior Yearbook quote. One does not hear people described as fiercely kind and compassionate.
Com~passion : communal(shared)~ strong emotions.
Passionate emotion comes easy to me, compassion has taken more focused practice. On so many levels this is why I feel the increasing weight of my choice to act from compassion, particularly because I have yet to master the art of managing anger with compassion.
In a TED talk given in 2015, psychologist Russell Kolts describes the practice of using compassion to empower oneself to deal with the things which frighten us most about our world and ourselves. He considers compassion as a form of courage which helps us face our greatest fears and recognizes anger as a way of avoiding the things we fear most.
Anger is exhausting. Fear is debilitating. They take a tremendous toll on our spirit. Yet, how do we not feel aggravated when facing an increasingly mean-spirited wave of self centered oppression, when invoking kindness is labeled cry-baby liberalism, expressing concern for those less fortunate is equated with socialism and women speaking up for social justice are told to sit down and mind their place?
Eye in the Winter Sky February 2017
Mindfulness– the practice of training oneself to become fully aware of the experience within each moment. What am I feeling about what my senses are taking in? What are those feelings telling me about myself? Mindfulness allows me to acknowledge those feelings and recognize the fears and hopes within them. This process slows the impulse to react, giving me a chance to rebalance,
and by BEing I consciously choose the feeling that infuses my actions.
Anger becomes determination, fear becomes temperance, impulsive reaction is replaced by conscious action; taking action becomes easier because the weight of negative emotions has been lifted.
It’s taken a two week battle with a flu-like respiratory infection to make me fully aware of how far I had wandered from my balance point. When a day at work required a hour of sleep to garner the energy to heat soup for dinner and a walk around the neighborhood with our dog felt like the three mile lake loop we are accustomed to hiking in warmer seasons, being flattened to such a state of simply exisiting, brought into sharp focus the cumulative effect several months of stress has taken on my body, mind and spirit.
Time to hit the reset button.
Walk gently on the path my friends for kindness matters.
*Shakespeare: Midsumer Nights Dream Act 3 scene 2. No, I did not play Hermia, to whom the line refers; I was perhaps not surpringly cast as the mischievous pixie Peaseblossom.