Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Compassion Talk

Last night a small group of friends who had also seen the Dalai Lama speak came over to talk about compassion, and how to put it into action.

We all struggle with issues of compassion when we are put face to face with unkindness or rude behavior or insensitivity. It is so easy to be compassionate when we are the ones deciding to reach out....and it is so hard to be compassionate when children are having a fit and the phone is ringing and dinner is burning on the stove and you feel lousy and somebody is demanding a favor without considering your needs and...... In the meditative state, it's easy to be patient, compassionate, understanding. But what do we do in the midst of real life to take our real human emotions and manage them to be more compassionate while still acknowledging our own need for boundaries and understanding?

Tough questions, but rather interesting ones. I can't tell you how much I appreciate the honesty of my friends, who opened up about their struggles. The funny thing about them is that they feel their struggles so deeply, but I admire their compassion so much. They worry that they are off track, and I see them as more on track than 99% of the population. This is what makes them reflective, and I wouldn't change them, and I admire them all the more. (You know who you are!)

Tessa and I have had a tough couple of days. I'm hoping that both of us hit the "reset" button last night so that today will be easier. I swear I've seen the 15 year old in her these past few days, and it looks like a sign of rough times five year old has been telling me that I'm wrong, she's right, and she's been snarky and resistant to basic instructions. She is the most delightful child I know, and I love her so deeply, and that is, perhaps, what makes it all the more frustrating. What the heck is going on?

Today I will work on being patient with Tessa, and developing my compassion where I need it most, when she is being difficult (okay, when she is being five). And I will try to be compassionate with myself when I am tired and not able to do all that I wish.

Tessa is demanding Mama's oatmeal (Carolyn's recipe) - every day she eats massive quantities of oatmeal with berries, yogurt, and maple syrup (though she has strongly rejected nuts in it) and I'm glad that she's found something so healthy to love. Off to the kitchen!

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