Tag Archives: compassion

Letting Love IN (and the New WOW)

Can you imagine a table loaded up with love and yet you remain starving?

I’ve considered this on a week where HARMONY was our Word of the Week, and all of the messages I kept reading referred back to LOVE as the secret sauce for harmony.

When I am out of sorts with myself, I’m learning to check my love levels.  Since Costa Rica, my first step is to check out how well I’m loving ME (or not).  Because I’ve learned that I will only attract what I emanate.

Harmony is when there’s unity of thought and feeling – and fear is always the great divider.

Fear’s leading line is, “What if…” and leads down the rabbit trail of negative possibilities.

That’s when I need to go and sit in Mom-Mom’s chair, and talk to myself.

Taking that five minute (or more) time-out is just what I need to get back to unity between my soul and spirit, and it always ends with a little love note to myself.

“I love you Brenda.”

When was the last time you said those words out loud to yourself?

Picture yourself, through all of the many stages of your life:  The chubby toddler, the acne-stained teen; the insecure but tough-looking college student or the polished (but anxious as hell) professional.

With each mental image, let love well up inside of you.  You’ll find floods of empathy and compassion, tenderness and grace rise up.

Then let those loving feelings wash over you.

Some tears may spill out of your eyes.  That’s okay.  It’s your angels washing your heart from the wounds accrued over time.

After that good, cleansing cry, you may find that where there was discord, harmony now resides in your heart.  And you’re ready to face life again, because YOU’VE got your own back.

The table of love is a feast that is always set before us.  May we all choose to partake!

I talk a bit more on this (and just wish I had put some better lipstick on), but you’ll forgive the momentary lapse of aesthetics in the new Word of the Week reveal:

Looking at life with fresh eyes is how I’m going to approach creativity this week.

After all, if I keep doing the SAME thing, I’ll get the same results.

I want new stuff!  How about you?

Oh, and let’s GIVE THANKS for all the wonderful stuff we already have.  I hope you and yours enjoy a marvelous Thanksgiving holiday, seated at a table where the feast is LOVE.

xoxoxoxo

Brenda

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A Close Encounter with Compassion (and the New WOW)

Isn’t it true that compassion is best appreciated when you need it most?

Like when you screw up.

I’m a cross your t’s and dot your i’s kind of person, so discovering that my best laid travel plans  were utterly flawed this week left me flummoxed.

I was already operating on a deficit of sleep. A late dinner with my dear friends Roseann and Mike to celebrate our last night in Montreal resulted in just four hours of sleep before I had to hop in a taxi for the airport.

Just one agent manned the desk at 5:30 AM, and I observed him patiently handling the travelers in line ahead of me.

When  finally my turn, I observed his name tag and said, “Good morning, Joe!  I hope you can help. I need my connecting flight to now be my final destination.”

In my mind, it was a simple matter.  Already booked from Montreal to Charlotte; no new flight was required. I just needed my bag to deplane, too (and not travel to Sarasota.)

Joe looked at me and said, “You realize we need to completely re-ticket your flight?”

No, I didn’t realize.

And it would be costly.

I looked up at tall, handsome, kind, smiling Joe with my bleary red eyes from a scant four hours of sleep and said,  “Oh my.”

And my intended destination wasn’t even Charlotte; it was Chicago.

You’re thinking exactly as I was; perhaps we could get me on a flight from Montreal to Chicago!  Problem solved!

Absolutely…for $700+ dollars.

Thoughts of renting a car and driving the 13 hours to Chicago flashed through my mind.  I imagined getting to Chicago on my originally booked flight – without my bag and the need to shop for the essentials to help me survive the next two days.

My crestfallen face and deer in the headlights paralysis tripped a compassion switch in Joe.

Click, click, click click click.  More clicking.  A brief consultation with his manager.

What was Joe up to?

A boarding pass, non-stop to Chicago from Montreal spit through the printer.

No, it wasn’t free, but it surely wasn’t $700 dollars.  It was less than $200 – and that was a pill I could swallow without too much bitterness.

In an era when poor airline service goes viral and it seems that most carriers need a crash course in customer service, my encounter with Joe affirmed the goodness of people who stick their necks out to help a stranger in need.  Joe would have been perfectly within the confines of the employee manual to require strict adherence to a complete re-booking.

Ah, but Instead, he followed his heart and had compassion on me.

Here’s to you, Joe!  You not only gave me a great story about compassion, but your actions put a smile on my face as I wait these five hours for my new flight to Chicago.

Let’s move onward to new adventures and the new Word of the Week (but first some closing thoughts on Compassion)!:

It’s not over.  Nope.

Yes, you may fall, but you can keep getting back up.

They call it failing forward; every bump in the road teaches you something to prepare you for the next step.

You are STRONG.  You are RESILIENT.

Just look at how many times in your life you seemed down for the count, only to bounce back and rise higher as a result.

Be encouraged, my friends.

Let resilience win this week!

xoxoxoxo

Brenda

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Compassion is FEARLESS (and the New WOW)

I had an “AHA” this week when I considered the connection between being fearless and being compassionate.

This was the springboard:

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So where does intolerance and judgment come from?

Yep. Fear.

So the next time you are faced with an ugly attack of intolerance and judgment, take a step back.  (This is what I am doing.)  Find within yourself the compassion that can ask (probably not verbally) “What are they afraid of?”

Too often, in my own life, when feeling the attack of the self-righteous or intolerant, I become defensive and argumentative.  

Oh, I also get insulted and appalled and equally self-righteous.

Why?

Because I’m afraid, too.

Aren’t we all?

That we are sometimes is a fact.  But what we vote with is our choice.

I go on a little bit of a rant about this, but I hope you find it encouraging as we head into a new Word of the Week:

Well hallelujah sisters and brothers!  I LOVE the word ENTHUSIASM.

(In fact, I’d rather you be flaming hot MAD at me than lukewarm.  Blech!)

What makes you feel enthusiastic?  Do some more of THAT.  Please tell me in the comments what trips your joy level into overdrive (because I think enthusiasm and joy are kissing cousins.)

Let’s have ALL the fearless feels this week – and my hope is that we enthusiastically count our blessings heading into the Thanksgiving holiday.

Be safe and enjoy!

xoxooxoox

Brenda

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A Season for Gratitude (and the New WOW)

I’m grateful.  And gratitude is my (and our superpower.)

In a week when so many people were up in arms (on both sides of the political fence) I was reminded of my puppy dog…my husband…my family…my friends…my job…my health…my home…the sun…the bright moon…the taste of strong coffee…the pleasures of a good book…my three years of sobriety…and oh, the list goes on.

This is not to deny anyone’s right to be angry or upset.  It’s just that in this brief experience called life, I want to drink in and exhale joy.

There have been many times in my life when I have felt real despair. But the sun has eventually shined once again and when I look over my shoulder, I realize with gratitude that what didn’t kill me made me stronger.  And more empathetic.  And kinder.

And that’s what I want.  To be better, not bitter.

Which is why I was so delighted to receive this week’s new WOW:

com·pas·sion
kəmˈpaSHən/
noun
noun: compassion; plural noun: compassions
  1. sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.
    synonyms: pity, sympathy, empathy, fellow feeling, care, concern, solicitude, sensitivity, warmth,love, tenderness, mercy, leniency, tolerance, kindness, humanity, charity

    “have you no compassion for a fellow human being?”
    antonyms: indifference, cruelty

    This week, try a little tenderness.  With others…and with yourself.

    And count your blessings.  It will comfort your heart.

    xoxoxoxo

    Brenda

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Compassion at the Tax Office (and the New WOW)

Who’d have thought the nicest little display of COMPASSION (our Word of the Week) would show up at the Tax Office???

When I moved to Florida, one of the first things on the “to do” list was to obtain a new driver’s license.

I have a fairly happy history of Pennsylvania license experiences; creating enough rapport with the DMV worker was always a key.  In turn, they would often cut me some slack and allow me to take multiple photos until I was happy with one.

Yes, I am that vain. I admit and own it.

Unfortunately, when we went to the Florida municipal office in downtown Sarasota, I had two strikes against me:

1. The clerk made clear I would have a maximum of two shots

2. Duane was with me, making sure I didn’t try for more

In Duane’s view, it’s just a stupid driver’s license. It’s not a #$%@* portrait! (He shares this sentiment about Facebook posts, too, not understanding why we have to shoot 40 photos to get “the one” that meets with my approval.)

We also had a limited amount of time, so I sucked it up and posed.

Take one: Horrible.

Take two: Something shifted in the universe and I was captured with a particularly awful “deer in the headlights” look (instead of my traditional smile).  Worse, the angle provided a 3-D view of my double chin.

And THIS was the keeper.

Every time I checked in at the airport; every presentation of my license at the TSA; each and every banking transaction that required the dreaded license review was accompanied by my un-solicited apology, “I know; it’s a terrible photo.”

As if anyone gave a hoot about my license photo!

I couldn’t help myself.  It was a compulsion; a fixation; this was not ME!  This photo was going to walk around with me for YEARS to come and I didn’t LIKE that person in the photo!

It’s been almost two years, and I never made peace with my license.  It was always there, a constant reminder of a bad moment frozen in time.

I know, some of you are thinking, “Why not just go and get another one?”  My life is just so busy during the day I rarely have time to go out during business hours.  The office was a good half-hour away; I knew I’d only get two shots again and while I owned my vanity, I didn’t want to fully give in to it and pay for another license when it absolutely wasn’t necessary.

Until I lost it.  (My license, that is.)

On my recent trip home from Omaha, Nebraska, as I collected my baggage and waited for Duane to pick me up, I couldn’t find it.

THIS was the excuse I’d been looking for!  A mulligan!  A do-over!  Hooray!

Turns out, in Florida, if you can find a Tax Collector’s office, you can get a replacement license there.  Unsure of the other requirements, I decided to stop by on my lunch break and find out some particulars.

The kind woman at the counter said, “We can do this right now…”

I mentally assessed my hair-in-a-clippie, perspiring brow and workout clothes and was going to take a pass but she was SO nice and there was NO line…

I agreed.  And did hear the dreaded, “We can take two shots and see which you like best.”

I thought to myself, “Honey, at 52, I need a full portfolio, makeup and lighting and some Photoshop to boot…” Keeping commentary to myself, I fluffed a bit in the mirror and trekked to the back of the room, where they do the deed.  Flash!

She yelled across the room, “Good one!”

I think, “I’ll be the judge of that, sister…”

HORRIBLE.  JUST TERRIBLE.  Like Phyllis Diller met Broomhilda in an edition of the National Enquirer’s “Stars Without Makeup.”

A little more powder, some eyeliner, and FLASH!

“Another good one!”

HAH!  My hair-in-a-clippie do resulted in my naturally round face taking on bowling ball proportions.

Oh no…would this be IT???

I sheepishly walked back to the clerk, spilling out the story of how much I HATED my old photo…

…which she could see, right there on her screen.

She agreed.  That was one BAD shot.

Compassion filled her eyes and she said, “Look, no one else is here.  We can keep taking them until you find one you like.”

I wanted to leap over the counter and squeeze her in a bear hug.  She was my new best friend.

The Tax Collector version of “America’s Next Top Model” began.

“Tilt your head down…open your eyes more…smile!…no, not that much.”

All we needed was Lady Gaga playing in the background and wind machines to give me that fierce Beyonce look.

Fortunately, I always haul a host of hair and makeup products, so I was PREPARED.

Six shots later, clippie removed and hair flowing around my bowling-ball face, we nailed it.

We high-fived!  We celebrated!  I wrote a glowing review of her government service!  And I’ve been showing my license to EVERYONE!  (Even people who don’t ask.)

COMPASSION sets you free.

It was a small thing, but it meant A LOT to me. She didn’t have to be so kind, but she was.

Yes, it was a week to show compassion…but how glad I was that it was extended to ME.

For more thoughts on last week’s WOW (and the new one), here we go!

Anyway…Yay!  What song do YOU feel like breaking out into?

“We are family…I’ve got all my sistahs with me!”

Or maybe the theme from Friends:  “I’ll be there for you-oooo…”

Sly and the Family Stone’s “It’s a family affair…”

Who jumps to YOUR mind when you think of the new Word of the Week?

Don’t forget to draw from your posse this week.

HUGS!

Brenda

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Compassion, Bathroom Trauma and the New Word of the Week

How’s THAT for a title?

A lovely series of pitfalls and roadblocks, professionally and personally, tried to hi-jack my week.  How about you?

But around every corner, I was looking for and expecting (and offering to myself) compassion, rather than the judgment that so often tries instead to win the day.

I mention this in the video, but THIS was the most “responded to” post on my Facebook page this week:

Sympathy-quotes-compasion-quotes-kindness-quotes-remember-that..

That harsh retort?  That grumpy receptionist? The driver who cut you off and provided a one finger salute?

Who knows what they are going through?

Taking a step back to entertain the possibilities in your mind opens the door to empathy and then, compassion.  

And the desire to strike back or lash out dissipates.

Which plays in nicely to the big reveal about our NEW Word of the Week…but first, a recap of COMPASSION (and in some cases, a little TOO MUCH information…):

Ahhh…so you see where I’m going?

If we seek harmony and it seems elusive, we can take a step back and remember COMPASSION.

Put yourself in their shoes.  Or give yourself a break for seemingly falling short.

Don’t judge.

Have empathy.

Extend the olive branch.

Isn’t life too short to live in disharmony?

Can you think of a time when you chose to be the bigger person, and it built a bridge leading to harmony?

There may have been a HUGE gulp first, like the teeter-tottering of a child getting ready to take a leap off of the high dive for the first time.

But you jumped.

OK, maybe violins didn’t play and perhaps you didn’t ride off into the sunset singing kum-ba-yah.

But you went to sleep knowing you TRIED.  You followed the Holy Spirit’s gentle prodding and did it.

Their response is not your responsibility.  Just be true to your best self, and let harmony fill all the inside places of discord.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God. – Matthew 5:9 

According to Wikipedia (so blame them if this is inaccurate) the word peacemakers does not imply pacifism.  It does not refer to those who do not fight, but rather to  those who actively bring conflict to an end.

Wow.  I like that!

Here’s to a week of bringing conflicts to an end, both externally and internally (or at least trying) and increasing the harmony level in our lives and the lives of those we love.

xoxoxox

Brenda

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Creatively Losing 30 Lbs & the Word of the Week!

Lacking the artistry of craft-makers or the ability to whip up a gourmet meal, I was challenged this week to live out “CREATIVITY” in my own special way.  It  involved creatively addressing  those 30 stubborn pounds, two glass jars and a new take on the age-old weight issue:

Ahhhhhhhhhh….breathe that in.

COMPASSION.

Toward ourselves and toward others.

Here’s the definition:  A feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. 

Synonyms include empathy, care, concern, sensitivity, warmth, love, tenderness, mercy, leniency, tolerance, kindness, humanity, charity.

Those are all some of my most favorite words!

Who springs to mind when you read that list?

I bet they are universally beloved, because people who are compassionate are irresistible. They don’t waste their time judging other people, so you know you’re safe when your back is turned.

And they are action takers!  When they see a stray, they’ll take ’em in (four or two-legged.) If you’re crying, they are right there with the box of tissues and plans to take you to lunch.  They easily see from another’s point of view, and embody:

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Even you.

I had a conversation this week with the most beautiful person, inside and out.  She’d give anyone the shirt off of her back, she is amazingly talented, a model friend and mother.  The list could go on and on…

…but she was beating herself up for having an “off moment” – a brief attack of selfishness and insecurity.

Puh-lease!

We’re all entitled to a bad day, let alone moment.  Let’s not make matters worse by kicking ourselves when we’re down!

Like the song says, “Try a little tenderness…”

Makes me feel all snuggly.  How about you?

xoxoxo

Brenda

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