“Solstice Sun, Shining Bright!
Shortest Day & Longest Night.
Solstice Wish of Hope & Cheer:
Peace on Earth, throughout the Year!”
For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere today marks the start of a 6 month journey of days getting longer. The darkest part of the year has passed.
This time of year: the holidays, the darkest part of the year, the start of winter, is a challenging time for many. Tension can run high as people are expected and enticed to spend lots of money on gifts and travel, eat lots of food, drink lots of booze, and spend “quality time” together.
When I flew to Florida last weekend I felt the tension in the air. Fellow travelers seemed tired and stressed and on edge. My first reaction was one of defense and annoyance, “why do they think that they deserve any special attention? they are the one being an ass hole after all”.
And then I thought of this quote,
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
That old adage of joining them if you can’t beat them is useless if “joining” turns you into a grumpy, stressed, self-concerned individual (because that’s no fun for anyone). I believe that negativity spreads just as positivity spreads-a smile is contagious! 🙂
While there are a lot of different ways compassion can manifest I like to think of it as approaching interactions and situations with an open mind and concern for the other people involved, as well as yourself.
I am no Buddist (but I do celebrate Hanukah, Solstice, Christmas, Rosh Hashanah, and New Years! :)), but I really relate to this Buddist take on compassion,
” When we see someone is in distress and we feel their pain as if it were our own, and strive to eliminate or lessen their pain, then this is compassion. So all the best in human beings, all the Buddha-like qualities like sharing, readiness to give comfort, sympathy, concern and caring – all are manifestations of compassion. You will notice also that in the compassionate person, care and love towards others has its origins in care and love for oneself. We can really understand others when we really understand ourselves. We will know what’s best for others when we know what’s best for ourselves. We can feel for others when we feel for ourselves.” (source)
What does compassion mean to you? Is it something you think about in your life?
Sometimes it can be hard to do this (because it seems I can be easily annoyed by the general public 😉 but I try to remember that I have no idea what is going on in the life of a crabby person that I might encounter (like your traveling experience). They may have recently lost a loved one, lost their job, or any number of terrible things, and so I try not to judge. I hate it when a random stranger tells me to “smile!”. So I have no business thinking “gosh, what’s up her ass?!”. Instead, just offer a smile. Like you said, they are contagious.
What a great comment Lori! I totally relate.
I’ve been waiting to this day for a long (dark) time. I am so happy that the days will slowly be getting longer, I thrive in the warmth and sunshine and I can’t wait for the days to start growing warmer. I know its a far way off but I have hope at least!
Kim @ Spoonful of Sass
When I actively practice compassion with my clients they usually compliment and thank me and tell me how much better they feel after we are done talking. Then not only they feel better, but I do too. I can definitely tell a difference in my happiness during a day I practice compassion in comparison to a day I’m not as focused on it. Talk about positive reinforcement!
Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't Count
Great post, Faith. Obviously, I’m catching up! I hate to go to mall’s and places with crowds because I can’t deal with how other people act in public. Sometimes even restaurants are ruined for me because of it. I like the Dalai Lama quote. I’ll work on that. Thanks.