As we enjoy the final days of March and the warmth of spring, I am feeling stretched by all the lessons that arose during this month spent renewing my commitment to compassion, understanding, and connection.
S T R E T C H E D and TESTED!
But those experiences only AFFIRMED what I know to be true:
Even in the hardest moments — after I’ve fussed and cussed through my frustrations (to good spiritual friends who listen deeply, see me clearly, honor my wholeness without co-signing my craziness, and respond skillfully with wise and loving support) — compassion calls me back again and again.
It offers a calming, centering grace that inspires me to seek the depth and breadth of understanding that in turn keeps my heart open to authentic connection.
“Sometimes we think that to develop an open heart, to be truly loving and compassionate,
means that we need to be passive,
to allow others to abuse us,
to smile and let anyone do what they want with us.
Yet this is not what is meant by compassion.
Quite the contrary.
Compassion is not at all weak.
It is the strength that arises out of seeing
the true nature of suffering in the world.
Compassion allows us
to bear witness to that suffering,
whether it is in ourselves or others, without fear;
it allows us to name injustice without hesitation,
and to act strongly,
with all the skill at our disposal.
To develop this mind state of compassion…
is to learn to live, as the Buddha put it,
with sympathy for all living beings,
― Sharon Salzberg
Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness