From a Place of Compassion
“Compassion is a verb.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh
Sometimes I wake up afraid. Overwhelmed by fear, anxiety, worry. About the fate of our world, our earth. Paralyzed by fear. Feeling helpless.
My heart is breaking for the world, for the state of our earth, our changing climate, and the fate of the poor and disenfranchised in our society and around the world. I want social and environmental justice for all. I want climate justice now and for future generations. I grieve what we have already lost and fear for the future of our planet.
I have learned from my experience that the only way to get out of this fear, without resorting to self-destructive habits of running away or trying to escape, is to focus on what I can do in my life rather than on the many things that are beyond my control.
I can be mindful of my steps, my thoughts, my actions, my relationships. I can be mindful of my consumption of food, water, energy, and resources. I can move through the fear with compassion for myself and for others, breathing into the moment, and opening my heart.
I can pray for those who are suffering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy and for those who are affected by climate change throughout the world. I can pray for not only the two-legged creatures but for the four-legged, the winged, and the swimmers. I can pray for all of our relations.
When I remember this, that each action born of compassion is a gift I am able to offer my loved ones and the world, I am empowered to act beyond my fear paralysis and to reach outside the bounds of myself.
On November 6th I will be voting from a place of compassion and love, and not from a place of fear or anger. My votes for President Obama and for proposals protecting the collective bargaining rights of workers and for more renewable energy in Michigan will come from a deep love for the earth and compassion for my fellow citizens and non-citizens, as well as for the future generations who will inherit what we leave behind.
Voting is one important action of many that I can make from a place of compassion. Singing, working with youth, recycling, composting, speaking up for the earth and for those who are unable to speak for themselves, meditating, praying, and smiling are all small things I can do with humility and kindness. I just need to remember that the means by which I do these things is just as important as the results. Indeed a loving act is a gift in itself.
May we think, speak, and act from a place of compassion today, in the election on November 6th, and throughout our lives.