Compassion Is the Working Side of Love

#truelove #allowing #dating

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Compassion Is the Working Side of Love
Compassion is the working side of love. It is the reaching out and touching back of one soul to another. It is the acknowledgement and true understanding that we are all in this together. Compassion is an ache-filled knowing that we all need the same things — to be loved, to love, to be understood, to know that our footsteps upon this planet have made a difference.

Compassion is listening and truly hearing what another has to say. It is a conscious pausing and a slowing down to see and feel the person beside us — to notice that they are just like us and that they count. Compassion is a wide soul and a non-judging spirit. Compassion is a courageous moving of ourselves into life with an accepting and open heart. Compassion is also the deep knowing that we are all on the same journey and that we are not alone.

But in our modern 24/7 lifestyle with its “instant pudding” communication and information overload, this connecting of me with thee is often underdone and undervalued. Our isolated, air-conditioned and compartmentalized days keep us running hither and yon, eager to get all our duties done. As soon as we put one project to bed, we open the file for the next gotta-do thing. We scurry through minutes that too soon become years, breathless and oh-so-very busy. And so, we don’t realize how much of life’s oomph and grit are lost, as we let opportunities to laugh and love with others wash unnoticed down the side streets of our lives — moments that we blithely walk by without a second glance.

But are we ready for the intimacy that being truly connected to one another entails? It requires a willingness to be vulnerable — to let ourselves be touched and nakedly shared — within the profound “feeling-ness” and the sometimes-brokenness of life. Do we really want another to see the us that shows up when we are alone and honest with ourselves? Do we really want to share the confused us or the lost us that we lock back into in the closet of our souls when the alarm goes off at 7 a.m.? Yes, we do. For when we do this, we are no longer separate and apart. We are no longer alone.

With practice, compassion becomes second nature, and we become so much more — more open and even, more willing and available, more aware and gifted in the doing of life. There is an anchored depth and richer meaning to the hours of our living. The joy of another becomes our joy. The sorrow of a neighbor can be felt and held in our hand with dignity and grace, for we have our own sorrows to share. Laughing voices heard as we walk the dog can bring an aching appreciation for life and twitch-lipped snort of, “Yeah, me too!”

Compassion is the working side of love. And compassion for ourselves — a reaching out and a touching back of us to ourselves with honesty and abiding self-care — is a very, very good place to start.

This Amazing Obituary Will Make You Wish You Knew This Woman
The death this week of 49-year-old journalist Betsy Cohen touched many lives, including the lives of people who never even met her because of this incredible obituary that ran in the Missoulian, the paper where she worked. Described as the embodiment of “the candle that burns twice as brightly but burns half as long,” the obit recalled how Cohen’s three-year battle with cancer “scarcely dimmed” her delightful and sometimes outrageous sense of humor.

“Recalling how, as a child, she once holed up in a closet and ate all the Girl Scout cookies she was assigned to sell always reduced her to hysterics. With fits of laughter, she’d describe the time her skirt fell off at a Missoula County Public Schools board meeting.”

The obit also added this personal touch:

“Betsy rocked Montana with her arrival and has done so again with her passing. No one, but no one, can fill her size-5 shoes.”

Obituary writing is one of journalism’s lost arts: Obits are among the best-read features of newspapers and a good obit — like this one — tells a life story and captures the spirit. Betsy, we didn’t know you but feel like we did.

Some other recent obits have also captured the Internet’s attention. Mary A. “Pink” Mullaney, an 85-year-old Wisconsin woman was so adored by her family that they crafted one of the loveliest obituaries we’ve ever read. And who can forget this gem, self-written by Seattle-based author and editor Jane Catherine Lotter?

How Laughter Can Heal the Heart and Soul

“At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities.” — Jean Houston

To me, laughter is a non-sexual orgasm. My mind, body and spirit are tickled, sending waves of euphoria that reverberate throughout me. All that is negative is converted into positive waves of light and love. I greatly value the healing and connecting properties of laughter.

Every so often (and twice last night,) I’ve been awoken in the middle of the night by the sound of my 8-year-old daughter, Claudia, laughing in her sleep. It’s not merely a chuckle or a giggle that wakes me from my slumber, but a rolling belly-laugh that fills our previously silent home. My heart swells with love for Claudia, expanding even more as I wonder about the joy she is experiencing in her dreams. There are no words to adequately describe the bliss that ignites my spirit when I hear this magical, nighttime laughter.

I so dearly love my best friend, Cherilynn. Perhaps what I love most about her is the way she can make me laugh so hard that there is simply no room in my hysterically convulsing body to retain any feelings of fear, shame or anxiety. This is because she has lovingly churned these negative feelings into fodder for our laughter through her normalization, validation, intellect and wit. She reminds me not to take myself or my life too seriously. Laughing with Cherilynn makes me feel known, loved, understood and connected in ways that mean the entire world to me.

Tragically, my beloved friend, Carrie, died of cancer eight months ago. I loved her deeply and was profoundly honored to be included in a “sacred circle” of women/mothers who she asked to support her husband and young children after her passing. A couple months after Carrie died, I was with my Claudia and Carrie’s daughter, Francesca, having popsicles from an ice cream truck at the park. As we sat on the hill that smelled of grassy sweetness, Francesca and Claudia playfully pounced on me with pre-calculated tickles. I shrieked with panicked laughter, uncontrollably rolled away for relief, and saw that the white, puffy clouds overhead were rolling in the blue sky along with me. When the girls were satisfied with their success, we caught our breath, giggled and snuggled as we soaked in the warmth of our togetherness, the brightness of the summertime sun, and the power of Carrie’s love all around us.

My husband has a gift for saying something that is incredibly humorous, humble and wise at life’s moments of trial and tribulation (like when we are having a “Level 10 Family Meltdown” along with our two daughters.) While my brain is pre-programed to respond to stress with judgement and guilt, he’s able to take a step back and not personalize things, saying something simple and ridiculous like, “Holy sh*t-ness!” with a broad smile. This makes me laugh and all the madness that seemed so very overwhelming is neutralized. Our family dynamic re-calibrates, homeostasis is returned and my love and appreciation for him grows.

My sister made me laugh so hard when we were out to lunch the other day that I breathed my iced tea deep into my lungs and spent the next several minutes choking and gasping for air. It was well worth it. The joy and intimacy resulting from a lifetime of history that gave us each the insight to appreciate how the other was responding to our shared story was absolutely priceless. It’s especially fun to note how our similar eyes crinkle, our mouths open, our faces contort, our hands flail and our laughter shrills together in a perfect unison resulting from shared DNA and decades of sisterly togetherness.

In a horrible turn of events, my 11-year-old, Celeste, is even better than imitating me than I ever was at mocking my mother during my adolescent intolerance. Her antics are simultaneously embarrassing, enlightening and humanizing. We bond through laughter and in return for my tolerating her sassiness, she tolerates my affectionate squeezes as we navigate this tumultuous time of our relationship together.

There are some who you know so well that little needs to be verbalized to share in the joke together. One friend commented that he doesn’t even need to try and make me laugh, because I find his responses to life humorous in and of themselves — no scripting, editing or effort required. Just cruising through the absurdity of life together is funny and enjoyable.

It’s laughter that gets me through the the horrific sadness of trauma, grief, abuse and neglect that I hear everyday in my practice.

It’s laughter that helps me overcome the fears, doubts, uncertainties and overwhelm that I (and everyone else) experience.

It’s laughter that warms my heart, fills my body with love, and connects me with special people every day.

I deeply value and cherish those who can make me shake to the bone with silliness; shaving years off my chronological age yet adding them to my life, sharpening my mind, and rejuvenating my soul. Do you?

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” — Victor Borge

Twitter: @Joyce_Marter and @Urban_Balance.

Facebook: Joyce Marter, LCPC and Urban Balance.

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Image: Fabrizio Lonzini via Compfight

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