It feels like I have been absent here for awhile and honestly I have. With the political climate the way that it currently is; coupled with the unfortunate divide it is causing, it has consumed a great deal of my head space, enough that I felt that it best to not write anything that would come across the wrong way. I never wanted this to be a political space, but I have always intended it for a place for me to be honest and open and share my experiences.
The reason I blog, especially with The W.I.S.E. project is that it keeps me accountable to living mindfully, being gracious and taking opportunities to create joy in my life. Whether one person or 50 read a post I am still accountable to myself to practice what I preach.
I did say at the first of the month that the W.I.S.E. principles that I wanted to incorporate were wisdom, integrity, sincerity and empathy. There could not be a better time in our lives to embrace these qualities. In the past several years I have been impacted by the importance of sharing our stories and embracing our wholeness. Not only is there is an acceptance in sharing our stories, there is freedom and community. When we accept who we are, our entire story, not just the good parts but the dark parts as well, we are acknowledging that our stories have shaped us and helped us to grow. We find that all of the sudden that our dark secrets can no longer be used as weapons against us but maybe as a door that invites people to find comfort and connection in our stories and to share their stories as well. There is wisdom in stories and though we may differ immensely there are similarities that unite our hearts and our minds. Though we perceive things differently, there is intelligence and knowledge in stories that cannot be bought. When people share their narratives, wrought with integrity and sincerity both the storyteller and the listener have an opportunity to grow. When we receive stories with an open heart and an open mind, we allow them to touch our souls; we are then able to respond with empathy instead of judgement.
We are who we are, but we are constantly changing and growing. Maturity, experience, incidents and circumstances change. According to quantum biology we experience a 98% cellular rejuvenation each year so we are literally constantly changing. If we open our minds and our hearts to stories, to possibilities and to ideas ‘who we are’ will change. That is growth.
How many times have we said such phrases that start with:
’I would never’ or ‘if that happened to me’, or ‘can you imagine?’
The issue with those statements is that there are some situations that we cannot truthfully predict or imagine until we find ourselves right in the middle of them. This type of rhetoric lacks four very important things; wisdom, integrity, sincerity and empathy.
I have quoted this saying by the Dalai Lama many times but it could not be more relevant,
“Love and compassion are necessities,not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”
The world is a scary place. The world is a beautiful place. The world is a place of constant change.
Those three phrases have one common denominator; they are all based on perception. I can tell you what to look at but I cannot tell you what to see.
Now more than ever in my lifetime, we are led to believe that there is an enemy at the gates. In that line up as well is fear, bias, judgement and indifference. The best way to face fear and indifference is with love, patience, empathy, sincerity, integrity and wisdom.
An “Us vs. Them” mindset is dangerous. Fear and division does not create positive change.
We are one. Only egos, beliefs and fear separate us.
I just feel that if we focus on promoting love instead of hate and focus on our similarities instead of our differences the world around us would be a better place. We do not have to agree on everything that would be ridiculous and boring. We should however extend more kindness, understanding and respect.
Is empathy the basis for building bridges to connect people, to understanding the motivations and fears of others and gaining a varied perspective? Can practicing empathy allow us to see the world in greater definition not just from our own perspectives but through the perception of others?
I think so.
~ Ira Glass