Category Archives: Relationships

The fight within

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Lately I have really felt like I am struggling. It has not been more pain per se. We have been busy but not that busy. I had had a hard time putting my finger on what was missing. What was I forgetting to do? What was I not attending to? It took me entirely too long to realize one simple thing. It was emotional overload.

People who feel everything so deeply need more than once a week spiritual self-care. I forget that. I feel like I should be able to be like everyone else and Sunday should be enough for me. I was getting really good at carving fifteen minutes a day out just for me. I still need to do that. I also need to figure out a way to incorporate more meditation, more nature more healing for my heart. It has only been in the last two years or so I have set up healthy boundaries. The problem I still struggle with is,being okay with those boundaries.  I need to be okay with saying no. I have done it, which I know is good. It just still kills me to say no. I can’t help you right now. My desire to hug and hold everyone and squeeze them until all their broken parts are mashed back together is so strong. The answer is also not, to just not be there for people. That is a slow death in a different way.

It looks like then, I have to start scheduling time to ground myself and re-center myself. I can’t let myself think I am too busy for that. I need to remember that it is essential to life. As much as breathing air is essential to life. Some days it is my own emotional upheaval that I need to quite and soothe. Some days it is letting go of others emotions that I seem to absorb. This has been my inner struggle that I had a hard time putting my finger on. I know I need to do this stuff. I know boundaries are good. I know they are healthy. It is quieting the voice in my head that says, but if you can help you should. It is letting go of the guilt of saying no for my own mental and emotional health. It is being at peace with my own limits of how much I can help and how much emotional trauma I do absorb. I have no doubt I don’t absorb it. When you tell me something and I say that breaks my heart, I mean it. There is nothing worse for me then hearing a need and feeling helpless to help. Even knowing that some issues you have to workout yourself. Even knowing that sometimes the best help I can give is by just sitting there. Even knowing that sometimes the best thing is to say no. No because this is not something anyone can help you with. No Because sometimes you reach out when really you need to reach within.

Yesterday I took some steps to implementing small things in my life that will help with all this. I bought a smudging sage and some new crystals specific to helping with these issues. I am determined I will light the smudge stick at least, at least once a day. I am thinking instead of reading during my me time I need to sit outside with my smudge stick and crystals and feel the ground beneath me.

What are some ways you attend to your self-care? Are you including spiritual/emotional/mental care as well?

 

Strong girls, confident girls and American Girl

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I love perusing the bookshelves at Goodwill. I have found some real treasures there. Sometimes for as little as a quarter. Sometimes for as much as two dollars. Over the past few months I have come across American Girl books. First of all, I had completely forgot there was a book series. Then I discovered they had these guide type books.

Having a ten-year-old girl to raise, I have wondered how to approach subjects. When do I approach them. I am constantly looking online for information on this. I had not really thought to find a book that explained it to HER.  The first one we came across was ” The Care and Keeping of You 2: The Body Book for Older Girls.”  There was nothing in this book I had not told her already. However, she dove into it and really seemed to finally grasp some basic concepts. She was understanding why she needed to change underwear every day. Why she had to use shampoo conditioner and soap when she took a shower. I can’t tell you how many times she asked to take a rinse off shower. Why brushing your teeth last night doesn’t count in the morning.We read some of it together but for the most part it was just in her room for her to read. I know she read it as when I went in to check on how clean her room was, It was always in a different spot.

Now instead of figuring out how to have birds and bees talks and your changing body talks I could focus on other important issues. With school starting back up, I thought I would go check out the book store again. We had visited lots during the summer. She has more chapter books than she knows what to do with.

When I stumbled upon another great book from American Girl. This one is something that some of the other mothers I am friends with and I have discussed a lot lately. “Stand Up for Yourself and Your Friends Dealing with Bullies and Bossiness, and Finding a Better Way. It is hard for me to comprehend that at Ten years old this is what she is dealing with now. She is my baby. Wait how is she walking? Why is she growing so fast? Alas, she is and the best way to deal with it is to pull up my panties and be ready. So I got the book, even though it was not remotely what I was looking for. I walked in to find books for a friend and maybe one for me.

Knowing my daughter is an eager to please type person like myself. Knowing how that affected me when I was her age. I wanted to fill up her bucket as much as possible, to strive for her not having the crippling self-doubt and lack of confidence I had.

Like the first book she started reading it right away. As she read things she liked or made sense to her she would talk to me about it. Normally reading hour is a bunch of me reminding her she is supposed to be reading and a lot of her rolling her eyes. This is why it’s an hour instead of the twenty minutes required. Once she had this book in her hands though it was all she could focus on. Even the next morning I found her walking around looking at it. I mean seriously how do you get upset she is not getting ready when she is reading? I really struggle with that. In the car she continued to read it and all these little squabbles that had come up, some when she was in Kindergarten, that she had never told me about. She had ideas of how to handle it if it happened again. The book encourages to set a personal motto, so that was what she was thinking about as she got out to go to school.

I remember being told to respect my elders. It didn’t matter if that elder was bullying me or being overly bossy. I was a kid. I had no say and if I said anything it was disrespectful. I have tried to encourage her to speak up for herself. To stand up for herself when she needed to. I have tried to teach her that if she sees it happening she should say something. I want her to feel heard but also have respect for those in charge. How in the world do you teach this as a parent who is eager to please and overly anxious to a child who is the same? Being the researcher I am, I looked up the book. Then to my wonderful surprise, I found there was all kinds of curriculum material available all centered around this book and another American Girl book.  Not once anywhere did I see it mention they should behave this way because God wanted it. I was so relieved. This was actually usable stuff to me! She is already eager to please and I want her to stand up for herself for HER. Not for anyone else, not even God.

My eyes have been opened and now this is probably something I am going to research more.  She already wanted to share this book with her friends so I have volunteered to do a Sunday School class on this subject. Perhaps this is something I will try to do more often. Perhaps I need to make this a goal for myself.

It starts with us, the parents and will trickle down from there. My hope is if we all do this, one day the world will be a kinder place.

Compassionate acceptance of love (#1000speak post)

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Compassionate acceptance of love (#1000speak post)

Growing up I was told boys loving boys was wrong. Girls loving girls was wrong. Thinking you were a boy when you had girl parts was wrong and vis versa. I was told you don’t question God.God didn’t make mistakes. I never really gave it much thought until a friend came out as a lesbian. Now what do I do? I like her as a person. She is a great friend. According to the religion I was part of at the time, I was not to associate with her anymore. She was openly admitting to a “sin” and not trying to change. When I turned to the church for guidance , I came away feeling like I had done something wrong. I had such immense guilt for wanting to keep the friendship I had. To turn someone away for being who they were was just not part of me.

It took me a long time to work out how I felt about love being love. I had to work past these stumbling blocks I didn’t even know I had. It was not to be talked about so I found myself stumbling. I was lucky to have a friend who was willing and open to let me stutter it out and really dissect how I ,personally felt. I felt a openess and acceptance that I had not felt when I turned to the church. There was a lot of back and forth. Was she born this way? Was it a choice? I saw her dating guys was she faking it? How did she see me? Was she attracted to me? What was her type? Did she have a type? Is this something she was trying out? Didn’t she want babies? She not only explained most of it calmly and openly but she also questioned me back.   Are you sure it’s what you believe or is that just what you have been led to believe? It wasn’t easy and there was definitely squirming in our seats on both sides. We were both works in progress, still are.

It made our friendship stronger. I like to think it made us stronger as individuals as well. However, that was not the end of it. Later I found out that she was holding things back. She told me, Saying that I don’t approve of your choices but it’s your life isn’t acceptance. It is not compassionate. In fact it made her feel guilty, like she couldn’t share everything with me. She wanted to have girl talk and relationship discussions but  when she did she felt very judged. Here I thought I was being so helpful. I was making it worse, which was the opposite of what I wanted to do.  The opposite of what I thought I was doing. I had put conditions on my acceptance and thus our relationship.It wasn’t all one-sided. We had an open and honest enough relationship that she told me about some choices I had made that she didn’t agree with.  It was shocking to me that she actually didn’t approve of some of my decisions. I had not felt any disapproval from her.I never felt judged. She always seemed genuinely happy with whatever decision I made. That was when I realized she was mixing compassion with her acceptance. I am glad she was openly honest with me about her sexual preference. I am glad she was unapologetic about it. It really made me think.  It was easy to say no it is a sin and not acceptable when it wasn’t personal. I didn’t have to think much about it. I realize now how unusual that was for someone to be able to openly and unapologetically say this is who I am take it or leave it. It wasn’t easy for her but she had gone through her own storms to come to the point she was at. We are no longer such close friends. It had nothing to do with her sexual preference. Sometimes you just drift apart. I am forever thankful for the friendship we did have. The learning and growing I went through. Perhaps those lessons were the whole reason she was in my life to begin with.

It wasn’t until I started trying to think compassionately about others decisions that I realized how wrong I had been. Acceptance needs compassion to take the sting out of differences of opinion. Without it acceptance doesn’t mean nearly as much.  As much as we say we do not care what others think, we do. On some level we do. We may not even be conscience of it. The point is, I realized that in order to be accepting of others, compassion is integral. Compassion for myself as I explored what I really truly believed. Compassion for what she was going through and her feelings. True acceptance of someone for who they are is wrapped and entwined with compassion.  As you go through the journey you realize sometimes acceptance is leading and sometimes compassion is leading. At some point you realize they are no longer entwined, they have become one. In the end though there is just love. Love for a friend. Love for another human being. In order to accept that love is love no matter what circumstance requires acceptance at every turn and a blanket of compassion.

 

Join us as we spread warm fuzzy feelings across the interwebs every twentieth to drowned out the sad and horror and bad stuff that bombards us every day. Write and link up, read, comment, share, it all matters. We are not looking to make big huge ripples. Little ripples are much more effective and they can amaze us with their power.

Connecting with Compassion to who I am #1000speak

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Everybody dreams what their life will be like when they are older. Especially when you are a teenager and life is so hard and no one even remotely understands you. Life will be so much better when you are an adult and in charge.I would get married. We would have at least two kids but probably more and of course we would have a boy first and then a girl. We would have this nice house which I would always be able to keep clean. We would have success after success at our careers. We would have money for vacations and would be well-traveled. This picture of how it will be drives you on and on and on. Until it doesn’t. Until that is not how your life is going at all, not even remotely. Your daydreams didn’t account for reality. They didn’t account for infertility, job loss, deaths of loved ones, and on and on the list could go. That’s the problem I struggled with for a while, the picture of my life in my head and how it really has gone.

Many days and nights spent berating myself for messing it up so badly. I obviously wasn’t trying hard enough, doing enough, being enough. I had to get my act together. It was past time to grow up and be the adult I dreamed I would be. In time, I added to that. It was time to be the wife I dreamed I would be. It was time to be the mother I dreamed I would be. It was time I had the career I wanted. I was so good at criticizing myself. Really , I still am.

Every month for a week at a time I would beat myself up. It was so easy to get pregnant we had been told. It only takes one time. Every month I struggled with the feelings of not being enough. Not being woman enough to do a simple thing like get pregnant. Made worse only by doctors who said “ah your young it will happen. There is nothing wrong.” Nothing wrong at all with a nineteen year old, a twenty year old, a twenty-one year old trying month after month to get pregnant and failing. Month after month of seeing my dreams flushed down the toilet, literally. Finally when a doctor did believe, I wasn’t relieved. I didn’t feel vindicated. I felt broken. The day came and the test was positive, for a short while everything was back in place. Then it was gone. I was back to flushing my dreams down the toilet. That picture in my head said I should be pregnant with baby number two by now. That picture in my head was starting to shake and tremble. If I was really honest that picture had broken years ago but I refused to see it.

The test was positive. I took a million more. I didn’t really believe it. I was sure something was going to happen. Even as I was in labor, something would happen. My dreams can’t be coming true. I will mess this up some how. We were leaving the hospital with a baby. WITH. A. BABY. For a few days I believed and then, you have eighteen years to mess this up every day. For eighteen months I worried about every single detail. No, I didn’t worry, I obsessed. I question every decision at least ten times. My house could never be clean enough, I could never be doing enough for this precious life. Obviously the only answer was to try for another baby. You know so I could mess it up twice. I mean so I could get at least one right. Maybe. Two months and nothing. So much for the second time being so much easier. Then the phone call. My husband lost his job. Laid off. Back to the doctor I went, for birth control.

At this point you maybe wondering if I had the same issues around getting married. The simple answer is no. The process was not simple at all. Three weeks after we met my husband was in a car accident. He had been taken by Helicopter out to a trauma hospital. Scary words were said, like life support, coma, brain injury. To see someone like that is not easy. To see someone like that and suddenly know they can’t die your suppose to marry this person.The only second guessing I have is , if he hadn’t been in that accident would I have ever known? Would I have messed that up and walked away. For a long time that answer was probably. Probably I would have walked away from the greatest thing in my life. I am sure I would have messed it up.

One day it was clear. I needed help. Therapy started quickly, before I changed my mind. Medication happened. Medication changes and more therapy. It took me years to be comfortable with self-analysis. This was just simply not done. You simply didn’t do self- analysis with someone else. This is what you did in bed late at night when no one was around. Most certainly you never told anyone, let alone discussed it. Slowly progress was made. Until it all fell apart. It like literally fell apart, got laid off then my car blew up and then I wrecked my “new” car. I tried to pick it back up and worked at a new job for three months and then I realized. No my family is more important to me then this. This work and have nothing left, using medications that allowed me to work but ultimately would shorten my life considerably. My family deserved more than this.

It really wasn’t though, it just seemed like it. Instead it was all falling into place. All that therapy was not for nothing. I have been slowly coming to accept where I am. The first thing I had to do was tear up and burn that picture in my head of how life was supposed to be. Chronic illness had dictated long ago just how clean I could get and keep my house. It dictated a lot of things for a while. Second thing was to tell this chronic illness crap it wasn’t the boss of me, well not all the time. I started writing as a form of self-analysis and as something that maybe eventually one day it would help someone else. Even if it only helped me it was worth it.

Four years later, trying to look back to what really ultimately helped me make the change. The change that took me from a person who had to please everyone else even if it didn’t please her to the one who likes to please others but knows she has to please herself as well. I can’t tell you how much watching tv show after tv show actually helped because I stayed true to what truly interested me. How many Doctor Who episodes I watched at just the right time. The universe was getting its message to me.

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I can’t tell you how much these words stuck with me long after the episode was over. I can’t tell you how much I really just sat and thought about how I feel about these words. There were quite a few others I am sure that I heard but didn’t really hear. I know now that it wasn’t the right time for me to hear them. Somewhere along the way I found myself back to being an avid reader. Somehow I was finding myself. Four years of this, so don’t think it was just one day. I can’t tell you where I was in the journey when I saw this next quote. I just know it stuck with me.

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Huh, yeah. THAT. For a while I just related to this post. I would see it and it would always get a “like”. Then maybe I shared it. The more it sat in my brain just percolating the more I thought about it. Then came the final point, the epiphany if you will. What if I just let go of that picture? What if instead of burning it or ripping it in anger of how it was “suppose” to be. I just let it go. Slowly, I began to actually enjoy my life. I began to start analyzing what I do have about a year ago.

I can’t tell you that voice that always says I am not enough, not doing enough is gone. It is not. It is not always easily squelched under foot either. This is where Buddhism has really come into play for me. Reading some of the Buddhist texts and books available through the Unitarian Universalist Library in our Church I found this quote.  This quote quite often becomes my mantra during meditation.

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I can’t tell you how many times that voice tries to rise and I can only answer Self compassion repeated over and over. I am not quite there yet. I am not quite to who I am yet. I am getting closer and stronger in it every day though.I am trying every day to connect with who I am instead of who I thought I would be.  I hope you are too. I hope you are showing yourself compassion because that voice is wrong. It is dead wrong. You are enough.

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Please do CONNECT with Compassion and Link up to 1000 Voices of Compassion Speak

When nurturing is hard to do #1000Speak

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There is so much going on in the world that is bad, sad, disheartening and dare I say evil. When you have a kid you just want to protect them from all that bad stuff. I want to stick my daughter in a bubble and not let any of those bad things touch her. I don’t want her to know there are people who are cruel to animals. I don’t want her to see the devastation of deforestation. I don’t want her to see children starving. I don’t want her to see polluted waters and animals dying from it. I don’t want her to see what happens in oil spills. I don’t want her to know anything about terrorist or suicide bombers. I don’t want her to see or hear or be part of any kind of hate or discrimination.

Ultimately parents should do what is best for the child and I know as harsh as it seems, hiding her from those things will not help her.

Why in the world would I want to expose her to any of this? Well, if she doesn’t know about it , I can’t nurture any feelings of compassion for those children, animals, plants, whatever. If I bite the bullet and have the courage to talk to her about these kinds of things, I can help her see more than just one point of view. I can nurture a point of view that comes from compassion and love.  I can help her separate the behavior from the person. I can help her see how much even just voicing her dissent is important. I can help her see that even if it seems no one hears her dissent what matters is she voiced it. I can help her appreciate what she does have and how valuable just knowing where her next meal is coming from is. I can try and make sure the information she receives isn’t biased or warped. I can help foster her natural compassion for nature by open and honest conversations. Perhaps we can even learn together ways to do better , make an impact or just have a better understanding.

When I was in third grade I had to go to summer school. I had to go to summer school basically every summer but that is besides the point. This summer was memorable. Mr. Kelso was this amazing teacher I had that took a week to talk about Earth Day. In the middle of the summer! For years I assumed Earth Day was in the middle of the summer. When it came to my attention it was in April, I was like um what? No it’s not. Did they change it? He had made such an impact that it never occurred to me that it wasn’t actually Earth Day that week. When I think of that summer I think of Mr. Kelso and planting seeds and exploring the ocean tide pools and a bright hot pink Earth Day t-shirt we got. I can truly trace back my wonder in nature and the amazing world we live in to him. He nurtured a compassion for the Earth we live on just by using free materials because they were “old”. Did he think it was no big deal? Just something to fill the time that was also free? I don’t think so. He had an excitement about the whole week that just couldn’t be faked. Even if he did what a great example of how the smallest cheapest things can make such an impact.

This is what inspires my desire to make sure my daughter’s summers are rich in education and fun at the same time.  I started by trying to spread out what I remembered in that one week in the summer of third grade and spread it over the entire summer. We go to science museums and events that are geared toward specific issues. We go to things that to her just seem fun, Puppet shows and gardening events and such. Those puppet shows are about the rainforest and why its important to save it. They are pretty spectacular in and of themselves as it is not just a regular puppet stage type set up. The whole front half of the room is the stage.  We go to Gardening events that have focuses on growing your own food, on the importance of trees and many more. We go on nature hikes with biologist to learn about different insects, last year it was dragonflies. We went to demonstrations on controlled burns and demonstrations on the hazards of water pollution.   This summer we plan to go to a village that is run entirely eco-friendly. Don’t tell Rick Scott but they talk about climate change there.

Maybe all those summer’s ago, Mr. Kelso figured out what I have learned. It is not going to be me that changes the world for the better. It is the seeds I am planting. One of those seeds happens to be my daughter. The seeds I am nurturing in her are hopefully going to be planted in turn and continue in a ripple affect.Ultimately they are seeds of compassion in its many forms.

Link up or read other post that are part of 1000 Voices of Compassion Speak here:

All the Meme’s, #1000speak, April announcement

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When I get on the internet sometimes it is like this:

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Sometimes it even gets to this:

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I have enough pages and friends that I follow that I even get this :

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However this is often what happens

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Which is why I am so glad to be part of the initiative of 1000 Voices of Compassion. There is one day of positivity and good happy reading. We have had two great months of posts. I have to has gone a long way to helping me have faith in humanity on a regular basis. The best part is there is so much to read that I can go back when the news is a little overwhelming.  While March was a hard brain bending topic of Bullying and showing compassion, we had some just simply amazing pieces linked up.

April’s theme has been announced.

Nurturing. Which we brain stormed , so the link will take you to some prompts to get your brain going. Or to interest you into coming back to read and share the posts.

While that might not sound exactly like it is a hard concept, remember the overall theme is compassion and being positive.

While I know all these fantastic writers and followers of 1000 voices are great. I am pretty sure it is not like this

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Our goal is to help spread happiness and kindness , love and compassion around.

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We hope that we can share some of it with others and in turn they will share it with more others and soon others will spread it as well. Maybe we could even bring back unicorns!!! Okay well probably not but, I would love it to see if more people spit out rainbows instead of hate and anger.

I have compassion, but not for them? #1000speak

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When I watch T.V. I rarely just watch T.V. mindlessly. Recently I was watching a re-run of Criminal minds where Aaron Hodgner has a parent teacher conference about his son, Jack. He finds out the child his son has referred to as a friend and wanting this kid to come over and all the fifty million other requests that a child makes when they like someone, is actually picking on Jack. Jack has chosen to be the peacemaker and is set on making friends with this bully. I keep thinking about this. Every-time I read about bullying or hear about it, or see it! I am so thankful that 1000 speak compassion theme this month is on bullying.

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One of the principles of Unitarian Universalism is that every person has inherent worth and dignity. I keep thinking about this and how it applies to bullies. Are we telling our kids that everyone has inherent worth and dignity, except bullies.  Really that except part, you can tack anything on. Is this really what we WANT to teach our children? Probably not. The fact is though, in many ways we are. Just sit with that a minute. Really turn over the words in your head and really think about it. It is a hard concept to wrap our brains around. When we look at why people bully; attention, power, to fit in we can perhaps wrap our mind around that. In my mind, once I accept that a person who is considered a bully does have inherent worth and dignity; it opens a door. A door to compassion. A door of seeing that person for a person. I fully understand there is a difference in bullying child to another child and a bullying adult to another adult. However the more I think about it the more I circle back that the best teacher my daughter has is me. What am I modeling to her? Am I modeling that I truly believe that every person has inherent worth and dignity or am I teaching her that there is an except (insert stereotype).

Let’s look at what does this mean exactly? What is inherent worth? Dictionary.com says that inherent means: existing in someone or something as a permanent and inseparable element, quality, or attribute. It says it is an adjective, a describing word. What does worth mean? Here again I went to Dictionary.com for a definition. This one was a bit more detailed. It can have a few different meanings.

preposition

1.good or important enough to justify (what is specified):

advice worth taking; a place worth visiting.   2.  having a value of, or equal in value to, as in money: This vase is worth 12 dollars.
3.having property to the value or amount of:They are worth millions.
noun

4.excellence of character or quality as commanding esteem:

women of worth. 5.usefulness or importance, as to the world, to a person, or for purpose:
Your worth to the world is inestimable. 6.value, as in money.  7.a quantity of something of a specified value:
ten cents’ worth of candy. 8.wealth; riches; property or possessions:net worth.
No where in there does it say that it is dependent on that person or even thing, to be good, nice, pleasant.  We could even go on to say that we are talking about; each person has an inseparable element,quality or attribute useful and important to the world.
When you take this and apply it to someone who is a bully. WOW. Mind blown! We have to stop and really look at that person as a person. They have some(or a lot) not so great aspects, but what about the good things? At first I was thinking, Well they are really good at being mean. So lets look at Toy Story, at the neighborhood kid Sid.  We could say he is really good at blowing up toys. He is really good at problem solving how to blow up toys. He is really good at deconstructing toys. How do we then apply that to real world things? Well repairmen have to be really good at deconstructing things. Chances are if you are really good at deconstructing you also understand how it is constructed. There is always something somewhere being constructed. Often we think of blowing things up as only bad.  The fact is though, there are plenty of things that require that kind of knowledge. We often blow up buildings to take them down when they have become a hazard or a danger to others. This is not even to mention all the science behind it, that can be applied in other areas.

Let me spin off here and tell you a little story:

Recently my daughter told me that one of her friends was not really treating her as a friend should. It was mostly mild things. Let’s call this friend, Ruth. Ruth was not letting Maggie play the game she wanted. The way she wanted. She would play with Maggie in before care but only until another friend came then they went off and played. There were a myriad of other little things like this. I discussed with Maggie that she needed to tell Ruth how she was feeling. That she needed to stand up for herself and say,” hey wait a minute, this isn’t right.” I told her Ruth may not like it. Ruth may say not nice things back to her. I then told her she didn’t need to believe any of those things. I reminded her that as long as Maggie was happy with Maggie then just let it roll off her. For days when I picked Maggie up I asked her did you talk to Ruth? No. Which led to more conversations about it being okay to be scared. It is a hard thing to do. However once you do stand up for yourself, you will feel so much better. I let it go. Her solution seemed to be to just go play somewhere else.

When our kids are younger we tell them to use their words. We then turn around and tell them if they don’t like how someone is playing to go play somewhere else. There is a missing link here. We would like to think all problems will be that easy. They are only three or four, they will have other friends, but is that really teaching them the best thing to do?Yes there does come a point and time where you do have to walk away. However we should be telling them to use their words first. Tell that other kid that you don’t like how they are playing. This is an essential tool they are going to need later in elementary and even beyond.

It happened one day. I think it was about a week after it first came up. Maggie got in the car and said.

” I did it! I told Ruth she was not being a friend to me. I feel really good about it Mommy! “

She was beaming from ear to ear. I responded with :

“I am so proud of you. What did Ruth say?”

Maggie says “Well at first she just kind of rolled her eyes and said whatever and walked away. But she came back a little later and said. I am sorry I have not been a nice friend. How can I make it better?”

Now this may not be typical in mainstream schools, as much as I wish it was. Maggie and Ruth are at a Montessori school. This is what they spent a whole semester in Kindergarten working on.

” See aren’t you glad you said something? Stood up for yourself?” I asked.

“Yes! and it was hard! It was really hard because I was afraid she would depart from me. I didn’t want to lose her as a friend but I decided to say something. And it worked!”

” So maybe tomorrow you can go to Ruth and ask her if there is anything she needs that you can help her with.”

This lead to more discussion. I explained to her that often bullies are bullies for attention or to feel better about themselves or even to fit in with others. We have to look beyond their behavior and see if we can find out why. I related it to when she gets over tired she gets sassy and cries easily. She is not a sassy girl but the underlying problem is that she was overly tired. To which she responded ” or when I have sugar and am all crazy and you say I am bouncing off the walls. ” Exactly. We can’t always do something about the underlying problem, like a sugar rush, but we can have compassion and show that. We discussed that if Ruth had said ” I am not being mean, I am a great friend.” that it would be time to walk away. It wouldn’t mean that Maggie didn’t care about Ruth anymore. We sometimes have people that we care about but are not really friends with anymore.

Now, it is also true that this is a very mild case of bullying. However if we are discussing this with our kids and actively helping them problem solve the little things. If we are demonstrating that we also do this in our lives with the people we interact with. I truly believe they will have the confidence to tackle the bigger things like showing compassion to bullies.

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A common theme of kindness

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The more involved in #1000speak , the more my mind has opened. I want to write some posts that cover some of the common areas of compassion that have been talked about. Compassion covers such a broad area. I love that we will be continuing this on a monthly basis. I love that we have gotten sub-topics for each month yet, still under the wing of compassion. However, sometimes the words just need to come out and this is one of those times.

Religion can be such a touchy topic. We often look at the differences. We often make judgement based on the religion as a whole. There are extremest and I would even go so far as to say terrorist in every religion. It does not and should not mean they represent the entire religion. The only way to really find out what a religion is about is to learn. The biggest hurdle is actually wanting to learn; wanting to leave behind judgement and assumptions and learn. The more I have done this the more I have seen similarities. The more I have seen religion mostly talks about kindness and love. It is the general theme that runs through them all. This Sunday our sermon was about Radical Hospitality, that seems like a great place to start.

 As someone who not only loves to read but also loves to research questions like this, I can tell you I got lost in Google. Before I knew it, I had twenty tabs open.Generally I find these kinds of stories fascinating to begin with. Stories that tell a story but also teach a value.  I can safely tell you there is not a lack of stories that talk about being kind, showing hospitality, having compassion. As is often the case in life, not one of these stories teach only one lesson. Really they could be deconstructed to teach quite a bit more than just one lesson. However, I kept my searches to hospitality. I searched for stories of hospitality in Islam, Jewish,Christian Buddhism, Hinduism, Wicca as well as just God’s and Goddess’s in general. I was really aiming for leaving no one religion out. However, I am sure there are many more than just these. Seriously, I had to keep some perspective or I could easily still be lost in the search three days later.

I think the first step is to know what does the word hospitality really mean. Dictionary.com states it is a noun and an adjective; 1.the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers. 2. the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way. I wanted more though and then I stumbled upon the synonyms. Kindness, warmth, generosity, and even more into those words heart,love and compassion show up. Something I noticed is it doesn’t say anything about “the golden rule” treat others as you expect to be treated or treat others as you would treat yourself. The Minister today made a good point that how we treat ourselves is really not a good place to start from. I know I don’t always treat myself with compassion and kindness. I can be down right mean and overly critical of myself.

Islam speaks of how the Profit Muhammad showed hospitality,whether the guest was expected or not. There are many references to hospitality in the qu’ran and it often references the story The Honored Guests of Abraham. A story of entertaining angels. While this can also show that sometimes it feels awkward for the host as well, it also shows not to make judgments. Abraham thought they were odd but still he showed them hospitality.  Hospitality is also heavily through the Christian Bible as well. In Hebrews 13:2 it also states to always show hospitality as many have entertained angels unaware. 1 Peter 4:9 also states to do so without grumbling. This is a great reminder that hospitality should be given without complaining.  Even the Buddha stated that hospitality should be shown to all, whatever their caste, religious affiliation or status.  There is also a great Buddhist story about one way hospitality.  It falls along the lines of selfless service; You must give to receive,which can again be linked back to the bible as well.  Even in Hinduism there is the thought that everyone and everything is god. Therefore the act of hospitality is also an act of worship. They also have a story of God as a guest. I stumbled upon a great Jewish story of A Rich Man’s Hospitality. This one also shows the lesson of seeing people for their own value, not measured by what they have and can give. I especially love the stories of the God’s and Goddess’s. Over and over they show that kindness and selfless acts and true genuine hospitality is the way. From Hestia to Vesta to Empanada and even Zeus was concerned about showing hospitality to anyone and everyone. Wicca celebrates hospitality in the second harvest also known as Mabon.

There are so many things I could say. I could really write about each one of theses stories and religions. However, what I wanted you to see is that it all ties together. It doesn’t matter who you worship or don’t worship, who you believe in or don’t believe in, they are all saying the same thing. In a very broad general term, they are saying to love. Love doesn’t judge, or hate, or assume anything. Love doesn’t care what it does or doesn’t have it gives anyway. This is what they are all saying and I can see that just by zeroing in on one topic. It runs that rampant through all religions.

References:

http://www.islamreligion.com/articles/10662/

 http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/312880/jewish/A-Rich-Mans-Hospitality.htm

http://learningtogive.org/resources/folktales/Calabash.asp

 http://www.buddhisma2z.com/content.php?id=178

 http://vedanta.org/2012/monthly-readings/god-as-guest-hospitality-in-hindu-culture/

http://www.openbible.info/topics/hospitality

http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/greekdeities/p/HestiaProfile.htm

http://www.thaliatook.com/OGOD/empanada.html

http://www.lib.unb.ca/Texts/QWERTY/Qweb/qwerte/mic_mal/visit.htm

http://www.comp.leeds.ac.uk/nora/html/51-24.html

  http://www.anglicantheologicalreview.org/static/pdf/articles/snodgrass.pdf

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hospitality

It is not over …..A call to action…..#1000speak

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Did you miss linking up for `1000 voices speak for compassion but want to? Well the good news is; it is continuing!! Be sure you are following the FACEBOOK, TWITTER, GOOGLE+ and the BLOG!

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Quote found on Pinterest Robert E. Ricciardelli

March 20th 1000 voices speak for compassion is continuing.The subject is still compassion but has a more specific tone, building on bullying. You can write on any subject about compassion and link-up. We just thought compassion encompasses so much we could narrow it down a little as well. Please do not feel you HAVE to write about bullying. We do want to stress that the emphasis should remain on a positive light. Some thoughts to consider: Can we have compassion for bully’s? Why should we have compassion for bully’s.  Do Bully’s deserve compassion? How would I show a bully compassion? Do I model being compassionate to ALL people(including bullys) to my child? How can I show compassion to someone I consider a bully? I will be writing specifically about having compassion for bully’s, not the behavior but the person. It is quite a thought to wrap your brain around, I know.

 

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Quote found on Pinterest

Stay tuned for the link up on March 20th and GET WRITING!!!

What Exactly is this Compassion you speak of?

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Sometimes I think as adults we forget the basics. The things kids just know and don’t even second guess. Somewhere in the pursuit of being an adult we forget the most important things. We allow the world to jade us and become cynical. Kids just naturally see the good in people. Until you give them a reason, you are good. Sometimes people call this growing a thick skin. Let’s not forget though that thick skin can still be soft, bendable, pliable, giving.

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 I put out a call on my personal Facebook page, on Chronically sick Facebook page, on twitter. on Google + and even Instagram.  It was really difficult to get people to take part in this.  I was not interested in judging anyone for what their child said. I expected a lot of,

“I don’t know.” ‘s

A lot of shrugging

My daughter even asked me to define my question more.  What do you mean Mommy?  Compassion about what? I think that in and of itself was very telling. She didn’t spit out a definition. She automatically knew it was about an action. It just furthered my belief that children just instinctively know what compassion is. They may not know what the real word for it is, but they know it.

A two-year old may not be able to even say the word compassion. However,burst into tears around a two-year old and most of them will either join you or give you soft touches and ask what is wrong. Isn’t that like compassion personified?

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The very next comment I got was from a two-year old. They really just boil it down to the basics, don’t they.

Since getting involved in 1000 speak for compassion , I have been naturally thinking of compassion more and more. I have seen some areas in my life where it is lacking. I have really been paying attention to more and more that is going on around me.

I would describe myself as a compassionate person to begin with. I found it strange to even be thinking of ways I can be more compassionate. Even at the same time as I am thinking, we can always be more compassionate.

We want our kids to be compassionate but are we really showing them what compassion is. That compassion doesn’t limit anything. Every thing, living or nonliving, deserves compassion.Does that seem weird? Non living needs compassion? How in the world can non-living things need compassion. Really just sit there for a minute with that.

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If compassion is caring and loving something and wanting it to be whole and complete. Then it can be seen as treating your things with compassion. Some call that respect, but I see compassion being applied here too. Have you watched how a child plays with a treasured toy? Lovingly and not wanting to hurt them. While we know toys are not alive, we don’t stop them. Eventually they learn their toy is not alive, they still treasure it.  Books may not be able to feel when there pages rip but does that mean it feels any less hurtful?  There are those that would argue that since paper is made from trees, it is in fact a living thing. I can completely see that as well.

Let me just gush for a moment about what Monkey boy says compassion is. School.  It seems silly at first but , really passion is school. Compassion does teach us so much. If we let it.  Those last four words, they matter the most. Compassion can teach us things, but we have to let it in. It also has to be a lesson we are ready to receive. Sometimes when this happens to me, I have had a particular lesson several times, I wonder what took me so long to ‘Get’ it. Here it was for me to see all this time. Sometimes then it is also a lesson we didn’t even know we needed.

 So what exactly is this compassion? It seems we can sum it up by what the kids have said. We don’t necessarily know the word for it but we know it when we see it;It is whole and accepting love, it is learning and most of all it is an action. Whether we are giving or receiving, it is an action.