Space for Compassion

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My local supermarket has closed for a month, to refurbish its tired self, and I had run out of tea, specifically Russian Caravan Tea. It’s not the same in the early morning to have some generic tea. You see, I’m an old fashioned girl, when it comes to tea. I use the finest quality loose leaf and a teapot that doesn’t drip when I pour. I use organic full cream milk and I put the milk in first, I know, I know the tea nazis are all raising their eyebrows but that’s how I like it. In the 1950’s most tea sold was loose leaf (98%) and now about 2% is sold loose. We have become convenience junkies and as a consequence are truly making this planet a gross and littered place to live.

I was drinking tea with a friend who has been ill for about 3 and a half years, a chronic condition that needs careful management, quiet and support. We talked about the difficulty of letting go of her dreams of trekking, travelling and being a social butterfly. When coming to terms with illness, especially chronic illness, it is often the loss of dreams and ambitions that you mourn. The virtual projections you make into the future that can no longer be a reality. In coming to terms with being ill and being ill for long periods you have to root yourself in the now and find out just who you are and how to be happy with that and for that.

My ex-husband had cancer and was his usual grumpy, angry self one day when I went to visit him in hospital. It was not my place to make any suggestions, regarding his well being, as we were well and truly divorced, but I did care enough to visit. I watched him disassemble reality as a negative famine. So I asked a few simple questions.
“Is there anything about this situation that at least makes you grateful?”
He was being treated at St Vincents Hospital in Sydney, it has a reputation as one of the foremost Oncology hospitals in the world and the staff were, to every man and woman, kind and thoughtful.
After a few moments thought he said, “The staff here are wonderful, they really care about me.”
“You feel cared for and safe?” I said.
“Yes, there is that.”
He started to cry, not in the way of self pity but he cried with gratitude. This man was quite controlling and precise in his character and this emotion of gratitude was unusual in him. I felt the atmosphere in the room change, I started to tear up in empathy and with love for this beautiful man who was having such a hard time, yet found the essence of life even in the most dire of circumstances.

The strange thing was that his aggressive cancer went into remission within a few days of that experience, coincidence or a gift synergistic with a deep experience of love and gratitude. I have my thoughts, I am just grateful he had an extra 6 months with his new partner.

I was thinking of Compassion and Empathy the great movers and shakers of the true evolution of consciousness and as I discussed with my friend over our cups of tea: just how much suffering do we (humanity) have to endure to connect with our essence?

Be aware of others suffering, even if you have never had an injury, trauma or much of a hurt emotionally. What each of us is experiencing in any given moment colours and tempers our reactions and responses to events. If someone seems to be out of sorts do not take it personally, the roots of your experiences are often frozen in the the snakes and ladders of your childhood. If you have never had a headache be aware others can find them totally debilitating. If you have never been lamed, be aware that pain can make you tired and cranky. Develop empathy on the way to becoming Compassionate and maybe Awake to the essence of love and gratitude that is embedded as a possibility in every moment we live.

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