Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Wayback Wednesday: Compassion: Why You Should Give a Damn

 

Wayback Wednesday: Compassion: Why You Should Give a Damn

Compassion: Why You Should Give a Damn - Originally Published February 6, 2014

This post was originally published as part of the 2014 Pagan Blog Project. I had become particularly frustrated with the huge influx of indifference - and even cruelty - that was being broadcast throughout social media by an increasing number of folks. The last several years this trend has not only continued, but has increased. I feel like this year it has come to a head. I know we've all been under a lot of stress and have pressures and problems that we largely didn't have before...but, perhaps that is even MORE reason to take a breath, and redouble our efforts to lead a compassionate life. 

I invite you now to take a gander at my ramblings from six years ago...

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Originally, this week’s C post was going to be about Creative Visualization….well that one will be finished at a later, yet to be determined date, because this one smacked me upside the head and demanded to be written.

So, what prompted this sudden change? Quite frankly, it was the seemingly endless acts of douchebaggery committed by many who felt the need to leave venomous comments regarding the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. I was blown away by the number of “He was an addict, he deserved to die” comments that were posted.

Yes, he was an addict, but he was also a phenomenally talented man, who happens to be from my area, that has many friends and family members that cared for him a great deal. So the fact that some of these comments were from people that reside in the area made it even worse, as the possibility that said friends and especially family may be more likely to see them. It angered me, but more than that…it broke my heart, and made me wonder when did society lose its ability to show compassion??

Compassion is often on my mind. Perhaps because my Sun Sign is Cancer, or because my coven works with Kuan Yin, or maybe it’s because my parents were a bit like Larry and Abby – Dharma’s folks on Dharma & Greg-. Yup, Dad had a pony tail (until recently), Mom was super-liberal and (occasionally) a little too open about her sexuality….trust me, there were MANY “T.M.I.” moments, lol.

Whatever the reason, I find that at least once a week I see things online that make me wish more people would find their way to be more compassionate and just plain Give a Damn about others…including, if not especially, those who believe or have done something that they can’t get on board with.

Compassion: a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for someone struck by misfortune, accompanied by a desire to alleviate the suffering; mercy

The atmosphere of this wondrous place called the internet is one that, unfortunately, seems to be a place where thoughtless and hurtful words flourish. Perhaps it’s the sense of anonymity we have because we are sitting in front of our computer, or on our phones, rather than face to face with those we’re speaking with. I find it hard to believe that those same people that left such hurtful comments online would be able to say the same if they were standing in a room opposite Mr. Hoffman’s girlfriend and children…and if they could? Well, I’d bet they were in dire need of some compassion themselves.

So why does it matter? Why try to temper your thoughts and words with mercy, even when faced with someone that annoys you or evokes strong emotions, whether you know them or not? Well, for one thing, listen to the wise words of your mother (or at least MOST people’s mother): “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”….or “Treat others the way you want to be treated”.

From a Wiccan/Witchcraft perspective those who follow the Rede should think about the whole “An it Harm None, Do What Ye Will” thing…which, is kiiiind of a real nice way of saying “Don’t be a Douche”, and I think that’s a pretty good rule, no matter what path you follow. ;)

Release judgments about yourself and others, and focus on the love and light that is within everyone. ~ Kuan Yin Card from The Goddess Guidance Oracle
Showing compassion to others, and to ourselves for that matter, fosters an environment in
which love and understanding can thrive. With compassion, love, and understanding we are able to grow without fear of judgment…and if there is enough compassion, love, and understanding, we learn to ignore the judgments that do arise and become truly free.

So for crying out loud, Give A Damn! Try to leave the venom and cynicism behind. You can keep the sarcasm, I love it, I employ it often…it’s fun! Just remember to not use it with cruelty. Yes, that’s a tricky one right there, but it’s possible…I promise! ;)

If you get good at giving a damn, then try Giving Many Damns! Not only will others feel better because one less person is giving them shit for ‘this, that or whatever’, but YOU will feel pretty great too. Here’s a little secret: Spreading Awesome makes you MORE Awesome…and Compassion is PRETTY FREAKING AWESOME!

Be willing to see that there are reasons for everyone’s behaviors. You may not agree with how they’ve handled the hand they’ve been dealt, but that does not mean that you cannot recognize that they are indeed struggling. Your compassion could be what sparks them to reexamine their approach…it may not, but hey, once again, that is for them to figure out on their journey, not for you to preach and judge about…you may have some things of your own you should be focusing on instead.

Once you’ve gotten skilled at giving many damns, move on to giving More Damns than Anyone! Ok, so it’s not a competition, and you really shouldn’t try to make it one (the whole thing sort of loses its sincerity and purpose that way). What I’m saying is that if we all practice the ways of Compassion or Giving a Damn, they become second nature after a while…raising the level of Awesomeness of ourselves and our communities to new and greater heights. On a personal level, it connects us even more deeply to the Divinity that lies within us all. I believe that compassion is actually one of the things that sparks our connection with the Divine…so if you’re struggling in this arena, try giving a few extra damns and see what happens.

I’m not saying that if everyone who reads this begins to go through each and every day with a mindset that is based on being compassionate to everyone they encounter that the world will be a noticeably better place…but what can it hurt? Each action we take, every word we say has an effect on something or someone. It’s a ripple effect that continues on to things and people that we cannot foresee. It’s a reasonable assumption that if the pebble that you throw into the lake of Life is thrown with loads of venom and snark that the ripples the stone sends out would also contain remnants of that which put them into motion. Soooo, why not toss your pebble with kindness and compassion? Send out some good ripples and hopefully pay that kindness and compassion forward. It can’t hurt!

Give All the Damns!!

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Until Next Time, Pixilators
Wishing You Peace, Love, & Pixie Dust



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